Henry Ford was full of it & why that matters for your business
A couple of days ago, I asked what you think of this Henry Ford quote: “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’”
A bunch of subscribers told me Ford was a visionary who saw something his prospects did not.
One told me: “…Ford wasn’t concerned or focused with finding out what people wanted. He saw something he decided people should have and went about creating a desire in the minds of the people for his products.”
Sure enough, old Henry implies that customers don’t know what they want.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have foresight to know what people want before they do, create a product to answer that want, and then conjure up desire for our genius creation?
Yeah, that would be nice. But it doesn’t work like that.
Here’s the thing:
Old Henry is full of doo-doo.
And you’re going to step in it…
…if you ignore what people want,
decide what they should have,
and try to create desire.
Three critical business lessons here:
1) People buy OUTCOMES, not products/services.
2) We don’t create desire in the marketplace. We merely TAP DESIRE.
3) Our job: Listen to customers and prospects to understand what they desire, create products/services to fulfill that desire, and craft sales stories that demonstrate how our products/services deliver that fulfillment.
Old Henry implies that Joe Public’s desire for a “faster horse” is worthless.
But is it really worthless?
What’s the outcome people seek to buy?
In this case, the outcome is “FASTER.”
The product/service is a motorized buggy.
Sure, people couldn’t imagine a buggy powered by a four-cylinder combustion engine. Sure, they thought they needed a better horse.
But they’re not buying the horse or the automobile. They’re buying “faster.”
And Ford knew it.
Ford DID listen to what the public wanted. He heard their desire for faster.
He tapped into that desire. He created a product that would fulfill that desire. And he crafted stories to show how his Motor Company delivered the promised fulfillment.
Ford deserves credit for all of that.
And Ford and his PR machine wanted all to believe that he was a wizard who knew better than everyone else, who saw what no one else could, who conjured desire for his visionary creations.
But here’s the reality that’s good news for all of us who aren’t genius visionaries and conjurers…
He succeeded NOT because he knew better than customers what they desired.
He succeeded because he knew EXACTLY what customers desired, and he devised a better way to fulfill the desire.
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