26 Apr How to fix 2 big small business marketing problems
Your prospects don’t care about you.
Well, that’s not entirely true. They care about you to the extent that you can solve their problems.
So, can you?
Do your prospects believe that you can?
Understanding the issues your prospects face and the outcome they want are essential to winning business.
The problem is, too many businesses fall into one of these two traps.
First they don’t know what problem they’re solving. Or they do know what problem they’re solving, but aren’t very good at communicating it to prospects.
Second, they do what all their competitors do. They provide essentially the same product or service. They talk about it in the same way.
When either or both of those things happen, sales are far more difficult to close.
In the first case, the prospect has no compelling reason to buy from you. You haven’t convinced them you can solve their problem.
In the second case, the prospect doesn’t think you’re any different from the competition. They’re going to default to buying the cheapest or most convenient solution. That puts you in a race to the bottom that you don’t want to win.
So how do you fix that?
You need to know two things; the problem and the desired outcome.
You need to spend some time to understand your prospect’s problem better than they do. That means understanding the surface problem and the root problem. The surface problem is usually easy to see, but is often only a symptom of the root problem.
The root problem is the thing prospects really want to solve. If you solve this, you’ll create a loyal customer. What makes this hard is the prospect often isn’t conscious of the root problem. Or it’s something they’d rather not admit about themselves.
Here’s an example.
People buy luxury cars for reliable transportation. That’s the surface problem solved by the car.
They buy a luxury car because it says they’re successful, they appreciate quality, or are part of an exclusive group. That’s the root problem solved by the car.
You also need to completely understand the outcome your prospect is looking for. As with the problem, there are often two levels to the outcome.
There is the surface outcome. The actual thing the buyer gets from the product or service. There is also the deeper outcome. It’s how the product or service makes the buyer feel about themselves or what they think it says about them.
The desired outcome is easy once you get the problems. It is usually the opposite.
Continuing our example…
The luxury car buyer wants to have transportation. They also want to see themselves as successful and tasteful. Finally, they want others to see them that way, too.
This understanding is how you design your product. Use what you know about your prospect’s problem and desired outcome. Create a product or service that takes them to the outcome they want.
It’s also how you learn how to talk about your product your prospects. You need to show you understand your prospect’s problem. Speaking about it in a way that is relevant to them is how you get their interest. Then, you show them how you will bring them to the exact outcome they want.
Do these two things well, and prospects will see you as the perfect solution to their problem.
So how do you actually do this?
It all starts with understanding your prospect. I wrote about how to do this recently. Steps 6 and 7 of your ideal customer profile are what you need here. That’s where you list their problems and desired solutions.
Those two steps are so important, they’re worth talking about again here.
I’ll save talk about building a product that is the perfect solution for another post. For today, we’ll assume your product solves your customer’s problem well enough. Your main challenge is standing out from all the other products that also solve the same problem.
Here’s how you differentiate yourself through your marketing and advertising.
Use your understanding of the problem to get prospect’s attention and show them you understand. You’ll want to use both the surface and root problems here.
In classic copywriting lingo, you are getting the prospect’s attention and agitating their pain. It sounds a little sinister, but, like the force, it can be used for good or evil.
We’ll be using it for good.
An example of this is…
Hey target customer, are you tired of problem? (Or, does problem happen to you? Or any number of other questions calling out the problem.)
It’s tough when problem happens. It leaves you feeling root problem and other root problem.
If you approach it right, you’ll come off as someone who knows the prospect intimately. That’s a good thing.
By “right,” I mean genuinely. People will know if you care about solving their problem or if you just want to make a buck. Be the person who cares about solving their problem.
Now the prospect believes you understand. It’s time to show them the solution. This is where you show them how your product will get them to the outcome they desire.
You need to directly and credibly show how your product leads to the desired result. This means linking features to outcomes. It also means using social proof of its effectiveness.
Continuing our advertising example…
Feature and feature will desired result.
According to Jane Doe, a satisfied customer, product got her desired result, and she’s thrilled.
Understanding the market is the only way to create products and marketing that separate you from competitors. Without that understanding, you miss the mark and people don’t care about you. Or you resort to discounting to win business.
So, how deeply have you considered your prospect’s problems and desired outcomes?
Not sure where to start? Get in touch.