Today it’s never been more important for you to understand the problems your prospects and customers face because none of them want what you sell. They want their problems solved. No matter what you sell — a product, a service, a media subscription, etc. — you’re solving a problem.
In almost every business, the act of solving problems should be the primary focus of any engagement with a prospect or customer. This still might feel foreign to business owners and their sales team who are trained in pitching solutions, features and pricing, but the data continues to make this abundantly clear. People want what they believe they will get, achieve, relieve, dodge, or acquire based on buying what you sell.
Rather than focus on trying to sell somebody a product or service, you need to focus on solving their problem.
The Unavoidable Behavior
Prospects and customers today are taking it upon themselves more and more to solve problems that arise in their life and on the job. An increasing number of people everyday turn to search engines and search devices to find answers to their questions.
They not only expect to find information that can aid in solving their problems, they also expect to find messaging that clearly talks about their world, and testimonials, reviews and other signals that help them make quick decisions about what to buy and who to buy it from.
Research tells us that 89% of B2B buyers conduct their own online research, and on average, they’re more than 70% of the way through the decision-making process before interacting with a sales person or provider.
No category of business is immune – B2B, B2C, large ticket services and low dollar commodities are sourced this way today.
How to Discover Your Customer’s Problems
Until a prospect or a customer knows that you understand the problems that they’re trying to solve, I don’t think you can make any kind of connection to your solutions.
One of the first tools to discover your customer’s intent or problem is to look at the emails of work or project inquiries you’ve responded to. If your phone calls are recorded (for quality and assurance purposes) listen to a handful of them. Another place to go look is at your reviews and testimonials. You’ll find that quite often people will be very honest and open about the exact experience they received and the problem you solved. If you’ve grown your business to the point where you have a sales and service team, take time to talk to them.
7 Questions That Every Business Owner Should Be Asking
- Who are you selling to?
- What are their goals and aspirations?
- What are their problems?
- What ways do they get answers to their problems?
- How can we reach them?
- What things are important to them?
- What words and phrases do they use?
List the Problems You Solve
For example, a lot our prospective clients might say things like — I just want my phone to ring, I want to be on the first page of Google, I want more referrals, I want less marketing headaches, I want my website to generate leads, I feel like I’m wasting money on ineffective marketing, etc.
So, my small business marketing firm doesn’t sell marketing programs or marketing plans or even consulting — all my ideal clients need to know about what we do is:
- We make the phone ring — end of story.
- We get you on the first page of Google — end of story.
- We make more referrals happen — end of story.
- We make marketing headaches go away — end of story.
- We make the website generate leads — end of story.
- We make marketing dollars go to work — end of story.
Another example, a massage practice: They might have the best tables, oils, and most highly skilled therapist but all their customers seem to care about is that their pain and discomfort go away.
So that’s the promise they need to communicate, shout about and promote. The rest is an expectation — I mean doesn’t everyone who owns a massage practice have highly skilled therapist.
By turning your messaging, content, and touchpoints into a problem-solving engine for your business, you can, in turn, solve the biggest problem being faced by many business owners struggling to get in synch with this new business landscape.