This blog is Part One of a Two Part series on reaching customers and defining who those best customers are. Read Part Two on Defining Dream Customers vs Near Customers here.
This article comes from a question from Jenny Bailey, style consultant and owner of This Vivid Life. Jenny asks, “How do you “talk” to customers that don’t know they need you?” Jenny is asking what many of our clients want to know — how to begin having consistent and valuable conversations online with the right people. But how do you do have valuable conversations to help someone if they don’t even know they need you?
The answer is education.
For a moment, let’s forget about marketing and technology — what this is really about is about helping people. You are probably great at helping your clients. But it doesn't come as a shock that people generally don’t want help from someone they don’t know.
So step one is really about making space for your potential clients to get to know you and begin building a friendship with them. You do that by giving of your expertise and experiences far before they know they’re looking for you. You educate them on various areas around your expertise which in turn earns you the space to offer to help them.
David Heinemeier Hansson, co-owner of 37Signals (the company that makes Basecamp our favorite project management software) hit the nail on the head when he said, “You can either outspend your competition or you can out teach them.”
Setting up a longer term blogging & social plan that centers around giving away nuggets of helpful information or pieces of your expertise will set you on a path to build valuable relationships with your best people.
I know what you’re thinking, “But what do I teach them if they don’t think they need me?”
To answer this question, I am going to ask you to think about their “pain.” All of your customers have a pain, a problem, a sticking point or a roadblock that brings them into the place where you can help them. They may not be asking for your packages, so you need to start by finding the pain they are experiencing and offering them some relief from that pain through your knowledge and expertise.
Since Jenny was the one who asked this question I am going to walk through an example connect to her Style Consultancy business.
From her question it sounds like many of Jenny’s potential customers don’t know they need a stylist. Their “pain” from their point of view might not have any connections to their sense of style or what they put on in the morning.
In fact, her most common roadblocks to getting hired is likely that people don’t understand the profound effect that having right wardrobe can have on their life and mood. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have pain associated with their wardrobe. And Jenny’s challenge is going to be finding the pain they do feel and connecting it to the solutions she’s offering.
For example, some common pains that I’d imagine her potential clients having might be:
- They don't feel good about themselves. Maybe they avoid mirrors or hate having their picture taken.
- Getting out the door in the morning too long and feels really stressful.
- Or perhaps they aren't being considered for a promotion because they come off “having what it takes” to get the job done.
Now, notice that NONE of these pains specifically address clothing, style, color, or fashion. From their point of view they have a problem with mirrors or with their bosses, not with clothes. It’s Jenny’s job to show them how This Vivid Life can address those pains.
Let’s take the third example, “Getting Considered for that Big Promotion,” and look at how Jenny might start an educational campaign around that topic:
- Jenny might start a blog series around how getting the right fit of clothing helps her clients look and feel more professional and therefore more likely to contribute meaningfully in meetings.
- From there she could give some highly valuable nuggets, like how to tell if a shirt fits well (with visuals of too loose, too tight and just right).
- She might recap her favorite stores or designers that offer sharp business-wear that is made with quality, is long lasting, is comfortable, etc.
- She might do a series on the right blazer cuts for different shapes of women
- Week over week she would continue to offer educational tips on what to look for in well made clothing, or style tips, and in each post she would point to some validating statistic or testimonial from a client about how changing their wardrobe helped them have improved performance at work. Over time she’ll be mentally connected as a helpful and source of valuable information in a way that addresses a client’s sticking point.
Now when she comes forward and emails her clients about a new offering, she’s earned a place within their relationship to sell to that person. She’s laid the groundwork by offering lots of value and insight, and she’s shown how her services can address specific issues. She’s positioned herself as a source of expertise and value.
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