Why Tesla is a Master Product Storyteller

Actual hail from the hailstorm. No joke.

Actual hail from the hailstorm. No joke.

I'm obsessed with the Tesla Model X, and it is the only  material thing that I pine after.

Therefore, it's particularly ironic that The Great Denver Hailstorm of 2017 is what led me to  my first Tesla purchase. Not the Model X, unfortunately, but solar panels, since our solar shingles were damaged in the storm. Tesla doesn't have solar shingles available yet, so we got Tesla panels.

Of course, as a product manager, my customer journey with Tesla was of acute interest to me. 


Tesla is a master product storyteller. Here are 6 things Tesla did during the sales process that blew my socks off. 


1 - Tesla asked about our 'job-to-be-done.'

Knowingly or not, Tesla did a jobs-to-be-done customer interview. Rather than showing us all of their different products right off the bat and trying to steer us towards a super expensive premium system, Our Tesla rep (whose name is Jacqueline, by the way), asked us what we were trying to accomplish. 

She asked us what we were trying to accomplish. 

Did we want to go off the grid? Were we just trying to decrease our electric bill, eliminate it altogether, store energy in batteries in our garage for power outages? What job(s) are we hiring these solar panels to do? (Read more on JTBD here.)

2 - Tesla asked for a list of our worries, and addressed them all head-on.

In Chris Voss's book Never Split the Difference (This book changed my life), he advises to 'Start With No' in a negotiation. Tesla, in their own way, uses this technique by asking, right off the bat, to name your every worry, so they can talk through each one. 

Were squirrels going to build nests under our solar panels!? (No.)
Would the weight of the panels compromise our roof!? (No.)

Tesla didn't shy away from answering all of our precarious questions.

3 - Tesla knows about external factors that impact their product.

Jacqueline knew her sh*t, and when we asked how it works with the electric company, she explained our options as far as getting cash back from the electric company, or net credits. She didn't say "Call the electric company and ask."  She also knew about the federal and state tax credits available, when we would get them, and even offered free financing until we got the credits refunded to us. 

4 - Tesla breaks down the impact of the product into a story that moved me.

I wouldn't necessarily describe myself as 'green,' and my motivations for solar are purely economic, and perhaps a bit survivalist. (I've been watching too much Walking Dead.)

However, when Jacqueline told me how many gallons of water would be saved by our personal solar panel system, how many pounds of plastic, as well as other environmental stats, I got a little emotional. Look, I'm not saying I cried or anything, but she broke down the impact of my specific Tesla solar system and she made it personal. It left me with all the feels.

5 - Tesla walked through my use cases.

They even include these in the proposal. 

What if I move? We've got you covered. This is exactly what will happen. 
What if my solar panels don't produce electricity you said they would? Tesla will send you a check for the difference. They guarantee the kWh in the proposal.

Trust me, they've thought through everything.

6 - Tesla provides a consistent vision among all of their products.

Create your own clean energy with Tesla energy products, drive a car that runs on electricity. This is only part of the Tesla product story. 

If you pay close attention to Tesla marketing, their focus is design and performance. The Tesla Model S goes from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and is one of the safest vehicles on the market. The Model X has falcon wing doors that would make Russ Hanneman swoon. Tesla solar panels boast "a sleek, low-profile design" and actually make your roof look better

Suddenly green doesn't mean fowl-smelling compost bins or homemade granola. "Green" = "Superb Design."  Green is something you would buy even if it weren't green. Because it's more beautiful than the competition. Full stop. All of their products fit this description, not just their cars.


I want to compare my customer journey with Tesla with my experience buying solar shingles 2 years ago: 

  • No one explained how the electricity rebate worked
  • No one actually told me how much my electric bill would be offset
  • No one explained the warranty of the shingles
  • No one detailed my solar shingles' positive impact on the wider world

A huge opportunity lost by the solar shingles company.

The Takeaway for Product Managers

Do you know how your competitors are presenting their product(s) to customers? 

You may learn something - and improve your product vision - by studying a competing company's sales process in your industry.

Interested in Tesla Solar? 

Ask me questions. I'm genuinely obsessed with this product. It's less expensive than you think, and the federal government will pay for 30% of the total cost of your panels through the end of 2018.

SERIOUSLY, how sexy are these solar panels?! (Source:  Tesla.com )

SERIOUSLY, how sexy are these solar panels?! (Source: Tesla.com)