Where to start helping your customers understand what you do

By Naomi Gora

Gosh, can I just start by saying I really don’t like the words ‘customers’ or clients’? Possibly this is because the people I work with usually end up feeling just feel like mates who happen to pay me. Maybe that’s not a sensible big/growth business idea, I don’t know, but I like it that way.

Saying that, I don’t really have an appropriate word to replace ‘customers’ or clients’ without sounding whoopidy-woo-woo. Revenue eliciting tadpoles? Friends with commercial benefits? As much as my whole business premises relies on finding unique things, I’ll somewhat begrudgingly stick with tradition for this one… for now at least.

This week I’ve been focusing on refining the packages I offer to my customers/clients.

Over Christmas I read a book called Make Art, Make Money. It’s the story of how Muppet creator, Jim Henson made his art into a business (and then made eleventy million dollars)… but so many of the principles can be used for any business proposition, not just artistic ones.

The one quote from that book about selling that’s been stuck in my mind ever since is ‘You’ve got to give people a handle’. It’s sort of along the lines of the marketing principle of features versus benefits of goods and services but with a whole muppet-like storytelling twist that my brain likes more than boring old text books.

As business owners and experts in our fields we can forget how much we know because it seems like second nature to us.

But our customers need us because they DON’T have that knowledge and experience.

What we do isn’t always obvious to them like it’s obvious to us.

We have to give them a handle to experience the utter rawness of our awesomeness.

Lol. Ok, I may be going a little over the top there, but the products and services we offer are so often communicated in terms of what we know our customers need. Because it’s our job to know what they need. But they may not be there yet. They may only know they have a problem… they have no money, they’re worried about their children’s future, they have to make this business work in six months or damn it they have to take another corporate job that will destroy their soul… Again, I may be exaggerating… or you know what, maybe I’m not, anyway… Instead of communicating what they need (which they may not even be aware of yet!), if we communicate in terms of they problem they need solved and do so at a time where the price of not having that problem solved outweighs the cost of our product or service, it’s like giving them a handle to work with us…

The tangible features of our product or service are like a big old bubbling, brewing pot full of everything we do.

The intangible stuff, the promise, the solution in emotional, story-like terms that reflects our customer’s life view back to them…. That’s the handle. That’s what makes our customers say ‘Yes, I need to have that!’ instead of ‘Why the flick are you handing me a pot of stuff that’s sort of scary and I don’t quite understand what’s in it and it might burn me if I touch it?’.

Steve Jobs didn’t give us video calls (the pot), he let us see our loved ones when they’re a thousand miles away (the handle).
My friend, Clarissa The Happy Family Lawyer, doesn’t give us legal services (the pot), she helps us believe that life can be happy again after divorce (the handle).
One of my mentors, Leonie Dawson, doesn’t give us goal setting books (the pot), she lets us believe that you don’t have to fit the norm to be a raving success (the handle).

You get it…

So let’s look at the Brand Whisperers Business Launch package as an example. Where’s the handle?

In my bubbling pot of features I offer Brand Strategies, Brand Books, logos, websites, online stores, packaging, storytelling and book/publication production.

What are my handles?

• A brand framework makes business decision making easier. When you start a small business you start juggling a thousand balls at once. You’re often the head honcho as well as the coffee getterer (and yes, I’m proclaiming that ‘getterer’ is a word today). A brand framework gives you parameters of what your business stands for and what it won’t stand for. It’s your True North, your clarity. If you can’t make a decision, whip out your brand framework and see which potential outcome most aligns with it. I have mine pinned to my wall. With an estimated 50% of small businesses failing in their first two years, being able to make decisions fast is essential. So, the handle? I help people make better decisions about their business so they can grow past that failure rate.

• A strong brand means you look more professional and trustworthy. So, the handle? I help people charge higher prices and have a better quality customer.

• A unique brands means you’ll be remembered by potential customers quicker. So, the handle? In a world where potential customers need to connect with you, on average, seven to fourteen times before they’ll purchase from you, I help people stand out from the crowd so potential clients purchase from them sooner.

• Having a business/brand that matches your personality type and values means you’ll attract the right customers. So, the handle? I help people build businesses that charge higher prices, have higher conversion rates and more personal satisfaction.

• A website or a book gives you credibility. So, the handle? I help people feel like unique experts in their field.

Ok, so that’s a good start on handles. Let me know how you go finding yours.

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