Prospects care more about their sticky shoe more than your super duper product unless it can help them scrape off that gum

How crazy can a person be to tell you that your baby that you’ve spent endless blood, sweat and tears creating-the very thing that you sell for your livelihood isn’t what your prospects care about. Well, I’m here to tell you as a former purchaser of corporate services for 20 years that prospects don’t care about the product or the service you’re selling. They care about their problems that those products or services could be solving. If your marketing message isn’t talking about their problem and only talking about your products and services, you’re missing a huge opportunity.

So You Have The Greatest Product or Service

I know you think your product or service is great. I know you think it’s different and the greatest thing since sliced bread. The truth is that while   most business owners think their stuff is different, 86% of buyers don’t see the difference. Even if it’s the latest and greatest technological invention in the history of the world, the bottom line for a buyer is: what does it do to solve my problem better than what I’m already using? If your marketing doesn’t hit at the WHAT(the result after their problem is solved) and keeps harping on the HOW (the product/service features and benefits) you simply can’t connect effectively with your prospects. For example, a client who owned a training company had spent oodles of money on multiple websites for all her different programs. When she understood the concept that all the products were about the HOW and what was needed was to build an umbrella brand and message behind the WHAT, she saved a ton of money and increased her sales.

Operating From Your Perspective

In marketing, prospect feedback should dictate your messaging, not your assumptions. When businesses stop thinking that they KNOW what the market needs from them(their products and services) and instead start to ASK the market what they need and want the most, then real progress begins. So many of my clients change their communication strategy once they talk to their target prospects. For example a Wealth Advising Company I worked with targeted 6-figure business owner women. Their messaging was based on their own perspective that their target’s biggest problem was the money mindset that stopped them from making riskier investments.(“Scared to Invest?”) Once we deployed the research, they quickly found out that these women business owners had no issue investing but they did have an issue with feeling that their investments were being handled properly. We then put together a message that spoke to this pain (“Worried About Your Returns?”). Elevator Pitches and Web copy were then changed to reflect this change in positioning and messaging. Soon, more clients were walking in the door because they felt heard and seen when they found a money expert talking in the language of their pain.

Stop Selling The Product or Service, Start Advising on The Problem

The single biggest challenge with the sales teams that I work with are to shift them from trying to get meetings to sell their products or services to getting meetings to offer their advice to solve their clients’ industry problems. After all, any product or service can usually be found in large supply by a multitude of vendors who are competing for that corporate buyer’s dollars. Very few vendors however, are offering to come in to advise on real industry issues that are costing that prospect Millions of Dollars. Not only is this concept of advising so foreign to suppliers but it’s even unfamiliar to the buyers. Everyone is used to the transactional interaction of ‘I need a product or service-well here’s what ours does or looks like’. In fact, both buyers and sellers are locked into that role. When sellers are presented with the astonishing alternative of a consultative, educational partnership, it’s often an easy slam dunk for the rep. This is because sadly most of their competitors AREN’T doing it. They don’t know how and they don’t even know that they should be advising instead of selling. Yes, even for something as basic as a stationery supply (as one current client is doing).

So the next time that you have an interaction with a prospect, be it whether on your website or in a sales meeting, remember that it’s just not about your product or service. It’s about the solution that you can bring to the real painful and costly problem of your prospect. Every time…

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