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I received a question recently:
My biggest challenge in writing about my work is how to truthfully articulate what the benefits are.
I don’t want to say the same thing that I see other people in my industry say – they all sound the same. But I also know that it’s got to be clear and something that people want. Any advice?
For many business owners, this is the crux.
You know you need to write about benefits and results.
But the trouble is, you look around the internet, and see people promising the same thing.
Maybe it strikes you as superficial. Maybe you are worried that you will sound like everyone else. So you feel like you are caught between a rock and a hard place.
On the one hand, you need to write in a way that MOVES people to take action (which is what writing about benefits and results does).
But on the other hand, you want it to be different.
So, a couple suggestions for those of you who feel the pinch on this:
Step 1: Figure out what your main benefit is. Here, it’s helpful to distinguish between a “nice” problem, and an urgent one. People pay to solve urgent problems, not nice ones. (You know you have picked a nice problem when you tell people what you do, and they say, “oh, that’s nice.” But they don’t buy).
Step 2: Don’t worry about making this benefit “original” – this is where people get hung up. Main benefits are straightforward – find a soul mate, get a promotion, make more money, have enough money to live well now and pay for the kids to go to college.
Do not get fancy here.
For many of us, this feels counterintuitive – we want to say something new. But resist the temptation and focus on being clear. Make sure you have a result that you are 100% certain people will pay to be, do, or have before you move on to step 3.
Step 3: Run the “Does this come out of their mouth?” Test – Check your assumption about what your audience and potential clients want. There’s an old marketing saying that says “don’t sell them the shovel; sell them the hole.” This is about making sure that you look at your message through the eyes of your ideal clients. If you don’t hear other people saying they want your #1 benefit, go back to Step 1.
Step 4: Brainstorm 3 things that make you great at what you do. Here, most business owners revert back to schooling, training, and credentials. I only recommend that if you are working with people’s minds or their money (e.g. financial planners and therapists, please tell your audience about your training).
The rest of us need to think in terms of stories, not facts. (Please, please, please don’t send me emails saying I told you not to write about facts.) Remember the old line: Facts tell, stories sell. Think of 3 things in your LIVED EXPERIENCE that influences what you do with your clients today. Hint – one of them is often something you are ashamed of, or try to hide from your clients.
I’ve had financial planners tell me that what sets them apart is that they were doctorate level chemists.
I’ve had health coaches tell me that what sets them apart is that they eat at McDonalds every now and again. (And LIKE it).
I like to tell people that I’ve never worked in advertising – I learned my craft by understanding how to connect with people as a high school teacher, world traveler, and playwright.
This are your distinctions. Things that set you apart from the other people in your industry. I recommend having 3 of them, ready to go. But of course, you have more. Three just helps keep your message consistent across platforms.
And I will say this: I’m seeing too many of you put WAY too much pressure on yourself to invent a new outcome, result, main benefit or promise – and it’s got you all twisted up in your underwear. If this is you, I say:
First of all, accept that everything under the sun has already been done.
People love buying results. So, offer clear and compelling results.
And second, what makes you different isn’t your training, credentials, or the letters behind your name. It’s YOU. Your voice, your point of view, the way YOU talk with people who are clients or friends or people you run into at the grocery store.
The originality – and the human touch – comes from the way you EXPRESS the problem your audience is having… (you know, the one YOU help them solve).
Can you see the difference?
We’d love to hear from YOU…
What clear benefit do you offer your clients? What makes YOU stand out in your industry? Leave your answer in the comments below!