Three questions your business must answer.

Three questions your business must answer. written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Straight to the point – here are the three questions:

  1. Do you get me?
  2. Can I trust you?
  3. Did you keep your promise?

Now, of course, the tricky part is that no one actually comes out and asks you these questions, but answering them, in often subtle ways, is the key to any successful relationship – business or personal.

Think of these questions as relationship stages.

Stages of a relationship

Here’s the thing you must accept. The company that can more clearly communicate that they understand what’s going on in the mind and heart of the prospect wins. 

Addressing a prospect’s problem upfront is a little like doing a puzzle, and it involves an evolving journey. Think about the last time you wrestled with a thorny issue. Did you wake one morning from your slumber and exclaim, “I’ve got it, problem solved.” I’m guessing no.

Whether you were aware of it or not, you probably went through a series of stages on your way to the ultimate solution.

By understanding these stages, you can also acknowledge and address them in your marketing messages and business processes. You can begin to understand the job your marketing has to accomplish to guide a prospect to your brand of solution. 

The stages addressed in the questions above align with our desire to attain more of these three little words in our lives – clarity, confidence, and control.

While most marketers jump straight into why it is such a great idea to hire them or buy their product, most prospects, still early on in their journey, may not even know the problem they are trying to solve. They may know the symptoms they are experiencing but have not diagnosed the “real” problem and certainly have not connected solving it with what we sell.

Clarity – Do you get me? 

The first stage is a clear understanding of what the problem is. I mean, even if you never considered this, it probably makes sense. 

You won’t go looking for a solution to a problem you don’t know you have or certainly can’t yet articulate. You certainly won’t be motivated to seek out a sales call, request a proposal, or pay good money for the ability to solve a problem that you can’t describe.

Ah, but once someone sheds light on the real issue, helps you name your challenge, helps you get clear on what something is costing you not to address, helps you know what you don’t know, see what you don’t see – then your world view begins to change. You see things in a light that allows you to take even baby steps towards finding a solution.

Your company may cut trees down but the problem your company solves is that you show up at the appointed time and clean up the job site meticulously. The thought is that pretty much anyone with a chain saw can cut a tree down (this is not true by the way), but no one will promise to show up in that small window of time I have in the morning to let someone into the yard to discuss my trees.

But you get that, so you promise to solve that problem. 

As marketers, our first job is to communicate empathy with the problem, communicate that we know what the problem is and that we understand why it exists. Do this, and you’ll earn the right to explain how to fix it.

 Confidence – Can I trust you?

With your problem defined and blind-spot removed now, you can start to search for a solution, but we don’t yet possess the confidence to know what the right path is. We begin to ask our friends, go online and search in all the usual places, maybe try to find an example of someone who successfully solved a similar issue. 

As a marketer, this is where trust rules.  

Once a prospect discovers that you do indeed get them and you’re the only one talking about the problem that’s been rolling around in their head for months, they’ll start to take a deeper look at two things: who you are and what you offer.

This stage involves deeper dives into your product and service pages and downloading your case studies, but it also includes filling out your forms, visiting your social profiles, maybe even Googling your business name.

Confidence is either won or lost in the details. How fast your site loads, how intuitive your forms are to complete, how well I get a sense of what you stand for when I read more about you.

None of these items alone is a deal-breaker, but collectively they tell a story about what’s important to you, and that’s the mental checklist a prospect is completing at this stage.

Do they believe, confidently enough, that you can live up to the promise of solving their problems in exchange for their hard-earned money?

Control – Did you keep your promise?

The final stage comes into view as a person is fully into solving their problem with you. During this stage, they want a sense of control.  

Now, this doesn’t mean they want to control the process; they simply want to feel as though it is going as expected, that they see results, that communication is flowing in a way that allows them to relax and trust the process.

This stage equates to a great customer experience, a great plan of action, and, ultimately your customer’s ability to understand the value of their investment.

So, did you keep your promise? Did you surprise me? Did you exceed my expectations? All of these help me feel like I’m in control.

And a sense of control is what turns the tap for repeat business, evangelism, and referrals.

The point in understanding these stages is to help you understand that it’s not enough to simply have a great explanation of the problem you solve. Your business must also intentionally address and guide a prospect through each of the three stages. 

Build a journey that addresses these three questions, and you’ll build a lasting relationship with your ideal customers.

How to Communicate Your Brand Story with Simple Marketing

How to Communicate Your Brand Story with Simple Marketing written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Donald Miller

Marketing Made SimpleIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Donald Miller, the CEO of StoryBrand. At StoryBrand every year Don helps more than 3,000 business leaders clarify their brand message. Combined, Don’s books have spent more than a year on the New York Times Bestsellers list. His books include: Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and Scary Close.

Don is widely considered one of the most entertaining and informative speakers in the world. His audiences are challenged to lean into their own story, creatively develop and execute the story of their team, and understand the story of their customers so they can serve them with passion. Don’s thoughts on story have deeply influenced leaders and teams for Pantene, Chick-fil-A, Steelcase, Intel, Prime Lending, Zaxby’s, and thousands more.

Don’s latest book Marketing Made Simple helps you to define what to do once your marketing messages have been clarified.

Questions I ask Donald Miller:

  • How does memoir writing move into writing about marketing?
  • How do you make your story sexy?
  • What does Marketing Made Simple accomplish?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How you can improve your marketing by improving your story
  • How to start with the problem that you solve
  • How to differentiate yourself in the market
  • Once you’ve clarified your message what do you do with it

More about Donald Miller:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

WordStreamThis episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by WordStream, online advertising made easy. It is so easy to waste time and money on online advertising. That is why you need tools like WordStream in your corner. Check out WordStream.com today.

How to Get Started in Influencer Marketing

How to Get Started in Influencer Marketing written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Neal Schaffer

Neal SchafferIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Neal Schaffer, author of The Age of Influence: The Power of Influencers to Elevate Your Brand.

Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping educate executives and professionals on social media as well as in implementing successful social media strategies for businesses. CEO of the social media agency PDCA Social, social media educator at Rutgers University and the Irish Management Institute, social media keynote speaker who has spoken at hundreds of events on four continents, and author of three social media books, Neal is a true innovator and influencer in digital and social media marketing.

Questions I ask Neal Schaffer:

  • How do you define influence?
  • Is there influencer marketing outside of social media today?
  • Is podcasting interviews influencer marketing?
  • How do you find the right influencers for your business?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • The definition of nano influencer
  • How much more powerful leveraging influencers can be than posting digitally
  • How to leverage influencer interviews in marketing
  • How to create a program to kickstart an influencer marketing campaign

More about Neal Schaffer:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

What Problem Does Your Business Solve For You?

What Problem Does Your Business Solve For You? written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Don’t misunderstand the title of this entry – I’m talking about you, the business owner, the start-up entrepreneur, the employee. What Problem Does Your Business Solve For You?

See, at its heart, every business exists to solve problems.

We may choose to communicate the features and benefits of our business and what it sells, but it’s a fact that buyers don’t care what we sell until they understand how doing business with us can solve their problems.

So what does that have to do with you and your problems?

I would like to propose an idea that’s not talked about enough; until you can fully understand the problems your business solves for you and how your business (your job) serves your, life you may struggle to understand how to best build the lasting customer relationships and internal culture you’ll need to grow a thriving business.

Now I know this seems a bit dramatic but ask yourself this question. What problem were you trying to solve when you started your business?

This is a harder question than it appears and this is not the same question as “what’s your purpose in life?”

Let me illustrate.

At first pass, many people would answer the “problem” question with things like, “it puts a roof over my head,” or “it gives me the freedom to make my own choices,” or even things like “it allows me to use my gifts.”

Nothing wrong with any of those answers, but they feel a little more like features and benefits, but nowhere near the truth.

So here’s where it gets tough.

I’ve come to realize that the problem I was trying to solve when I first started my business was low self-esteem.

I certainly didn’t know this at the time, but in many ways, in hindsight at least, it has and continues to color my decisions and daily actions.

See, I never really did that well in the traditional metric of school. I loved learning, had an insatiable curiosity, but “school” didn’t fit how I learned.

I got through high school but never quite finished college. I attended for four years and turned up about 30 hours short of any kind of degree.

I wanted to keep moving, keep pace with my peers, and at the time I was madly in love with a woman who has now tolerated me in marriage for over three decades.

I just took the next step in life, but lacking a degree I never quite felt worthy of or even capable of chasing the traditional career path. So I hid out for a while until I stumbled on the notion of starting my own business.

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I did know I would never have to interview with anyone in order to land the job and that solved a problem for me. Just how long that element lived with me is hard to tell, but I can clearly point the finger at this dynamic in some of the ruts and stalls I’ve experienced in my business over the years.

Now, it’s funny but people often associate starting a business with a large dollop of confidence and self-esteem, but it’s probably one of the greatest misperceptions about entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs often use their business as a mask or a stage for some sort of lack.

That’s not really the point I’m trying to make, but hopefully, it helps illustrate the fact that once I realized that the real problem my business solved initially was to help me deal with my own issues, I could start to see a pattern of decisions that were based in feeding that solution rather than in my own personal or professional growth.

This is the kind of thing that leads us to take a client we know is wrong for us. This is what leads us to lower our prices and undermine our value. This is what keeps us doing what we’ve always done, even if it clearly no longer serves. (And by the way, this applies to any employee out there as surely as it does to a business owner.)

So let me ask you again – Why did you start your business, what problem were you really trying to solve? Does solving that problem feed your growth or keep you in a pattern of something akin to treading water?

Ever feel stuck? Then look for the clues to answer this question.

You cannot reframe the problem your business solves for you until you understand it and define it. Once you gain clarity around this idea you can reimagine your relationship with your business. You can take charge of the problem your business needs to solve for you and you can perhaps finally focus on uncovering and solving the problems that can bring your customers and everyone else who has a relationship with your business the greatest value.

You can do less and be more.

You can develop the confidence to say no, to narrow your focus to only those you are meant to serve, to create far greater impact than you ever imagined.

How to Be Ready for What’s Next

How to Be Ready for What’s Next written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Chuck Swoboda

InnovationIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Chuck Swoboda, author, speaker, podcast host, and the Innovator-in-Residence at Marquette University.

He served as Chairman and CEO of Cree for 16 years where his team successfully led the LED lighting revolution not just by creating new products, but by focusing on solving old problems in completely new ways. He has seen what it takes to make the impossible, possible. Under his leadership, the company grew from just over $6 million in annual revenue in 1993 to over $1.6 billion as they transformed Cree from a start-up into a global market leader with 6,500 employees worldwide. Cree was recognized as MIT Technology Review’s 50 Smartest Companies for 2014 and as one of Fast Companies World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2015.

Chuck is the author of The Innovator’s Spirt, hosts the Innovators on Tap podcast, and has been a speaker on leading innovation for both corporate clients as well as a number of universities including; Harvard Business School, Marquette University, University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State University.

Questions I ask Chuck Swoboda:

  • What do you mean by innovation should solve a problem?
  • Which route should you take innovation or invention?
  • How do you convince people innovation is a good thing when it means change and they resist naturally?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How products that solve problems are marketing and sales success stories
  • The opportunity and challenge innovation creates
  • Why it’s so hard for people to change
  • What types of challenges are going to come from current innovation

More about Chuck Swoboda:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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