Making a Pitch or Solving Problems?

Which makes more sense to you:  Preparing a pitch to enlighten your customer on what you have to offer or listening to what the customer problem is, so that you can then tell them how your product can help them?

Really, this is a trick question.  Most of us will immediately know that if you can address the client’s problem right out of the box that you have a better chance of capturing their attention and, consequently, their business.  Listening to what is going on for them is critical to any potential business deal.  Does that mean that you do not have to spend time putting together a sales pitch?

Preparing a pitch can certainly be useful.  You get to make sure that you include all of the great points about you and your product.  You also may inform the potential client about a solution that you have for a problem that they did not tell you about, or that their brother might have.  If you have first listened to their problem, you are then able to tailor your pitch to accentuate their needs.

The key is make sure that you are paying attention to them during your pitch.  You want to make sure you are not boring them to tears and they are listening.  Your pitch is merely a guide for you.  Preparing it helps you to know your material and your points.  During your pitch, you want to make sure you are interactive, you specifically relate your product to solving their problem, and they are aware that you know something about them.  Keep the pitch flexible, but have it as a good foundation.

How about you?  Any experience with this?  Have you gone in to a meeting without preparing a pitch and been successful?  Let us know.

Your Ideal Customer – Another View

When asked to define their ideal customer, most people start by describing how often they buy, how much money they spend, how easy they are to get along with, whether they refer, etc.  This is all well and good, but when trying to decide how to market to new customers I suggest a different train of thought.

Thanks to Kaya Singer (, I now look at the emotional need that is being met in my favorite customer.  No matter what your product or service, if the recipient of it gets an emotional need met, they will be back for more, refer to others, find value in it and be willing to pay.  So what are these emotional needs?

Feeling Joy - Emotion

Feeling Love and Comfort

Emotional needs come in all varieties. When someone buys a fancy sports car they are not just getting a few tons of metal and leather seats, but the ability to be in control, to look better than others on the road, an opportunity to show off their wealth, maybe to feel sexy.  When someone goes to one doctor over another, it may be because they want to know that someone cares about them.  Women may choose a workout place based on feeling accepted just the way they are, or feeling that they now have support in their weight loss journey.

Once you have taken the time to define the emotional need behind the product purchase, then you can direct your marketing statements to that need.  So instead of saying “We are the best medical practice in the city. Our doctors went to the best universities, etc.” you would say, “ Our patients know that we care about them.  We always know your name and actually read the forms that you fill out ahead of time.”  Well, that is a bit on the crude side and needs some sprucing up, but I hope you get the picture.  It is about letting the potential customer know that at least there is hope that their need will be met.  It is not about YOU and how great you are.

Take a look at your marketing content and see if you are directing it at the needs of the customer.  Is it directed at their physical and obvious needs, or does it address that emotional part of them that they may not even be aware of?

Niche Marketing – Why narrow your focus?

When you decided to open your small business you knew that you had a product or service that everyone would benefit from.  Then you opened up shop and found out that indeed, not everyone was taking advantage of what you had to offer.  At this point you either make yourself crazy trying to get the message out to everyone so that they can understand what they are missing, or you start to realize that it is time to focus on those customers best suited to your offering.

Trying to market to everyone leads to confusion, frustration, and poor return on your marketing dollars. Clearly defining your best customer, their attributes, and how they are reached defines your niche.

For many small business owners the concept of a niche market sends them into a panic.  They think of the several customers that they have that fall outside of the definition of the ‘ideal’ customer and they don’t want to leave them out.  Marketing to a niche does not mean that you are excluding others from becoming customers.  It merely means that you are targeting your marketing efforts toward the needs and wants of the ideal customer.

Niche marketing will help you to attract more of the kinds of customers that you can successfully help and who are willing to pay for your product.  This will help to strengthen the reputation of your business as well as improve your financial status.  It also helps you, the business owner, to simplify your marketing and product offering decisions.

Focusing on meeting the needs of your ideal customer will simplify the running of your business.  It will attract more of the people that you serve best without excluding others that will also want to take advantage of your offering.

In future posts I will give you tips on how to define your ideal customer.  Meanwhile, take some time to think specifically about which of your customers are the ones you wish you had  thousands of.