“Necessity is the mother of invention” – English Proverb
One thing that all inventions have in common is that they address a need. Someone had a problem and they came up with a solution.
I love the quirky and fun things you can buy on the website: www.didntknowiwantedthat.com. Most of the items there are pointless. But there’s a few that address real needs and problems. For example, have you had to listen to a pair of shoes clanging around inside the dryer? Do you find your family fighting over who gets the brownies with the yummy, perfectly baked edges? Have you ever found it cumbersome and awkward to cut a watermelon into several, bite sized pieces? People identified these problems and created a solution. By understanding a customer’s “pain points” they knew exactly how to sell and market their solution.
A pain point is a specific problem that prospective customers of your business are experiencing (Source). When you know your customers, you know their pain points. Customers don’t care about your solutions – your products & services – until they know you’re aware of their problems.
You might try to sell me some medicine, but if you don’t tell me what problems it addresses first, I’m not listening.
Too often, the message that we send out speaks only of our solutions. When we talk only of our solutions, nobody listens. Showing that you get your customer by knowing their pain points (their problems) shows you care. When you show you care, people listen.
Take for example a plumber. He may advertise that he is the best plumber in the Bitterroot Valley. He can fix your leaky faucet. He can install a state of the art hot water heater. He’s been around for 20+ years. Blah. Blah. Blah. Right? He’s just talking solutions. But what if he understood your pain points and addressed them first?
Instead, the first thing you see on his website is the question “Are you tired of having a plumber say he’ll be there at 2pm and he ends up arriving at 4pm?” You think to yourself, “Yes! That happens all the time. I never have a plumber (or any service technician) arrive when they say they will. It always messes up my schedule!” As you read that first line of his website, his message resonates with you. He gets you. He knows what’s important to you. And because of that, you’re willing to listen … and keep reading.
Start with the problem. Then present your solution.
How do you know what your customer’s pain points are? You get them to talk. The best way to do this? By asking open-ended questions. Avoid the yes/no questions. Those won’t reveal their true pain points. Ask them questions such as:
- What is the biggest challenge your company is currently facing?
- What is your biggest hairball? 🙂
- What does your boss obsess about?
- What takes up the most time in your day?
- What are your biggest gripes?
Talk to past clients. Talk to current ones. Send out a survey or a questionnaire. The most important thing you can do is: LISTEN
Know your customers. Know what keeps them up at night. Only then can you share with them your solution. And when you do … do so in their language. Don’t use your industry’s jargon. Speak to them like you know them and get them. Because when they sense you know them, they’ll start listening to you and what you can do for them.