For startups, the line between success and failure can be razor-thin. And there’s much to be learned from an unconventional source – the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross.” In this film, Alec Baldwin’s iconic character emphasizes the mantra of “always be closing” to a group of struggling real estate salesmen. However, if you’re looking for guidance on what your startup should do, the opposite approach is often more beneficial. Instead of relentlessly pushing sales, you should always be talking to your customers. This two-way communication can be the cornerstone of success, with various benefits for your company’s growth.
Ensuring Product Relevance
Before investing substantial time and resources into a new product launch, it’s crucial to confirm its alignment with actual customer needs. Building in isolation can lead to catastrophic failures when nobody wants the end product. By keeping potential customers in the loop and providing them an avenue for feedback, you can gauge how your product will be received. This early insight allows you to tailor your project to customer standards, ensuring its relevance and enhancing your chances of success.
Generating Pre-Launch Interest
A successful product launch benefits significantly from a pre-existing community of enthusiastic users. Creating this interest beforehand amplifies the impact of your launch. If you’re concerned about time constraints while developing your product, remember that reaching out to potential users early is invaluable. Although some might fear the risk of their idea being copied, the benefits of generating early interest far outweigh this concern. A brilliant idea alone is not enough; execution is the key differentiator. High-quality execution protects you from imitators and sets your product apart.
Staying Updated with Your Audience
Talking to your customers not only helps you understand the product but also allows you to know your customers better. Regular communication keeps you in the loop regarding changes in their needs and preferences over time. This ongoing conversation is especially valuable as your company grows. While you may eventually face limitations in conversing with everyone frequently, identifying a manageable group of valuable opinions and maintaining communication with them is essential. For other users, periodic communication when possible keeps the door open to learning more about how to serve your audience effectively.
Giving Customers a Sense of Ownership
Acknowledging your customers’ input and delivering on their requests conveys the message that you care. It’s one of the most satisfying experiences for a customer – to be heard and to see their suggestions come to life. Features derived from customer feedback are often the most popular, as they address genuine needs that resonate with your audience. This interaction makes your customers feel valued and appreciated. Taking customer feedback seriously, implementing changes, and attributing them to their input can foster loyalty and significantly improve the overall customer experience.
While “always be closing” may have its place in sales, for startups, the approach of “always be talking” to customers holds the key to success. Engaging customers in two-way conversations, ensuring product alignment with their needs, generating early interest, staying updated on audience preferences, and acknowledging and implementing customer feedback can be transformative for a startup’s journey. The lessons from “Glengarry Glen Ross” remind us that genuine, empathetic communication is the foundation of building a successful and customer-centric business.