Category Archives: microISV

Selling Software Using Emotion and Imagination

“Good writers make the reader’s imagination work for them.” So says Patricia T. O’Conner, the author of the book “Words Fail Me – What Everyone Who Writes Should Know About Writing.”
Most advertising experts tell us that effective sales copy is all about emotion. People make decisions based on emotion, and they use logic to justify their decisions.
O’Conner believes that if you use emotion, you can leave part of the “story” out, and the reader will fill in the missing pieces using their own experience.
This technique might be a good way for software developers to sell a home inventory application. Talk about how your software benefits people who are victims of burglary or fire, and your reader will relate at an emotional level.
Perhaps this technique is a good way for microISVs to sell educational software. Talk about how your software will help prepare the prospects’ children for school – and for life.
When crafting your sales presentation, weave emotional writing into the message. Get your prospects emotionally involved, and you’ll turn more of them into customers.
– by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy

Plans, Luck, Accidents, and Software Sales

“In creative endeavors, luck is a skill.”
So says Twyla Tharp, the dancer, choreographer, businesswoman, and author of the 2003 book “The Creative Habit – Learn it and use it for life.” She devotes a chapter of her book to recognizing accidents and mistakes, and turning them into creative successes.
It’s good to have a plan, Tharp insists. But it’s a mistake to over-plan. Learn to plan ahead, and to recognize great stuff when you discover it.
Tharp believes that you have to have a plan. But following it too closely will stifle creativity.
Some people deny that luck is a factor in their creativity because they want to take credit for all of their accomplishments.
Sometimes plans fail to achieve their desired results, for a number of reasons:

  • Other people get in the way of our plan.
  • Our plan isn’t perfect. Many people can’t get started until they have a perfect plan, and a perfect series of the precise steps to follow. Sometimes we just have to get started, even if we’re not perfectly prepared. Sometimes it’s a blessing to have very limited resources such as too little time or too little money.
  • The format of our plan is bad. Sometimes we fail because we’re trying to fit a new idea into an old pattern.
  • We have misplaced obligations. We’re under pressure to please somebody with bad ideas. Or we have to conform to the wishes of the person who’s in charge.
  • We have the wrong resources. We simply haven’t equipped ourselves with the tools that we need to carry out the plan. Sometimes, having too little time to accomplish something motivates us to run and get the job done.

This chapter has three exercises that are designed to increase our creativity. Tharp asks us to pick a fight with ourselves. Choose a presumption that we’ve been depending upon for the success of a project, and reject it. Dismiss it. Do the opposite. And derive ideas from the tension and conflict that you create.
In another exercise, Tharp tells us to get lucky by being generous to other people. In my opinion, that’s the fundamental principle of success in business – being generous to other people and forming lasting, mutually-helpful relationships with others in the industry.
In a third exercise, Tharp urges us to work with the best people available. Again, this is a great insight from an accomplished artist.
It’s hard to use a short blog posting to summarize an entire chapter in a book about creativity. I’d recommend that you add “The Creative Habit” to your bookshelf. Twyla Tharp is a creative person who can explain how each of us can become more creative. The book will help your microISV business and your software sales.

The customer isn't always right

The customer isn’t always right.

So says Robert A. Lutz, the former President and Vice Chairman of Chrysler Corporation and the author of the book “Guts – The seven laws of business that made Chrysler the world’s hottest car company.”
One of Lutz’s Immutable Laws of Business says that the customer isn’t always right. In fact, Lutz says that nobody in his or her right mind could possibly believe that the customer is always right.

  • Customers don’t know what they want.
  • Customers lie.
  • Customers can’t predict the future.
  • Customers certainly don’t have the industry-changing ideas that companies need to succeed.

Since customers and prospects aren’t very good at pointing companies in the right direction, many firms decide to play it safe. They create products and services that are right for everybody.
Lutz believes that this approach is doomed.
Companies can make more money, Lutz tells us, if they create niche products and services that are enthusiastically embraced by prospects and customers. When you water down your product or service, and try to please everybody, you end up not pleasing too many people at all.
In today’s marketplace, people no longer have to settle for their second choice. Prospects simply won’t buy bland, one-size-fits-all products and services.
I don’t recommend your adopting Lutz’s strong anti-customer attitude. But all software developers should give serious thought to creating niche products and services. Alternatively, create software applications that target the mass market, but create separate niche marketing campaigns for each sub-market that you’re targeting.
– by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy