Solution-first thinking vs problem-first thinking

Sent by Jonathan Stark on May 27th, 2019

Having more sales conversations is a great way to get better clients, deliver more value, and ultimately increase your profits.

But how do you have more sales conversations?

One good way is by being so specific in your marketing that your ideal buyers will think “This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!” when they encounter you for the first time.

Getting specific in your marketing starts with getting super clear with yourself about how you want to position your business. Once you have your internal “positioning mantra” down, you’ll find that conversations start happening almost as if by magic.

In my experience working with hundreds and hundreds of people on their positioning, one of the hardest mind shifts to make is from “solution-first thinking” to “problem-first thinking”.

If you’re like most people I speak with, you probably focus on the skill sets that you bring to the table, rather than on the pains that you alleviate for your clients.

For example, here’s a “solution-first” example of a positioning statement for a React developer who would like to work with clients in the yoga space:

“I build React apps for yoga studios”

And now here’s a “problem-first” example for the same React developer:

“I help yoga studios increase customer retention”

I think it’s fair to say that in a room full of yoga studio owners, a higher percentage would know whether or not they had a customer retention problem than whether or not they need a React app. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that less than 1% would even know what a React app was.

Connect the dots for your ideal buyers. Don’t depend on them to intuit that your skill set (e.g., building React apps) could solve their business problem (e.g., increasing their custom retention).

Do them the courtesy of connecting the dots for them. They’ll reward you for it.

Yours,

—J