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Should You Talk About Your Customer’s Problem?

Woman with hands in front of her face, afraid.

“Once we understand our customers’ problems, we’ll have a better idea how to talk to them in such a way that they engage.” Donald Miller, StoryBrand


This lady was adamant. “You never want to be negative in your marketing. You want to keep everything positive.”

I was giving a talk to a group of women entrepreneurs on creating an effective marketing message, and this woman was miffed.

I don’t know where this idea came from that everything in your marketing must remain positive, but it’s costing small businesses a lot of money.

Here’s why.

The brain is not wired to start a conversation with a solution. It can’t relate. The brain thinks in problem/solution, problem/solution.

Have you ever heard that saying, misery loves company?

Well, there’s some truth to that when applied to selling to the public. But that certainly doesn’t mean you have a pity party with your prospect.

How to Bond with Your Prospect and Ease Them Toward the Buy Now Button

Humans are made for connection. It’s how we build trust and bond. So why not use the way the brain works to connect with your target audience?

That means we show our prospect that we understand deeply the problem she wants solved. Why is that such a bad thing?

To prove my point, take a look at this copy I found on an alternative medicine website. This woman works with people who have chronic illnesses that have not been alleviated with conventional medicine.

She knows her audience well. This practitioner uses words her patients have no doubt said to her to show her audience she understands what they are going through.

graphic of a customer with a a problem

And in the weight loss industry, this woman calls out her audience with every failed thought and strategy people have used to lose weight.

But notice what she did at the end. She teased a solution.

graphic of a business owner offering a solution to a customer's problem

Both examples speak plainly and clearly. Both talk about the “negative.” Both connect deeply to their respective target audiences.

Why? They talked about the prospect’s problem.

As Donald Miller of StoryBrand says, “When you stop talking about people’s problems, they stop listening to your brand.”

It’s true.

If you want to build trust, credibility, and sales, talk about the very reason people came to your site in the first place—to solve a problem!

The Magic of Turning a Customer's Problem into Selling Points

Instead of being morose about the problem facing their target audiences, both of these small businesses did something extraordinary. They turned pain points into selling points.

And that’s what sets their businesses apart. Addressing pain points speaks volumes about their expertise and their ability to help.

And they haven’t even talked about their credentials yet!

Good Marketing is Not About You. It’s About THEM

Keep the focus OFF of you. It’s not about how long you’ve been in business or that you’re family or veteran-owned.

There’s a place for that information but it is not on your home page.

Keep the focus ON what your business does for your target audience. It’s all about what you do for them! This is not only a cost-effective approach to marketing, but you’ll get better clients, too.

Address Possible Objections to Doing Business with You

When people come to your site, they are really looking for a reason to mark you off their list. That’s why addressing the problem they face is crucial.

But there’s also one more resistance to overcome—reasons why they think they can’t do business with you.

Address them upfront! Is it money? Time? Whatever it is, talk about it and then show them how their investment is just a drop in the bucket compared to the value you bring them.

Then back up that statement with facts and testimonials about your product or service that proves its value.

Show Them What Life Will Look Like

Once you’ve shown your prospect that you understand them and you’ve overcome their objections, now show them what life will look like if they work with you.

Back to our weight loss site. This lady tells her audience about her unique approach to losing weight. (A 5-step process that works with the brain.) And she speaks to what life will look like if they work with her. (They will lose weight and keep it off.) Plus, she’s got a great call to action. It speaks directly to the desire her audience seeks.

And it’s not a lot of copy either. It’s succinct and to the point. Very nice!

graphic of a business owner showing how to solve a customer's problem

Lastly, here’s one from an entertainment academy. (Yes, there is such a thing!) The academy shows entertainment/hospitality businesses what life will look like if they take their courses.

They remind them of the problem they face and then show them how much better their business will be if they work with the academy.

graphic of a business owner stating how to overcome the customer's problem.

Problem/solution. Engage and sell. So, you tell me. Is being negative a really bad thing? Or is it the path to building connection, trust, and sales? Need some direction to create a message that connects and sells? Take advantage of my complimentary 30-minute marketing strategy session. I guarantee you’ll learn 3 practical ways you can ramp up your marketing message and implement on your own.


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