This is part 2 in a 8 part series about building products and services that people desperately want and buy.
In the Harry Potter series there are many magical things including wands and dragons. One of Harry’s most valuable magical objects is an invisibility cloak that was left to him by his parents. When he puts this cloak on he disappears from view and can walk around listening and watching the plans of his enemies. It comes in handy to be invisible from your enemies. But what about our friends? Our prospects? Too often we become invisible to our prospective customers. It's like we have forgotten to take off our cloak of invisibility when doing our market research.
Today we are going to learn how to reveal ourselves to our prospects and why our solutions can become invisible. First we’ll find out why sequence is so important to getting attention in the first place. Then we’ll elaborate on the importance of our solution in providing a pressure relief valve and finally why being too clever when describing what we do is not the answer your prospects are looking for. And we’ll find out what is. But first, let’s talk about sequence.
Sequence is about the order of things
How you bring them up. The order in which ideas and concepts are entering our prospects mind. In the previous post we talked about the importance of the problem. How this is more important for getting attention. Attention is the lynchpin. It prepares your prospects mind for receiving the next thing you are about to say. If you haven’t opened the door before introducing your solution then I’m afraid you are likely to be pressing your face firmly against a closed glass door. And that’s a bit embarrassing isn’t it? No-one likes that feeling. Especially when your potential customer is waiting on the other side. You can see them but you have gotten in your own way if you talk about your solution first.
We struggle not too talk about our solutions, and we can, but we simply must start by talking about the problem first. And by the way, make sure it is just one specific problem that you have isolated and elevated into the mind of your prospect. Remember the glob of cream on the cheek from Part 1? Once you have done your job by isolating and elevating this one problem you need to walk through the door. You don’t want to get stuck by waffling about something else. As soon as you have revealed the problem, you follow up without delay with your solution. But even then you can trip on the way through the doorway.
The way you can trip up when you talk about your solution is by talking about your process
By your process we are talking about how you do things. How you make your widgets or provide your value. Or you might introduce yourself by mentioning your job title or credentials. These are all process focused and this is not the solution your prospect is looking for. Not yet. They want something else that is not your process. That’s right they are looking for an answer for their problem.
An answer to your customer’s problem is not your process. This probably sounds counter intuitive doesn’t it? Here you were thinking you are creating products and services to solve problems but what you are really doing at a higher level is finding answers. How you do it is really not as interesting for your prospects as the fact that you actually deliver the answer they want. So immediately after you get your customers attention you had better tell them about the solution. But don’t fall into the trap of responding with your process. You might do this but not yet. Instead you say what you do is eliminate that one problem you just got their attention with. So for example. “I notice that you have a glob of cream on your cheek?” is the problem and “I’ll clean that up for you before anyone notices” is the solution. You are not telling them how you are going to do it, just that you are going to take care of them with this problem. Doing this has the effect of relieving the pressure.
When you introduce your solution in the right way it should immediately provide a relief for your prospect
The initial stress or tension created by isolating and elevating a specific problem is followed by the solution you have and this will help them feel better. It’s like the feeling of being approached in the street by a stranger. Initially you put your guard up but if you then realise that you recognise this person as a friend your guard comes down. Problem then solution. You have now made it through the door and your prospect is ready for the next piece of information. Your job is certainly not done yet. If you have found the right problem and have a solution to the problem then you are no longer invisible to your prospects. That problem has been solved.
Getting attention with the problem first will open the door
This is the first step in the sequence. Then you immediately follow up with your solution to provide a pressure relief valve for your prospect. They don’t want to hear about your process. They want an answer to their problem. You start with the problem and then talk about the solution. Always in this order. When you talk about your solution, even if you are using the language of an answer to a problem you are still mostly invisible if you haven’t isolated and elevated the problem in the correct sequence.
Take that cloak of invisibility off by elevating the specific problem first. This gets the prospect’s blood pumping. It gets their attention. Then tell them that it is going to be okay. You have the answer to this problem for them. That will get you in the door. If you’re not getting through the door then it is possible that you don’t yet understand your target audience well enough. And to understand your audience you need to understand your target profile.
In part 3 of this 8 part series we will find out what we need to know about our audience before we even approach a prospect with our problem and solution in hand.