This marketing strategy lesson took me forever to learn.
Once I did, everything became easier. Product development was easier. Marketing was easier. Sales was easier. Heck, even management was easier.
It might be the number one mistake I see idea-driven, passionate business owners making. It’s the main thing that keeps them from having productive sales conversation or gaining real traction with their marketing efforts.
And, it’s a major contributor to time wasted.
What is it? It’s a focus on “look at me” instead of “look at you.”
It’s natural to feel like you have to prove to your prospects that your business is the best solution for them. So you list credentials, you talk up the merits of your book, program, or product, you go on & on about the quality of your materials. But all that misses the point.
People don’t buy because what you do is awesome.
People buy because it makes them feel awesome.
(Whatever the unique brand of awesome is that you’re selling.)
Here’s the painful example from my own business: for years, I tried to prove that everything I did in my business was deeper, more substantive, more foundational than what everyone else was teaching. And, I tried to convince people that that was what they really needed: deeper, more substantive, and more foundational strategy.
They weren’t buying. I mean sure, I had a calendar of full of clients, people read my books, etc… but it wasn’t easy. I was working too hard for every new prospect and every sale. Traction was elusive.
Then I figured it out. The reason people bought (literally) into my work wasn’t because it was more substantive, it was because…
- My quest to go deeper in my work mirrored their quest to go deeper in their own work.
- My need to figure out why things worked helped them avoid getting sucked into the marketing advice vortex.
- My ambition to continually pursue a more complete understanding of my subject matter meant that they could relax.
- And, finally, my focus on strategy over formulas meant they could make more money, work less, and impact more people without constantly having to rely on new tricks or tactics.
What matters to my people is: their own work, their own time & space, their sanity–and the big ones, more money, less work, and more impact. Is that what matters to you?
That’s why people buy. My customers buy not because what I offer is awesome (and it is) but because it makes them feel awesome.
The Entrepreneurs Guide to Customer Development says your differentiating factor isn’t the compelling reason to buy. But the benefit of your differentiating factor likely is.
If you’ve been following along with my CreativeLive bootcamp, Build a Stand-out Business, you’ve likely been spending a lot of time thinking about what the differentiating factor (your Unfair Advantage, your voice, your vision, etc… ) is for your business. Don’t stop there.
Don’t stop until you know how your differentiating factor leads your customers to more money, more time, better relationships, better health, etc… If you can’t boil it down to a simple, tangible benefit like that, you’re not done. What your customers truly care about is quite simple.
You have to listen to what people really want. You need to use their words, not yours. And, when the benefit they really want (more money, more time, better relationships, better health, etc…) sounds like what “everyone else is offering” push past your discomfort with that. In many ways, what you’re offering is the same as what everyone else is offering. Embrace that. Then use your unique process, point of view, voice, or advantage to differentiate.
When you push past the discomfort that what everyone else is selling is exactly what you’re selling too, you can finally get to a place where leveraging your difference really comes in handy.
Don’t tell people about what they’ll learn by working with you, tell them what they’ll be able to do differently and how that ultimately creates the benefit they desire. Don’t tell people about the quality and craftsmanship of your product, tell them how they’ll feel when they use it and how that leads to the core benefit they’re after.
Start with the “Look at you:”
- You feel more energetic and have better relationships with your kids.
- You feel more professional and speak out more in meetings–you really earned that raise.
- You feel more confident, put out a great offer, and doubled your revenue.
Now, in each of these scenarios, the solution that made this happen (your solution) isn’t the first thing the customer has tried. They’ve been scratching this itch for quite a while, possibly their whole lives. This is where your differentiating factor comes in.
Add the “Look at me” to show why your solution is different:
- My system helps you feel more energetic and have better relationships with your kids because it’s based on your personal health sweet spot.
- My jewelry makes you feel more professional and speak out more in meetings because it’s very bold but easy to wear.
- My process creates more confidence in your business, helps you put together a stronger offer, and can lead to doubling your revenue because it’s based on a individualized strategy designed to work with your personal makeup.
“Look at you” marketing strategy can change the very way you do business.
Take a look at your website, your social media, your sales copy. Is the emphasis on how great your product or service is? Or is the emphasis on the simple but profound benefit your customers are actually looking for? My guess is there’s a lot more of the former and a lot less of the latter.
Make adjustments accordingly. Then reap the benefit.