You got your product

Boy eating cake
Sugar! by Jacob Michelsen (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Creating an appealing and relevant product isn’t easy. But there’s one thing that’s even harder. It’s getting unwavering customers onboard.

You have probed the ground and tested the waters. You know what people want. Maybe even before they know it themselves. You have focused and created a working process for developing a killer of a product. You are about to set sail and deliver.

And at the last second your customers go, “I’m really not ready at this point.” or “Thank you so much, I’ll get in touch!” or “Sorry, mate, not this time.” or “Let me check other options and get back to you.”

What has gone wrong?

Sometimes, customers are like children. You take your time to research and understand their lunch-related desires. You involve them every step of the way, and they help you cut the veggies. You make sure they are onboard getting the best lunch-time experience of their lives. You carefully blend the ingredients to create awesome. As you skilfully arrange the contents on their plates, they lay the table chitchatting about an elephant that went to the pool.

They are going to love it! They are going to lick their fingers and rub their bellies, and they are going to praise you for your efforts forevermore.

And they go, “Nah. I don’t want it.”

What? What has gone wrong? Has anything?

Is there something wrong with your research? No. They described their goals and limitations, and you have together come to a culinary conclusion about what would work best for them in the given situation.

Is there something wrong with your process? Not necessarily. Yes, the veggies didn’t turn out all the same shape and form. But it wasn’t what averted them from touching the food.

Is there something wrong with your presentation? Not really. The remarkable arrangement of the constituents of the meal on their plates was planned and executed with distinction.

Is there something wrong with your product? Of course not! You tasted the steaming work of genius before you took it out of the pan. And you gave them to taste the bite of heaven before it soared graciously down onto their circular dishes.

Is there something wrong with your audience? Uh, no. They don’t complain about any type of ache in their bodies, and you know they are hungry—they haven’t consumed any edible chunks of nourishing glory since morning.

So, your research works, your process works, your presentation works, and your product, too, obviously works. There is no logic in their inexplicable reaction to your time-consuming efforts.

Is there anything wrong?

Yes. And it is your reaction.

This is what happened. Your product didn’t fit this particular customer in this particular situation. End of story.

You got your product, you know it works. Offer it to those who will accept it. Stop chasing folks who don’t deem it desirable at the moment. They will tomorrow. Or maybe they won’t. It does not matter.

Dealing with humans, you have to be prepared for unpredictable and puzzling outcomes, because they are plenty. And yes, sometimes it means giving them yesterday’s dinner—or dessert—for today’s lunch.