I’m a long way from what you would call a “car guy.”
I don’t care how fast they go – my wife is always accusing me of “dawdling” on the highway.
I don’t care about cargo space – I own nothing that needs moving.
I don’t care what they look like – I’ve got bigger appearance challenges.
So you won’t be surprised to learn that my car of choice for the past 15 years has been the Ford Focus. Reliable, inexpensive, easy to spell.
In keeping with my minimal level of vehicular interest, I have never, in all the years that I have owned cars, paid to have one “detailed,” a process in which a vehicle is professionally cleaned, inside and out.
But the Groupon ad caught my eye.
Specifically, it highlighted a quote from a recent customer that said: “My old car feels and looks brand new!”
That simple statement happened to align perfectly with a thought I’ve been having lately: My car, especially the interior, is looking dirty and feeling kind of worn.
I went ahead and bought the detailing.
Which brings me to today’s question for you … Why?
Why did I buy something that’s been available for decades, but that up until now, has never even made it into my consciousness, let alone compelled me to take out my credit card?
The answer, I hope you’ll agree, is need.
I had a problem (dirty car). Someone came along and, in just a few words, offered a matching fix: a car that feels and looks brand new.
Your Marketing Is Missing The Point
I spend a lot of time interacting with professional service providers.
That’s who my clients are, that’s who my colleagues are, that’s who many of my friends are.
And so I have the opportunity to hear lots and lots of people describe their work. Those descriptions tend to focus on one (or more) of three things:
Why they are qualified:
I bring more than 25 years of financial management experience.
What they do:
I help people tell their stories and amplify their point of view by ghost writing.
How they do what they do:
My proprietary, “six-star strategy development program” combines onsite and virtual learning.
All perfectly fine – none of the words above are doing any damage. And sure, it’s important to let people know what you do and why you are qualified.
But if that’s all you talk about, you are ignoring one critical element of the marketing equation: specifying the problem that you solve.
In other words, what’s your version of, “I will make your car feel and look brand new”?
But wait a second, isn’t it pretty obvious what the professionals in the three examples above do?
Pretty obvious, yes. But understanding what you do and making a move for my checkbook are far from the same thing.
I’ve understood and known about “detailing” for as long as I can remember. But it was not until the solution being offered matched up with a problem I was carrying around that I made a purchase.
Here’s the bottom line.
Nobody hires professional help until they have a problem they can’t (or don’t want to) fix by themselves.
At that point, they want a solution to appear – the simpler, more obvious, and more closely matched to their problem the better.
Your priority, in talking/writing about your work, is to understand what your prospects’ problems are and explain how working with you will make them go away. (The problems, I mean.)
- Have you ever looked dirty and felt kind of worn? Give examples.
- What do you care about most in choosing a vehicle?
- What specific client problem(s) do you solve?