After deliberately avoiding upgrading to Windows Vista, I’m actually looking forward to Windows 7 when it comes out next January. Why? Because the next version of Windows will be dramatically improved.

Yeah, yeah, I know: Microsoft has made that promise with every version of every product it’s ever made. The difference is that Microsoft has traditionally defined “better” from its programmers’ point of view; this time though, “better” has been defined by the user.

According to a recent Associated Press article, the credit goes to Julie Larson-Green, the Microsoft technician who’s largely in charge of the project. Rather than adhering to Microsoft’s traditional development model, Larson-Green compiled massive amounts of data from users about how they actually used the software, then designed Windows to better support the way they really work.

Hmmm, finding out what prospects truly want and need and selling them that. What a concept! While it may seem obvious, it’s startling how many companies do just the opposite: they create what they think customers should buy and then they’re shocked when it doesn’t sell.

Here’s an idea: spend more time talking with your customers and prospects. Take the time to learn more about them. Their wants, needs, fears, hopes, frustrations, challenges, fantasies, preferences, priorities and more. That information will help you figure out how best to help them, whether it’s selling them an additional product or service, directing them to another resource or even creating something just for them.

Customers buy what they want, not necessarily what you have. Discover what they really want and your job becomes infinitely easier.

To read the complete AP article, click here.