Why You Must Address Problems Before You Can Offer Solutions written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing
You make a product, hone your pitch and then get busy prescribing the benefits of your tools to anyone who’ll listen.
That’s the way it works. You know what people need, and you tailor your solutions to meet what they need. You even give your unique methodology a fancy name and construct branded processes to deliver results.
Then one day you conclude that sales aren’t what you had hoped. That sometimes when you recommend work your proposals go nowhere.
Fear not, I’m about to give you a dose of reality. Get what I’m about to share, and you’ll start writing, selling, and proposing in an entirely new way.
Hold on, though, as I’m about to shatter your world view – but I’ll do it as gently as possible.
Here it is.
Very few people want what you sell.
That’s not a knock on you or your business or your solutions. I’m sure all are amazing.
What people buy
But what you must realize is that there are only a few things people actually want, and unless you sell food or sex you’ll have to figure this one out.
People don’t want what you sell – they want what they believe they will get, achieve, relieve, dodge, or acquire based on buying what you sell.
So, your job as a marketer is to understand the problems people are trying to solve and match your solutions to those very specific problems.
What are your best customers saying to themselves when they get up in the morning?
I sell marketing consulting services, and I guarantee you that very few people who eventually engage our services wake and utter, “you know what I wish I had, some marketing consulting.”
But they might say something like, “why don’t my customers refer me to their friends?” or “why do I keep losing projects to Acme Consulting?”
Creating trigger phrases
In the past, I’ve referred to these kinds of statements as trigger phrases.
Your customers don’t know how to solve their problems, but they usually know what their problems are. If you can get really good at demonstrating that what you sell is the answer to their problem they really won’t care what you call it, they’ll just buy it to make the pain go away.
If the pain is big enough, you may have to put out the fire before they will even consider the comprehensive solution you know they truly need.
Take some time and break down every solution you sell, every benefit you attribute to what you do, and map it back to a handful of “trigger phrases.”
These phrases can be questions or statements or even anecdotes, but they must come from the point of view of the customer.
In my book The Referral Engine, I advise creating a one-page tool that you can share with your referral sources. The idea is to create a cheat sheet of trigger phrases that signal that the person saying them needs your service.
So, for example, if you sell accounting services to small businesses a trigger statement might be, “I can never get a handle on my receivables.”
That’s a real problem that your accounting solution can cure.
Problem-solving as strategy
Frankly, creating a list of trigger statements should be very high on your strategic list.
People aren’t searching for your solutions, but they search every single day for ways to address problems they see and feel.
Marketers that build their content, web design and SEO practices around problem solving will intersect their ideal client’s buying journey at a much earlier point – the point at which you can do the kind of trust building that makes your solution the obvious choice.
Google the phrase – “problems we solve” and you’ll see that some marketers are building web pages with this very idea at the center of their content strategy.
So the next time you see a marketing consultant selling a “reputation management” solution, know that no one wants that – what they want is to make the one-star review go away. I’m a marketing consultant, so I sell the “we can make the one-star review go away service.”
For illustration purposes, I’ll outline my entire problems vs. solutions map. If you’re a marketing consultant, then this will make total sense to you, and you should probably look into becoming a member of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
If you own or market for any other type of business you’ll have to do the work to create this map for your business based on brainstorming with your staff, the questions you find in forums, and through some planned, quality one on one time with your existing customers.
I’ve formatted these as questions, but you can see how they could just as easily be formatted as statements.
I’ve broken what we do into the logical chunks of the Duct Tape Marketing System.
Local Online Presence
Local presence problems
Online presence solutions
Lead generation problems
Lead generation solutions
Lead conversion problems
Lead conversion solutions
Key performance indicators
Okay, your turn. Demonstrate that you understand the problems and you’ll get the opportunity to pitch your solutions.
Bio: John Jantsch is a marketing consultant and author of Duct Tape Marketing[www.ducttapemarketing.com] and The Referral Engine[www.referralenginebook.com] and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.[www.ducttapemarketingconsultant.com]