I woke up this morning a little early to write an article about how bold this press release was, and I wanted to find out just how much the Tesla Model 3 would be after configuring it. It was 6 AM and I was in bed, so I figured I would hop on my iPhone and check it out for some morning inspiration.
Of course, I have kids, so that naturally led me straight past the Model 3 and directly to the Model X seven-seat configuration. Why is the seven-seat configuration cheaper than six seats? I'll never know, but that's not the point of this article.
I finish the configuration, and I'm left with a beautiful checkout screen. It's simple and to the point: $102,500 in total, $2,500 due today, and the car arrives in March.
"Wow, this really is easy," I think to myself. "I can pay with Apple Pay? That's it? I'd better take a screenshot to show my Twitter and LinkedIn friends just how easy it is to buy a car nowadays."
I clicked Apple Pay to show the full effect, and that's when it happened.
I bought a $100,000 car from my phone, in bed, on accident.
Taking a screenshot on my iPhone 7 requires pressing two buttons: home and volume. The home button also enables Touch ID for Apple Pay. My phone took the screenshot, just as I wanted. It also purchased the car.
I immediately did one of those "nooooo"-type screams--and then remembered that I had to keep it down, because the family was still sleeping. Quickly, I sent Tesla an email essentially saying, "Thanks, but no thanks." I have no idea what'll happen next. I'm sure it'll get taken care of.
So, what did I learn, and what can you learn from this experience? Two surprisingly important takeaways for entrepreneurs everywhere:
1. Want to sell more of something? Make it super simple.
Think about it. When I went to lease a car from Nissan, it took three hours to lease the car from the moment I said I wanted it. It took Tesla 90 seconds, and all from my phone.
Don't can't make the same mistake large corporations make, which is to complicate everything: Add a button for this, a field for that, and oh, what about that thing Jerry from finance says he wants on the screen? Add that, too.
Keep it simple. Get your customers to the finish line faster. Sure, I bought my car on accident, but I'm pretty confident that Tesla will cancel the charge--so I'm not worried about it. If anything, I think it's up to Apple to not register that as a Touch ID press since I clearly just wanted to take a screenshot.
In other words: I honestly wouldn't change a thing about that checkout screen.
2. Learn how to write clearly.
I was originally going to write this article about how straight-to-the-point that press release was--and that's still worth analyzing. Take a moment to read it. (Then, please come back to finish reading this article.)
Do you know how hard it is to write all of that information in one short letter and still come off smelling like roses? Pretty hard, if you ask me, but that's what I think Tesla achieved here. This press release includes a lot of bad news. Its tone could have been a lot worse.
Here's one tip on writing clearly: Write the way you speak. People have a habit of using large words instead of just saying what they want to say. Talk to yourself as if you were explaining it to someone right in front of you, and then write that down.
In the end, I have a funny story to share and a reinforcement of how much I appreciate Tesla's simplicity and elegance. If you provide a great experience, it almost doesn't matter how expensive your product is. And somehow, despite accidentally buying a car today, I still think Tesla's succeeding on that front.