Hosting providers understand that their brilliant users are developers and companies with IT departments. But not everyone knows how to make this particular audience become their customers.
Technical guys are not interested in listening how your service is cool or how many special features it has. They eager to find out the solutions for own problems. But how to serve up this in a right way? Bruno Souza, known as a Brazilian JavaMan, shares the tips for service providers to reach developers as their target audience.
The market for developers is very, very strong. And developers are looking for cloud providers, the cloud is a top need. Most developers think that having skills in cloud computing will help their careers to grow. What can we do to actually get developers as a customer?
The secret is simple: listen. Just listen! People love to talk about themselves and about their solutions and the problems they are going through.
If you aim to attract developers, you have to understand what they want. So you have to listen very carefully because it’s not about you but about them. No one cares about you. No one cares about your solution or your service. People care about how you can help them solve their problems.
Every time you try to sell something, you have to overcome all the barriers that the other person has. It’s very rare to get a customer that already knows everything, who just comes to buy at once. Only 3% of the customers are aware of what they need to buy and looking for some specific product/vendor. And if you target just this group of users you compete on a very limited market. Most of our potential customers might know they have a pain but they’re not looking for the solution yet. We have to work using internal buying and make them understand that their pain has a solution.
The mistake number one that prevents service providers from actually attracting developers for their platform is talking about themselves, their product, how great, reliable and cheap they are, and all those great features they love to talk about. But no one cares about you, no one cares about your company. If someone comes to a webpage and you’re talking about yourself, he goes away. He’s not interested.
If you want to make developers stay, you have to talk about them, what problems they face, what pains they’re going through, what things they don’t know how to solve. Developers love to solve problems. When they get someone who understands their pain, they want to talk to you. You should focus on what they need. That’s why listening is so important.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a customer service or sales – listen! Go to your support guys and ask ‘What are the problems people have?’ and then go to talk about those problems on your website. As I said the 3% of people are actually looking for a solution, but almost 100% of them know the pain they have.
Let’s make an example inside the industry of water filters. If I keep talking ‘Look, my filter is great, it filters water, makes the water very clean, it filters 100 liters per hour,’ I target only those 3% of people who already know that they want to buy a water filter and just checking the difference between competitive offerings.
You can target a wider audience. 100% of people know their current problems. So, use this. For example, not a lot of people know that if you don’t drink enough water, you get headaches. Ask your website visitors ‘Do you have a headache?’ Present possible reasons (these are just examples): stress, high pressure, not enough consumption of water. And as a solution to the last possible reason, provide your offering “You know what? We sell this amazing water filter, that’s made explicitly for people that don’t drink enough water because we have a little blinking light that says you didn’t drink enough water today, so you get to drink one more cup.”
If you talk about their problems, they’re more interested. And now you’re not focusing on the 3% of people who are looking for water filters, but a too much higher number of people that have a headache.
Of course, you can never reach 100%. Part of them got already used to the problem or found a workaround solution. On software development, there will be customers who don’t know they’re suffering every day because don’t release the application in the right way. Or maybe their users are complaining but they don’t care. You cannot sell anything to people that don’t want to solve their own problems. Give them time until they understand they face a problem. Focus on the 70% of those that actually want to solve the problem.
When you’re doing the right thing, you are talking about user problems and offering solutions specific for their needs. You are really helping. You become a trusted advisor. When it comes to deciding who is going to be their provider, who will they choose? Are they going to spend time searching for all kinds of providers to choose the cheapest one? My experience is that developers will trust the company that is already helping up!
So if you want to attract developers to your project, platform or services, understand what they want, understand what they need, understand the pain they’re going through. You have to understand the problems they are going through, and also the problems they don’t see. Because you know how to make their lives better. Like in the water filter example, you may know the underlying reason for their pain, that they don’t really understand.
Understanding your customers is important, and is particularly important for developers. Developers are picky because they have big egos, big personalities. Software development is a hard thing to do, really. It’s one of the hardest things that human beings created. It is hard because it has no boundaries. If you ask any developer what is the biggest dream of his life, he would say that he wants to solve the world’s problem. The phrasing is different, but they want to create applications that millions of people are going to use, that going to solve those big problems.
When you feel like you can solve the world’s problems, you become picky, you are looking for people that you can trust, that understands you. So you need to understand the developer’s language. If you try to talk about things that don’t make sense or try to use difficult words having no clue what they mean, they’ll pick it up. Be honest and clear! If you don’t understand how it works, just say ‘I’m not a developer, I don’t know how you work. Tell me!’ And then you listen! The most important thing is listening. You can’t help without first listening.