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Lessons from the Tesla/Ford Partnership

Manny Teran, Adam Hartung
Tesla, Ford, Infrastructure, charging network, range anxiety, businesspeople, e-customers, value proposition

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Tesla and Ford made a deal to let Ford use the Tesla charging standard (NACS) on their Mustang Mach-E and other electric vehicles.  Why would Ford want to use Tesla’s technology? That’s the content of this podcast – and the lesson it can teach small businesses.

We often have a great idea.  But then it doesn’t seem to sell.  This podcast explains why.  We overlook what it is we ask of the customer. Often our new big idea asks a lot – a change in business practice, a change in technology, a change in supply chain, a change in pricing, etc.  We often make that ask without very clearly explaining what the customer will get in return.  We don’t focus enough on the VALUE the new idea gives – we don’t explain how the new idea meets an unmet- or poorly-met need.  And, we don’t explain how trends indicate that the customer will be making these changes eventually, so working with our new idea can help them change faster and get to the VALUE quicker.

Ford wins by making the entire Tesla charging network available to its e-customers.  Thus eliminating range anxiety, and other charging concerns.  Ford can focus on the benefits of its vehicles instead of the infrastructure obstacles.  Tesla wins by moving toward a single standard for charging, which benefits all e-customers, and could be a very profitable business for Tesla.  Tesla, Ford, Motorola, Sprint, AT&T – listen in to how smart businesspeople achjeve faster adoption by making their customers’ lives easier, solving their unmet or poorly met needs.

Thinking points:

  • Do you struggle to get customers to adopt your innovations?
  • Do you know your Value Proposition with customers?
  • Do you know your customers’ unmet and poorly met needs?
  • Do you know how to leverage trends to get customer adoption and early market share wins?