Use Your Customer’s Language

The common phrase is “When in Rome, act like a Roman.” I extend that to “speak like a Roman.” If you want to build familiarity, you need to be in touch with your customer or audience. That includes the language they use.

Business people who are working with an international customer use language learning tools, like Rosetta Stone, to learn the customer’s language. Similarly, we can do things to build rapport with English speaking customers.

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Commercialization 101: Start with the Problem

Thirty years ago, research by Professor Roger Calantone of Michigan State University suggested that new products fail because too little attention has been paid to real needs. In addition, he opined that the most common failures are with products driven by technology rather than what the customer needs.

Sounds like the classic dilemma: technology push vs. market pull. Which camp are you in? Does your elevator pitch begin with a description of your technology? In how much detail can you talk about your customer’s problems?

For most technology entrepreneurs it’s difficult not to analyze a problem through the lens of their own solution. Therefore, they can’t see the problem the way the customer does.

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