How to Become Known to Your Customers

by | Oct 18, 2021

Every small business struggles at some point to figure out how to become known to their customers. So, let me reassure you — you are not the only one.

Often, we look at major brands absolutely killing it on TV, social, and everywhere else and think we’re lagging behind. We too often compare our progress to businesses WAY ahead of us in totally different universes.

As a small business, you need to plant your flag and become known to an audience that wants what you provide. For some of you, that might be nationally, but for most, that means locally in your own community. A handful of miles from your location.

So how do you become known to your ideal customers? You make it crystal clear what problem you solve for your customers.

 

Your Customer Categorizes You by the Problem You Solve

In the book, “Building a StoryBrand,” Donald Miller makes it clear that customers don’t categorize businesses in their brain alphabetically by name like an old Rolodex (or your contacts app on your phone). Your customers categorize your business by what problem you solve in their life. So instead of your customer categorizing your business as

  • Johnson Law Firm
  • Peterson Public Accounting
  • Miller Plumbing

Your customer actually categorizes you as

  • Gets me money for my medical bills
  • Does my taxes so I don’t have to
  • Unclogs my toilets

You can see how the problem you solve is built into how your customer categorizes you in the Rolodex of their brain. So, you need to make sure your customer knows what problem you solve.

 

Become Known for Solving a Problem

So, how do you become known for the problem you solve for your customers? First, you have to clearly identify what the problem you solve might be.

Many businesses get this wrong. If you get it wrong, your marketing will be targeted at a problem you don’t actually solve. This might still get you a lot of leads, but they will be worthless. People will call, realize you don’t do what they thought you do and will go hire someone else.

You need to zero in on the problem you actually solve and build a megaphone to scream it from the mountaintops.

So, let’s identify the problem you solve and the three ways it manifests itself in your customers.

 

1. Define the Problem

In a recent post, we talked about defining what your customer really wants as it relates to your business. The problem is the thing that is preventing them from getting what they want.

So, think about your customers and what they want from you. Then, look at what is preventing them from getting what they want. Think about this as an almost physical barrier for your customers. What road block or brick wall are they running into when trying to get what they want. Here are a few examples.

Criminal Defense Attorney

  • Customer Want: Freedom
  • Problem: Charged with a crime

Accountant

  • Customer Want: The biggest tax return possible
  • Problem: Taxes are complicated, confusing and the consequences for getting them wrong are high.

Dentist

  • Customer Want: A Beautiful Smile
  • Problem: Teeth are crooked and discolored

You can see how simple this can be when you identify what your customer really wants as it relates to your business. Each of these samples has a clear problem the customer is experiencing.

 

2. Define How The Problem Makes Them Feel

In addition to the obvious thing that is preventing your customers from getting what they want, they have feelings about their problem as well. You need to describe how your customers feels about their problem.

When you take the problem a step deeper and describe how your customer feels about their problem, they start to think you understand them. It’s like you’ve been reading their mail.

So, how do they feel about their problem? Let’s use the same examples.

Criminal Defense Attorney

  • Customer Want: Freedom
  • Problem: Charged with a crime
  • Feeling: Afraid (what happens if I get arrested?)

Accountant

  • Customer Want: The biggest tax return
  • Problem: Taxes are complicated and confusing
  • Feeling: Overwhelmed (taxes are overwhelming and if I do them wrong the IRS will come after me)

Dentist

  • Customer Want: A Beautiful Smile
  • Problem: Teeth are crooked and discolored
  • Feeling: Ashamed (my teeth are ugly and I’m ashamed to smile)

It’s easy to define the problem for your customers. That lets them know you solve the problem they are experiencing. What sets you apart from your competition is understanding that all problems create internal feelings. When you talk about how your customer feels, they begin to trust you and a relationship is established before you ever even speak with them.

 

3. State Why it is Wrong They Have to Experience Their Problem

To become known for the problem you solve for your clients or customers, you can take it one step further. In addition to simply defining the problem and how a customer feels about it, the way you really get in your customers brain is by stating why it is just plain wrong they have to deal with the problem.

This often presents itself in “Should” or “Shouldn’t” statements. Let’s take a look at this in context of our previous examples.

Criminal Defense Attorney

  • Customer Want: Freedom
  • Problem: Charged with a crime
  • Feeling: Afraid (what happens if I get arrested?)
  • Statement: You shouldn’t have to face the fear of criminal charges alone

Accountant

  • Customer Want: The biggest tax return
  • Problem: Taxes are complicated and confusing
  • Feeling: Overwhelmed (taxes are overwhelming and if I do them wrong the IRS will come after me)
  • Statement: Getting every penny possible in your tax return should be simple.

Dentist

  • Customer Want: A Beautiful Smile
  • Problem: Teeth are crooked and discolored
  • Feeling: Ashamed (my teeth are ugly and I’m ashamed to smile)
  • Statement: You deserve a smile you can be proud of!

After your customer sees that you help with their problem and understand how it makes them feel, this hits them philosophically by making them pound their fist on the table and say, “You’re right! I do deserve a smile I can be proud of!” This statement lights a fire in their belly to overcome their problem and therefore, hire you to help them do it.

Now that you have defined the problem, how it makes them feel, and stated why it’s just plain wrong they have to feel that way, what do you do?

 

Keep Talking About The Problem

Everywhere you use words to communicate with your potential customers or clients, talk about their problem.

  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Speeches
  • Commercials
  • Print ads
  • Interviews
  • Phone Conversations
  • Everywhere

Every time you use words to talk about what you do as a business it is an opportunity to let your customer know, “I understand your problem, how it makes you feel, and you shouldn’t have to deal with it. We can help!”

If you consistently and frequently talk about the problem you solve for your customers, they will begin to categorize you in their brain under that problem. Some of them will need you now. The rest will forget about you for a while, but when they experience the problem you solve, they will immediately think of your business and contact you.

Keep talking about your customers’ problem and you will become known to your customers for solving that problem.

Of course, let us know if we can help you navigate defining your customers’ problem and how to talk about it. Our Brand Messaging Sessions will do this and much more for your business.

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