Like many people, I tend to regard Microsoft as a necessary evil....

I respect their accomplishments, but often find myself cursing in frustration at their products.
Chief among my frustrations is Power Point, a dastardly little program that's the bane of presenters and audience alike. But last Wednesday evening, I attended an excellent presentation on Power Point tips and secrets, hosted by the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing Association and delivered by Bob Lincavicks of Microsoft. Right at the start, he acknowledged the pain that a poor Power Point presentation can inflict, then defended the program as a tool that can be used for good or evil. (My take: Power Point doesn't kill people. People kill people.)
I give Bob a lot of credit. Within that hour and a half, he got me thinking about Power Point in a new way. By showing me all the genuinely helpful things the program can do -- things I and most of the other attendees had never known about -- he transformed the way I think about Power Point. By the end of the evening, it was no longer a beast I had to tame, but a helpful companion, even a kind of, gulp, business friend.
What made the transformation? Bob showed me how to take full advantage of something I had already paid for and gave it tremendous new value.
Which got me thinking: Do my customers know how to take full advantage of me (in a good way, I mean)? Can I teach them how to get more value from me? Wouldn't it be wise to do so?
Do your customers know how to use your products and services to the fullest? If not, it may behoove you to explicitly show them how.
In a way, it's extending the "sell" after the sale has already been made, but it makes a lot of sense: customers who get more than they expected from you will come back for more. And tell other people very nice things about you.

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Jonathan Kranz is the author of Writing Copy for Dummies and a copywriting veteran now in his 21st year of independent practice. A popular and provocative speaker, Jonathan offers in-house marketing writing training sessions to help organizations create more content, more effectively.

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