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Don’t assume your prospects know what they’re looking for

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That’s generally good advice, of course, and you should follow it in may different ways, but right now I’m talking about product names.

I’m a tech guy – you probably are too – so let’s start with a car analogy. Take BMW. For years, their models were simple. I’ll simplify somewhat, but in general the first number was the size (3=small, 5=medium, 7=big) and the remainder was the engine displacement. A 535 and a 335 have the same engine; the 750 is probably much more expensive than the 318, you get the idea. Audi and Mercedes are similar. It takes a few seconds to pick up the basics.

Now look at Cadillac. They offer the ATS, CTS, SRX, and XTS. They also have the Escalade, which comes in regular, ESV and EXT formats. Which is bigger, the CTS or the ATS? Any idea which one is the crossover? Is the EXT related to the XTS in any way? Who knows! Luckily, their vehicle lineup page has pictures of every single model on it … although I still couldn’t look at the page and tell you which one was their E-Class/A6/5-series competitor. And I like cars!

You may laugh, but getting back to technology, this is a problem your potential customers encounter every day. Make their lives easier for them!

I was inspired to write this because I was thinking about picking up some NAS for the house. Amazon reviews suggested that Synology would be a good provider, so I went to their website. When I did, I hit the Products menu and selected Personal – and this is what I was presented with:

Quick – which one should I buy? I’m here, I’m interested, I’m ready… I need to click on every link to understand their nomenclature? Many buyers, even at a small business level, are only going to buy one thing from you. Maybe they’ll buy more later, but if you throw a barrier up and expect them to invest their time to learn your products, they’ll just turn away to someone (quite possibly an inferior someone) who wants their business more than you do. I’m not crazy about it, but Western Digital’s product selector makes me feel much more comfortable that I’m looking at the right products, even if they’re possibly not as good as something I don’t know to look at on Synology’s site.

By the way, the difference between the DiskStation DS112j and the DS212j is that the DS212j is two bays instead of the DS112j’s one. Makes some sense, I guess. However the difference between the DS212j and the DS213j is that the DS213j has a built in media server app.