Solve a Problem, Get a Sale—and a Referral

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How often have you bought a product based solely on an ad or a jingle? The truth is, prospects are rarely converted to customers based on bombardment strategies. The more effective strategy is to find potential customers who are already actively seeking the solution you’re offering.

How do you find them? First, recognize that your prospects may not realize that they’re seeking your product or service. They’re often looking for an answer to a question, the fulfillment of a desire, or the alleviation of a frustration. That’s what they’re typing into Google or asking their Facebook friends about. That’s the stuff of coffee conversations.

So, start there. Ask yourself: What questions are my best prospects likely to be typing into Google? What are they talking about with their friends over social media? Ask your current customers: What specific needs do you have?

Once you’ve got that information, name it. Touting the overall benefits of your product doesn’t matter nearly as much as understanding and naming the itch your prospect is looking to scratch. Try to use the same language and points of reference that your customers, and potential customers, would use to describe that very itch.

It’s not about the way your business sounds, it’s about the way your customers speak. When they understand the value of your product on their terms, they will be more likely to tell others about that value whenever they recognize similar desires among friends. (Let the referral flood commence!)

Megan Auman, a designer and metalsmith, realized it was not just jewelry that people were buying, but the ability to make every outfit look great—whether it’s a great cocktail dress or a tee-shirt and a pair of jeans. She came up with the tagline “Make a Statement Every Day” for her eponymous jewelry line and framed her marketing efforts around that theme.

While perfecting this kind of sales and marketing takes time, Megan saw the results of her hard work during her trade show circuit this year, when she was stopped several times by other designers who’d seen people at the show strutting around in her jewelry. Those same people will be selling—and recommending—her jewelry in their stores all year round.

Once you know what your prospects are actively seeking and how they’re talking about it, you can frame your outreach, trust building, and sales process in those terms. No need to convince anyone of anything. You’re left with a steady stream of customers who are looking to buy from your business.

Tara Gentile is the creator of The Customer Perspective Process, a framework for building the foundation of your business in a truly social way.

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