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How to uncover the difference your business makes in the lives of your clients

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The difference that they will pay for

Previously I explored the reality that many service businesses are caught up in making bland, me-too statements about their business. Rather than about the world their clients live in.

Clients buy the difference you make in their lives (and how that makes your business StandOut from your competitors).

The fundamental starting point for clients is the level of understanding you have about them – their world, the problems and challenges they face.*

The key here is that people do business with people. To get to first base you have to develop some rapport, understanding; a connection with clients. At whatever level.

Then and only then can you venture towards second base – to start to explore and understand their world. Identify their challenges, constraints and frustrated opportunities.

There are a number of key marketing tools that can help with this:

  • Client portraits – in depth pictures capturing all the details and nuances of their lives. Especially the emotional depth. The 2.30am wide-awake conversations in their heads – the unspoken fears and hopes.
  • Value propositions – how your service meets their needs, addresses their frustrations – changes their lives.
  • Buyer journey pathways – understanding every step they take along the path to buying your services, and their experiences once they are a client.
  • Stories – that we can all relate to and that in simple terms explain your business.
  • StandOut messages – what is unique to your business, how are you different – in a real, meaningful way.

And all will have an important impact upon the success of your marketing (and sales).

But to really do that successfully you need to have empathy. To see and understand the world as your client sees it. To be able to sit on the other side of the table and really listen, to see them as they are. Talk with them in their language.

Empathy is

  • an act of identifying with the other; of respect
  • an act of imagination
  • an act of listening, leaving yourself at the door
  • a felt experience of similar emotions in your life.

Reactive phrases such as “well at least….”; “look on the bright side…”; “there’s plenty more fish in the sea” are not helpful, are not empathetic, are patronising.

Empathy is what transforms your marketing. It stops you talking about yourself; from making the same meaningless me-too statements that all your competitors make. It starts you talking with your clients in their language, addressing their problems.

It helps them become a satisfied client, buying your services and referring you to their friends and peers.

At a personal level I recognise how challenging this can be.

Often for our clients I will write the copy to help effectively communicate the value of their services.

The biggest wrestle I have is to leave my own shit at the door.

To get out of my own way and to really start to connect with their audience. Only then does my writing flow (even if the final work might need another 17 edits). Because then I truly understand their audience. I see them.

If you have any questions and want to understand this better please just give me, Alex, a call on 0459 320 999. Or just send me an e-mail.

Read the first blog in this series – Why making a real point of difference to your clients matters.

* This was beautifully illustrated in a recent article by Sue-Ella Prodnovich in a survey of General Counsels (one of the most conservative of professions): “every GC said they’d meet an ‘unknown’ firm if they were familiar with their issues or had relevant expertise in their sector.”

Posted on 26 Feb 2016


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