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Figure out your customer’s number one problem and then solve it
Really, there’s not much to add to that single statement. Sales and marketing comes down to that single thought. Solve your customer’s problem. Where things go askew is when your prospect fails to recognize they have a problem you can solve or when your solution isn’t a perfect fit.
Scenario One: you have the solution, your customer has the problem
You’re done; go have some coffee. It’s rarely this simple, but when cosmic forces align, on a rare occasion you have the solution to their problem and they’re happy to pay for it. It works. Everyone is happy. And all you need to do is go out to celebrate.
Scenario Two: you’ve got a solution, but your customer doesn’t realize they have a problem
Sadly, this is fairly common. Entrepreneurs are often too busy to seek out optimum solutions so they make do. So you’ve got a great opportunity… you simply have to convert this prospect into a sale - but that will require leaping two hurdles.
First obstacle: making contact or getting by the gatekeeper.
Depending on the scale of a business, the receptionist or voicemail may be difficult to get around. Or if the owner is too busy, simply connecting directly will be all but impossible. Fortunately today you can sidestep some roadblocks by connecting directly to the business persons via social channel. Spend a little time to track them down on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin and see if you can connect or be introduced by a intermediary. You’ll now have a direct pipeline to their attention feed. You can make a succinct pitch and offer to follow up if they’re interested. Yes, you can try emailing or cold calling - but the ability to filter each of these is very high so their success varies greatly.
Second obstacle: presenting your case clearly
Once you’ve made contact, you need to present the case that your solution solves a problem they don’t even realize they have. Translating your pitch into tangible benefits or savings of time and money are the simplest route to opening their eyes. How you pitch will depend on many factors and how much information you have - but if you can quickly and clearly spell out how your solution will help them, then it will simply come down to a question of dollars and cents. So if your pitch can demonstrate how your offer will reduce their costs or grow their revenue (with some reliable proof thereof) you’ll likely have a new customer.
Scenario Three: they’ve got a problem, and you’ve got a fix – but it isn’t perfect
Sometimes your solution is good – but not necessarily a perfect fit for a prospect’s problem. In this case you’ll need to work a bit harder to shoehorn your solution into their business. What difficulty this will present depends on what the shortcoming is. It may be a price objection, or maybe you can offer A and B, but not C, and they need it all, or perhaps they simply don’t want to switch - it’ll take too much effort.
Dealing with a prospect’s objection or concern will require an investment in time, so hopefully you’re targeting the right prospects. Make sure your investment will bear fruit or move on to the next sale. But assuming you’ve already done your due diligence, it’ll simply be a matter of deciphering their concerns and issues and addressing them as best possible. It doesn’t always work out, but if your solution is in the neighborhood you have a chance of bringing the deal home.
Nov 20, 2015
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