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How to market your business: Talk about your clients’ problems

A smiling oman walking across a wooden bridge.
Your product is the bridge taking your customers where they want to go.

Have you had the experience of describing in great detail what you do, but the other person just staring back with a blank gaze?

When I first started my business, I knew I had the answer to just about every organization’s problem. I was convinced (and still am) that with my innovative training design, I could help improve the performance of any organization. However, I made the mistake of talking about the details and technicalities of my training design and learning theory, and frankly, only learning nerds care about that.

A common mistake many entrepreneurs make is to talk about what we do. We are excited to be starting businesses and excited that our product or service has the potential to save the world…and it may, but telling people all about our product will not convince them to buy it.

We humans are all selfish creatures, so our customers will glaze over until they know how we can help them. We want to make the choice to work with us an easy one, by making it very clear how we can help them. That’s why all marketing boils down to talking about your customers’ problems. You can have the best product in the world, but you won’t sell it if you can’t talk about it in terms of your customers’ problems.

Take a look at the website Plunge for their cold plunge baths and saunas, and you will see articles on losing weight, sore muscle recovery, easing menopause and menstrual cycle symptoms, improving memory, curing hangovers, weight loss, stress, and even improving cancer outcomes. Let’s be clear: I don’t think anyone really wants to plunge into a tub of ice-cold water, but they do want to improve performance, reduce stress, lose weight, etc. etc. Plunge now manages to sell thousands of tubs with a starting price of $5000. How do they manage to get so many people to buy an expensive product and subject their bodies to something extremely uncomfortable? Because they talk about the problems the plunge solves. The customers want those problems solved, so they buy the plunge and subject themselves to a very unpleasant experience to potentially solve their problems. This proves customers will go to great lengths to solve their problems!

How to market your business from your clients’ perspective

Switch your thinking to focus on your clients and their thoughts and feelings. Consider their current struggles, where they want to be, and where you can take them. Once you understand their perspective, use that language in all your materials - on your web page, your social media posts and every time you talk with customers.

In short, you want to discuss how your product will solve customers’ problems by addressing these fundamental questions. How will your product bridge the gap between their current state and their dream state?

Their problems now:

What is keeping them up at night?

What is it that they are feeling now?

What does that look like on a day-to-day basis for them?

After working with you:

How will they feel?

What will they be able to do, and how will that make a difference in their life?

What will that look like on a day-to-day basis?

Develop a clear image of your client in your head

Many experts recommend visualizing just one person and creating an avatar or persona, and creating all those materials with that one person in mind. Maybe a former version of you is your target audience, speak to that former version of yourself.

Spend time getting to know your ideal client better.

Hang out where they hang out.

Talk to them.

Ask them questions.

As you learn more about them, you can use a customer empathy map like this one from Canva to dive deeper into the minds of your customers. Go deep into how this problem affects your client and how it will make a difference in their lives if their problem is solved. This will help you talk about the problems and solutions in terms that will appeal to them.

If you want to go deeper into this concept, I highly recommend Donald Miller’s, Story Brand (affiliate link), which walks you through the process of getting into your client’s mind with a clear process and examples.

This process of learning about your clients and their problems is a continuous journey leading to continuous improvement of your products and services. Beginning to look from this empathetic perspective will help you with all of your relations as well.

Growth Audit

Book a growth audit with Cordes to identify what priorities will make the biggest difference in your business and what behaviors will help get you there.


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