Solving for X

Sent by Jonathan Stark on January 20th, 2019

When it comes to your pricing, wouldn’t you rather race to the top than race to the bottom? Of course you would.

But how?

A good first step is to get real clear about articulating who you help with what.

That’s where the XY Positioning Statement comes in. If you’re visual, you can think of XYPS as the primary colors of marketing. Or if you’re musical, it’s like a I-IV-V chord progression. A chef? It’s meat and potatoes. i.e., Nothing fancy, but wow, you can do a LOT with it!

Yesterday, we talked about “solving for Y” using this formula - i.e., clearly defining your ideal buyer’s desired outcome. Today I want to talk about solving for X - i.e., picking your WHO.

The X in “I help X with Y” is your ideal buyer. It’s the person who you seek to serve. The person who will most benefit from your expertise.

There are lots of ways to define your ideal buyer. You could use a vertical focus (e.g., dentists), a horizontal focus (e.g., people who need a MySQL expert), a platform focus (e.g., people who need a Shopify expert), a demographic focus (e.g., 45-55yo females who live in NYC), or a psychographic focus (e.g., environmental advocates).

Here’s the thing...

I used to think that having an ideal buyer was so important that picking one at random was better than not picking one at all. Unfortunately, years of experience coaching people through this process has taught me a hard lesson:

Picking an ideal buyer at random doesn’t work.

Not because having a laser focused ideal buyer is bad - quite the opposite, in fact - but because picking at random results in marketing to people who you don’t care deeply about helping. This makes everything awkward and unnatural and laborious - so you quickly give up.

So it turns out, you need to give a crap. Who knew! :-)

We’re in the service industry. The service industry is emotionally demanding. If you don’t genuinely care about your clients, things don’t click. Conversations are stilted. Engagement is non-existent. Everything feels like pulling teeth. You want to charge for every phone call because they are so tedious.

In short, if you pick a buyer who you don’t care about, you’ll give up on your marketing efforts. It doesn’t matter how rich they are if you can’t stand them.

On the other hand, picking a buyer who you DO genuinely care about - an IDEAL buyer - makes everything way easier. Things click. Conversations flow. Engagement is high. Opportunities present themselves serendipitously. You feel bad charging for things because you are enjoying yourself so much you would have done them for free.

So if you can, pick a buyer who you deeply care about helping, and then figure out what they need help with. And don’t worry if they are broke. There are simple ways around that.

Yours,

—J