Storytelling for product managers
As a product manager, if anyone asks you what makes your product unique and better than the competition, you’ll be able to give them a full list of reasons that rationally support your argument including features, price, performance, variations, among others. Moreover, you’re probably using those same reasons to communicate with potential customers. Yet, what most product managers miss is the emotional connection that drives customers’ decisions. To tell better product stories and inspire customer into action, we use Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle approach.
Start with the why
As much as we like to think that we’re rational beings, we make decisions based on emotions and feelings. Start your stories with what’s your company’s purpose, cause or belief. Do you want to change the world through education? Do you believe in making health accessible to everyone? Do you want to enable people to get the most out of every hour of the day? This is an excellent way to start since it gets your customers pumped and excited to be a part of what you’re doing. As Sinek puts it: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Give them the how
Once you’ve made people care about your story, it’s time to talk about how you’re pursuing that goal. Give the customer your unique value proposition. Have you designed a new technology? Are you taking advantage of market trends in an innovative way? Are you disrupting a market with your business model? It is important that you convince the audience that you have what it takes to achieve your purpose.
Finish with the what
Counterintuitively, your actual product is the last thing you should talk about. The reason being that customers can’t tell the difference between your product and the competitor’s because they don’t have as much information as you and are not interested in it either. However, now that you’ve caught them in your story you can finish strong and blow their minds with your product’s features and specs. They won’t understand how they’ve lived without it.
Storytelling is an important and often overlooked part of a Product Manager’s job. It is a valuable skill to inspire customers, motivate employees and get support from the higher management. If you’re transitioning into product management, this framework can even help you craft your story for your upcoming interviews.