Whatever you’re trying to sell, you have a battle in front of you. But do you know what your real sales and marketing challenge is? Here’s a hint: It’s not your competition. Most marketers spend so much time and effort attempting to get eyeballs, differentiate their offering and craft some catchy message that they fail to answer the most pressing question that prospects always have.

“So what?”

If you aren’t prepared to answer this question in the clearest possible terms, you aren’t about to win new customers. Forcing yourself to ask “so what?” about everything you do, from a prospect’s perspective, is going to help you connect with new customers in a way that really matters to them, by overcoming four distinct challenges.blah blah content

1. Fight the Status Quo
We’re all creatures of habit. At least as often as not, we don’t do things the ‘best’ way we could, because habits are comfortable and persistent. “Oh, you have a better way of helping me do X? So what? I’m busy. My current solution is good enough.” You have to find ways to show prospects that ‘good enough’ isn’t cutting it.  

One of our services helps bloggers source more content. So what? We changed the headline to “Publish More Content. Grow Your Blog.” That’s about as obvious as you can get, and it’s improving conversions. Without that kind of clarity a blogger isn’t necessarily going to feel there is a pressing need to alter the status quo. The prospect has to question the status quo for himself, e.g., “Am I publishing enough content? Is my blog growing like I want it to?” We’re finding that the answer to those questions is often “No!”

2. Avoid Assumptions
You think you know your prospects and how they’ll interpret your message? Think again. We thought that “Professionally Written Content for Your Blog. Completely Free.” was a good headline. However, it assumes that bloggers are looking for content, want it to be professionally written, and are confident in what they can get for free.

The problem with our message was that we assumed such features would resonate, but remember that the status quo is a powerful force. Unless the prospect is already looking for those things, the likelihood he or she will respond to them is very low. Whatever you have to offer, make it about specific results, without forcing prospects to connect the dots.

3. Relieve Prospect Pain
New features and benefits are cool, but pain relief is life-saving. Although people like to believe they are proactive and make nothing but smart, proactive decisions, a significant portion of our choices aren’t made until the situation is too painful to endure. Do you know the pains your prospects experience? Not the intellectual challenges, but the emotional and physical pain.

Your solutions must help prospects fix what is hard, tiring, frustrating, scary, embarrassing, making them feel helpless, under-appreciated or overwhelmed. When you break it all down, no matter what sort of things you offer, there is a person you’re trying to help feel better.

4. Make it Easy
“Freemium” apps and websites are the standard bearers of making purchasing decisions easy. They take away all the risk to the consumer and improve user adoption by removing all barriers to entry. Depending on your own business model, there are various ways to get customers involved, without forcing them to pony up large amounts of information, cash, or even time commitments.

Free consultations sometimes still work, but prospects tend to prefer more hands-off interactions. If you don’t have the development resources to produce apps or other tools to help your prospects, think content. Free webinars, email series, ebooks, videos, podcasts and of course, blog posts are all ways to expose prospects to your help on their own terms, without any risk.

The internet certainly allows you to reach many more prospects than you otherwise could, but it also means prospects can casually shop more of your competitors and try any solution on for size. Therefore, unless your pitch is accompanied by lots of proof that your help is credible and worthwhile, prospects will be left wondering, “So what?”


By Mike Sobol