What will make your market buy your product or service?
It’s an age-old question.
And one that too few businesses have a good answer to.
If you choose not to ask it early enough, you can wast a whole ton of cash.
I remember the local software business that spent well over two years building their product, before even answering this question.
I don’t know how much investor capital was sunk into that money pit, and the team of developers working on it.
But when they finally launched, there was nothing but the sound of crickets.
I know there was more good money sent after bad, to try to make something of it.
But then within another 12 months or so, they were gone.
And while you can certainly ask what buyers want AFTER you build a and the marketing to discover it doesn’t work…
What you’re about to learn also works BEFORE you build it.
And that’s important.
Because the earlier you start asking these important questions, the better.
This is Mailbox Monday — your weekly Breakthrough Marketing Secrets issue dedicated to answering YOUR questions.
Have a question about marketing, selling, copywriting, business-building or more? Click here to submit it — and have it answered in an upcoming issue.
Here’s today’s Mailbox Monday question…
I am trying to market a Church Management Software. I am having a hard time bringing the right message across to this market.
What do I need to do, to get to this targeted niche of people to purchase this product?
I am also working on a second business that needs to be marketed well. It’s Real Estate Training Courses online. I need to differentiate it from the rest of the training companies out there.
Any help you can provide would be awesome.
The magic question to find out what a market will buy…
Years ago, when I was starting in marketing and Perry Marshall was still pretty much just the Google AdWords guy, he had a handful of other teachers he worked with.
One was Glenn Livingston. Glenn was a psychologist turned market researcher.
Now, Glenn had some really high-paid market research gigs, running focus groups for big companies. But he also had a curiosity about internet marketing.
And he decided to crack the market research nut — in internet marketing — in a way that would allow him to launch successful products in multiple niches.
Eventually, if I remember the story right, he launched at least 17 separate tiny publishing projects, in different niches, with a 100% success rate.
And his 100% success rate came down to one question:
“What’s your single-biggest challenge about [XYZ]?”
There’s a ton of ways to ask the question. You can call them issues. You can call them challenges. Don’t call them problems though, because people don’t like to admit to having problems.
And don’t make it about your product. Make it about the general topic or very broad problem your product or service overcomes.
Also, don’t make this a selling conversation. Make this a conversation where you’re legitimately trying to figure out the challenge, in order to help them out in your best way possible.
We’ll get to HOW to ask this question in a moment, but this is the core lesson you must understand. Whether you’re selling Church Management Software, or Real Estate Training Courses, or… whatever!
What their answers will tell you…
When you ask this question to qualified members of your target market, they will tell you what issues they’re focused on.
These issues are…
— What they’re aware of. People don’t tend to care about solving problems that haven’t at least entered their awareness.
— What they still haven’t been able to overcome. This is important. If you’re in a market with a ton of options available to buyers, it’s likely you can see what core features any competitive product needs by looking at what the top 3 to 10 products offer. But you can’t see what those products are missing. If you ask buyers in your market what challenges they’re still having, their answers tell you what a better solution would also offer.
— What they want to overcome. If they’re aware of an issue, and their current product isn’t solving it, and they tell you about it… There’s a strong likelihood they actually care about overcoming the challenge. In which case they may be a willing buyer for a solution.
All of these answers will become even more valuable if you use the system I recommend you follow (which is an evolution of Glenn’s original approach).
How to differentiate your product in a crowded market…
Before I share the system to follow, I’ll share one important part of how to use what you learn.
If you add up all the challenges that prospects in your market share with you — at least the most prevalent ones — you have a pile of buying criteria.
If you take all the core features a product or service in your market must have…
And you make sure that your product or service meets these buying criteria that represent unsolved challenges…
You have a pretty dang comprehensive set of buying criteria.
Not only that, some of the challenges are likely to point toward buying criteria that may differentiating factors — that is, issues that are not being addressed by other competing products or services.
If you build these into your product…
Or if you feature the solutions that others are not featuring (sometimes it’s this simple)…
Or if you find some other way to solve these issues as a part of the purchase…
And if you feature these in your marketing as the primary buying criteria that favor your offering…
While also making sure prospects understand that yes, you also have all those core features covered…
You will have differentiated your offer in a meaningful way.
The system you MUST follow…
I’ve covered a lot of bases here. Especially when it comes to the core principles involved.
Knowing the right question to ask of prospects will help you get meaningful answers.
People will tell you what problems they still face. And because problems are the essence of a market, this also helps you find what people will buy.
But there is more to this.
You could interview prospects, and ask this question.
You could simply ask it blind in a survey.
Or, you could follow Ryan Levesque’s Ask Method. (That link goes to the book on Amazon.)
Ryan was Glenn Livingston’s star student. And took the method to another level entirely.
Buy his book for less than $20, and you’ll get the complete tactical-level implementation on how to build surveys to ask this question.
Not only the core question. But what else to ask. And what answers to other questions tell you about how to interpret the answer to that main question.
It’s not complicated. But the method goes deeper than what I can cover here. So I do recommend the book if you’re serious about understanding what your market — or any market — really wants.
A couple quick notes…
How to use this when you have a list…
If you have a buyer or prospect list, this is fast and easy. You can build a survey that will give you answers pretty quickly.
Simply create the survey and send an invite to your list. Ask for feedback to help you serve them better into the future.
But you probably don’t want to stop there.
How to use this for broader market intelligence…
Even if you have a list, you also want to know what cold prospects want and will respond to. Because that’s where you’ll be able to scale.
And so you can actually use Ryan’s Ask Method to gather this intelligence on cold traffic.
Including building out funnels that help you gather this information on an ongoing basis.
One last thing: if you’re still picking a market…
Although this goes beyond the question asked, it’s worth noting.
This entire process was developed to decrease the risk of going into new markets.
That’s how Glenn was able to create a 100% success rate across 17 markets.
And Ryan has recently released a new book titled Choose. Which covers how to apply this process to picking new markets. With additional advice beyond the core application of the Ask Method.
If you want to connect with your prospects, you first have to make sure you’re focused on their needs.
If you nail this step, everything else is much easier.
It’s too common in new companies — and it seems especially true among software companies, for whatever reason — that early offers are built to suit the entrepreneur’s own ideas, and not the core challenges their prospects want to overcome.
Ask the right questions, in the right ways, and you’ll figure out what problems or challenges your prospects face, that they still need a solution to.
Speak to that and you’ll grab the attention of your target audience.
Even better, solve these challenges in a way others in your market haven’t yet, and you’ll quickly differentiate yourself.
This will make your offer practically irresistible.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,