Why Listening to Your Customer is Not Enough

In a private consultation I had last week, I was talking with a very smart woman who happened to be new at online marketing.

We were going over her autoresponder series – a week-long series of lessons on selling real estate in this down economy – and we were talking about the words she was using in her text.

What I liked about what she had written was that the language was casual and “real” sounding, rather than the artificial, overly formal “corporate” style that most people end up writing their first time around.

In other words, she’d write things like “Do you remember back in the ‘good old days’ of real estate — just a couple of years ago — when all you had to do was list a home, and you’d get 5 offers to buy it? Well here’s how to go back in time as soon as tomorrow.”

That’s refreshing to read, and much better than

“Circa 2007, the real estate market was growing at a momentous clip, and offers followed rapidly behind the posting of a home on the multiple listing services. Since that time, the industry has entered into a precipitous decline, as housing inventory nationwide has ballooned, while the number of buyers has plummeted. What follows is a solution to that problem.”

See what I mean?

One draws you in, and quickly absorbs you into a real conversation. You forget you’re reading and instead enter into some sort of a trance as you follow the story and become involved. (Yes, even in just two lines of text!)

The other just puts you off, makes you conscious that you’re reading something, spending your time, and prevents you from any emotional connection at all with the text.

I suppose that the more formal kind of text might work if you were writing technical papers or clinical studies for an industry publication, but it just doesn’t work when you are writing your website, your blog posts, your product literature, your autoresponders or your advertisements.

And just about everything you do for your online business is “writing” on some level or another.

So how do you know what to write, or how to write it?

Well, that all comes back to this month’s topic in the Coaching Club — Knowing Your Customer.

Here are some things to think about, with regards to your target prospect, when writing for your business.

* Are your prospects expert or novice with this topic?
* Are they trying to prevent a problem or are they trying to solve a problem?
* Are they at the beginning of their search or near the end?
* Are they just researching or ready to buy?
* What are their beliefs about the topic?

How do you know ANY of these things?

Well, you’d know them automatically, once you knew who your customer was. For example, let’s talk about my client’s target market: real estate agents, looking for buyers.

* Are they experts with real estate? Yes. But they care more about selling a house today in their neighborhood, rather than about real estate statistics nationwide.

* Are they trying to prevent or solve a problem? Clearly, they want to solve the problem of “houses are hard to sell these days.” What they want is to find more people to sell houses to — since there are plenty of houses available to sell at the moment.

* Are they at the beginning of their search or at the end? They’ve probably been looking for a solution to this problem for a year or two. Chances are, they are disillusioned and depressed because nothing they’ve done recently — lawn signs, networking, open houses, newspaper ads — is working any more. What they want is something new, that will work TODAY.

* Are they just researching or ready to buy? I bet that once someone hears what this client is offering, they’d instantly understand why it works, and would sign up in an instant.

* What are her target’s beliefs about the topic? Well, they probably think that real estate used to be easy to sell, because it really was true that all they had to do was put a house up for sale and they’d get a half dozen offers that day, or soon after. It was THAT easy. And they all wish it were easy like that again.

This last point is truly critical, and a point not made often enough.

It’s very hard to change someone’s beliefs. Changing your beliefs means that you’ve got to admit that you were wrong about your belief in the past — and no one likes to admit they were wrong.

So if you can write your advertisements and marketing materials to agree with your customer’s core beliefs, you are more likely to get him to agree with the rest of what you are saying.

That’s why telling a story about the good old days — a time that ALL real estate agents wish they could go back to — is so powerful. Because it taps into the deepest, most basic desires of her customers.

You should do the same.

So how did my client know what her own target prospect believes?

She got to know her prospect.

You should do the same.

If you haven’t yet read “Prospect Xray”, go download your copy now. It’s in the Coaching Club, waiting for you.

If you’re not yet a member of the club, then join the coaching club now. You’ll get this month’s content, plus dozens of other valuable marketing downloads, ebooks, webinars and other information.

To Your Success,

–Mark Widawer

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