Once you have your foot in the door and you’ve addressed the First Great Objection (I don’t have time to talk to salespeople), you’ve got no more than a few seconds to prove you’re worthy of keeping that attention.
You’re coming up to the Second Great Objection, which is Why am I spending time listening to you?, also known as Who cares?
Or, in Presentation Zen ubergenius Garr Reynold’s nicer way of putting it, Dakara Nani? (It still means who cares, but it sounds more polite in Japanese.)
The Depressing Truth
You’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into building something great. You handcrafted it from sustainably gathered bald eagle feathers, baby tears and triple-distilled titanium. You spent every spare hour working to make it the most perfect product the world has ever seen.
And no one cares.
Potential customers are looking to answer a couple of key, self-oriented questions right away. If you don’t get to the point, they tune you out. Yes, you bought some time with your wonderfully tasty chips and salsa, but that time is not unlimited. You need to get in there and make yourself relevant.
Your prospects and readers need to be saying at least one of the following things as soon as they see your stuff. Otherwise, they’ll just drift away into the sea of ADD we’re all floating around in.
I’m in the Right Place
One of the biggest challenges of Web design is making sure that a new customer immediately grasps that she’s in the right place.
You offer what she’s looking for. You solve problems she has. Your customers look like her. And all of this is instantly communicated by your graphics. Which probably means your site looks more like Google and less like MSN, because only robots can assimilate that much information at a glance and glean anything useful from it.
A very useful little eBook I found on this topic was Ben Hunt’s charmingly snarky and highly readable Save the Pixel . It won’t turn you into a graphic designer, but it will give you the concepts and understanding you need to talk with one intelligently, or at least tweak your WordPress theme so it works better for your readers.
This Is for People Like Me
Remember when we talked about understanding who your ideal customer is? Pitch to everyone and you’ll sell to no one.
When you distill your message to focus on the people you can help the most, you start to pop out from the background of clutter. For example, when I see an ad (for anything) featuring a model who looks like Paris Hilton, it immediately becomes wallpaper to me.
My conscious mind doesn’t have to do any work, because my unconscious has already thrown that ad into the bucket marked irrelevant.
On the other hand, when I see an ad with a mom and a toddler (even more so if the mom isn’t 22), my attention gets drawn. Hm, this looks like it’s for people like me. And I investigate further.
Out of the 6 billion people on earth, figure out the handful you can do the most good for, that you can reach readily, and who have the money to buy what you sell.
Figure out where those folks hang out when they’re thinking about the kind of thing you do. Then let them know with complete clarity that what you have is for people like them.
Hey, That Would Fix My Problem!
Without pain, there is no marketing.
If we were all perfectly evolved beings who rose effortlessly above suffering and desire, there would be no such thing as advertising or marketing. There would only be Making Useful Things and Making Pretty Things. We would all trade them around as we needed them, and gradually dissolve into the effortless bliss of nirvana.
I don’t see that happening any time soon.
People have pain. They have insecurities. They have fears, both reasonable and unreasonable. They want what they don’t have. They want what they can never have. They long for certainty and stability, even though the very nature of the universe is change. They feel dumb and they want to feel smart. They feel fat and they want to feel skinny.
Selling to Problems, Selling to Desire
There are real problems (my back is killing me, my job is killing me, my kids are killing me) and then there are the problems we manufacture because we want something (not having an iPhone is killing me, not going to Paris is killing me, not having that triple bacon cheeseburger is killing me).
Desire can be a stronger force than need. When the death camps were liberated at the end of World War II, rescued women prisoners craved lipstick even more than they craved food or safety. The thing they wanted most was to feel human again. Was that a need or a desire?
You could make the case that desire is what makes us people and not just really clever monkeys. Desire is a longing for something greater than need. Desire is a quest for something that may not even exist yet. Art and music and beauty and truth are about desire.
So don’t be ashamed to market to desire. Desire is the source of a lot of human wonderfulness.
Making Your Promise
At the end of the day, getting past Who cares? is about delivering a promise to solve a problem or fulfill a desire.
Most of us know about benefits, not features. (If you don’t, make learning about it a priority for yourself. It’s one of those keys to all marketing and sales success kinds of things.)
But those benefits have to solve an actual problem or fulfill a true desire. Otherwise, they’re what Clayton Makepeace calls fake benefits. They don’t scratch an itch anyone actually has.
Always remember that demographics, markets and targets don’t buy. People with problems and desires buy. Think about people, make solutions for people, talk to people, and make your promise to people.
Be relentless with yourself. Who cares? So what? What’s the point? Keep asking yourself these questions when you’re putting your communication together. Be tougher on yourself than any reader ever will be.
Who cares? They will.
The Objection Blaster Series
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