Solving Problems: How to Get Customers to Listen

By November 5, 2018News

This is the latest in a series of guest posts from carefully selected companies with whom we work to make sure we can give our clients as comprehensive a service as possible. Today’s post is by Keith Barker, marketing consultant and owner of the Keefomatic Design Co.

solving problems: How to Get People to Listen, Keith Barker, Keefomatic

If you get involved in marketing you will probably be told at some point “customers don’t want 10mm drill bits, they want 10mm holes”. The distinction is meant to highlight the difference between selling product features and customer benefits.

However, the analogy doesn’t go far enough. People don’t want 10mm holes either. They want to hang a picture, or put up some shelving – these are the problems they need solving.

Answering customer problems

When someone has a problem, he or she can be single-minded and selfish about finding a solution. If you, as a company, can provide that solution, it’s an opportunity for you to get them to listen to you and make a sale.

When I first met with David Granger Architectural Design Ltd (DGADL), they had a problem. They had plenty of repeat business and referrals, but they needed to attract a broader range of customers, especially from a younger generation. However, they didn’t know how to do it, and they didn’t have the capacity – everyone at DGADL had their own jobs to do.

So, they asked me to help.

After meeting with them, I carried out a complete marketing audit and proposed a plan of action. Here’s the very much simplified version:

  1. Ask yourself “what are your customers’ problems and how does your expertise solve them?”
  2. Put those issues at the heart of your message to get customers’ attention.
  3. Put the messages out there and ask customers to respond.

Businesses say they know what their clients’ problems are

The trouble is, it’s not unusual for a company to make assumptions about its customers. What a business thinks is vital to its clients is often not borne out if you ask the clients directly. So, to find out what problems DGADL’s customers were facing, I arranged phone interviews with a dozen of them.

The calls generated a shopping list of problems, as well as valuable feedback and great testimonials. Some issues were self-evident – the reason people wanted to build an extension was that they needed more space.

However, other problems were less obvious. For example, nearly all the clients hated the process of getting their projects through the planning system. They placed a high value on DGADL’s extensive local planning experience – indeed much more so than they themselves had realised.

Armed with our list of client problems, we set about creating a range of marketing materials including a set of e-books (such as Everything You Wanted to Know about Extending your Home), blog articles and I re-wrote DGADL’s web pages.

All the new content addressed those client problems head-on and helpfully demonstrated how DGD could solve them, highlighting their expertise and knowledge along the way.

Extension Guide by David Granger Architectural Design Ltd

Then we needed to get the messages out there

We’ve publicised our new content on social media and through digital advertising. However, we’ve put the bulk of our efforts into writing 4-6 articles per month for the website and sending links to those articles in a monthly newsletter to their email subscriber list.

We’re about ten months into the project, and the results are promising – leads, website visitors, newsletter subscribers and, most importantly, orders, are all up.

The other day I asked David how he thought it was going:

“We love you, and we hate you!” he said. “We love you for bringing us so much work, and we hate you for bringing us so much work!”

So, I guess that means people are listening!

Photo by kyle smith on Unsplash