Why do some companies offer their clients pain killers while most try to give them a vitamin pill?
If you had a really bad headache and you could buy a pain killer or a vitamin pill, which would you buy? The painkiller, right? Obvious!
Yet in business, I see time and time again, agencies trying to sell their prospective clients a vitamin pill. This is not a good way to sell.
Imagine going to your best friend’s wedding and having too good a time and waking up with an almighty headache the next morning. Would you reach for a pain killer or take a vitamin pill? Well a pain killer of course!
Clients who are in pain have an urgent need to solve that pain (with your solution). Yet many agencies are trying to sell their prospective clients a vitamin pill (something that is nice to have but not urgent) rather than a pain killer!
So when you are marketing & selling your product or service, are you addressing the client’s pain or are you telling them your product is something that would be great to have in their business?
Getting this positioning wrong will have a massive impact on your agency.
A real bugbear of mine is that most websites make this mistake by starting out selling the vitamin (which looks like telling the client how great YOU are and what YOU do on your home page).
This could well be the case with your own website?
They are trying to sell the client something they may not be aware that they currently need (the vitamin pill) because although it might enhance their business, it doesn’t solve one of their major pains right now (the pain killer).
Let me give you a real example of this – something that happened to me last week. I got a cold call from a company that can track visitors to your website and give you detailed info on them.
Sounds great right?
The issue is that this isn’t one of my current pains. A current pain for me (regarding web traffic) is that I would like to get more traffic to my site. Only then would it be worth investing a monthly fee on visitor tracking software. Meanwhile that product is just a vitamin pill for me, so I am not going to buy it! The guy on the phone wasn’t really listening to me and just tried to tell that spending £500 / month on their software was a good investment. Not if it doesn’t solve one of my key pains!
They needed to better target by understanding who they were calling first.
If we start by identifying the client’s pain then we ‘stand in the client’s shoes’ and demonstrate we understand them (which builds empathy, a crucial part of the sales process). The language we use when we discuss our product or service will then be geared to show the client how we solve that pain rather than just discussing the features of our product (which we can do later).
So 3 things we can all do better in our agencies:
- Know your customer persona/avatar and specifically what the top 3 pains/issues are in their business
- Understand the language they use and build our solutions using this language, showing how our solution can cure their pain
- Make our initial communications (via email, blogging, your website) all about the client and their pain (so they want to read more) BEFORE we talk about our solution and how great we are
If we do this we are much more likely to build empathy with a client which will lead them to say ‘tell me more’ and then you have started a dialogue that can more easily lead to a sale.1