In the last post we covered how positioning who you are and what makes you an expert is the starting place for success and how if that’s not ‘nailed’ down, this is the first place where the leaks can occur.
Today I’ll be talking about the second place where the money leaks out, and that is in the concept of Messaging. Notice in this place of what I call “Inner Marketing” that we always start on the inside before we go out and sell anything. Too often over zealous entrepreneurs want to rush out and get their offerings marketed but it would be like trying to build a house without consulting an architect and drawing up the plans. So we do more foundational pieces to insure that the words that you say in your marketing pieces resonate with your perfect client.
The messaging as I see it is what you sell and to whom and then creating the marketing messages that make it like the dog whistle….imperceptible to others’ but totally ringing in the ears of our target market.
We’ve already identified the thing that makes you unique and established the intangibles that would point to why they should buy from you. So now we move on to answer these four questions:
Who is your PERFECT market?
What problems do they have?
How do you provide a solution for them?
How do you then language that?
After you know what kind of clients you want to work with, brainstorm all the things that are problems for them that are within your scope. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say someone comes to you as a coach to help them grow their business. They could just be focused on getting more clients in the door. But underneath that there are many other opportunities. They may be struggling with some of these – how to grow their list, how to package their services, where to get speaking gigs, how to market, how to create info products, etc. Usually we think globally like “Helping grow their business” but it’s in going to the multiple components that they hadn’t even thought of that the magic happens.
I remember when I was ten and sitting at a basketball game with my dad. He referenced the players and I looked at him and said, “You mean you can actually SEE those numbers on their uniforms?” And he said back to me, “You CAN’T see their numbers?” That of course warranted a trip to the eye doctor as I discovered I needed glasses, but more importantly it was a big lesson in understanding that you can’t see what you can’t see. And that’s where you come in. You have to realize that your clients don’t know what they don’t know, and it’s your job to guide them through the solutions and also to share with them what’s possible that they may never even thought for themselves. (That’s a retention tip for you!)
So now that you have the characteristics of who you want to work with and have made the list of all their possible challenges, how does your solution solve those for them? Here’s where I will introduce the “Sell vs. Buy” exercise that my friend Michael Goodman shared with me. You can also read about how to know that what you are selling isn’t what they are buying in this blog if you want a bit more info.
You know that you are selling the obvious, but if you do the list work to really understand what you are selling, you’ll see that your clients BUY something completely different. Using the example of someone coming for business development, sure….they get that. But they maybe also “buying” confidence to get out and network better, a standing in the community the never had before, a bigger sense of purpose, more money to contribute, more time with their family, a sense of peace or well being. The point here is that we often look only at the transactional pieces and fail to see what else our clients take away. (And when you do this, its easy to charge more because you understand the value you bring.)
And so when you go to message or language what you do, you are no longer stuck with just the ‘stuff’ of the business, but could actually write a rich, emotionally charged, results driven piece that captures them. But writing all their problems, maybe adding a dash of what they have already tried (and maybe failed to get results with) and mix that in with what’s possible BEYOND just what they present with, you have the recipe for a message that lands.
One final word of caution. ASK your clients what they have gotten and what they would want. Sometimes we make the mistake of selling what WE WANT versus what THEY NEED! Big mistake here and we’ve probably all made it from time to time. So don’t assume, and get on the task of doing some research with your clients. Form a “focus group” or advisory board of folks who have worked with you and wouldn’t mind giving feedback. Ask what problems they had, what they hired you for, what else they would have liked, and how best to language that. This way you are using the concept of LEVERAGE which is the next blog topic in the series of Business Leaks!
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