It’s Monday — that means it’s time to open up the mailbox and answer YOUR questions!

Know thy customer

When it all comes down to it, if you really know and understand your customers — what they think, feel, believe — and you’re selling something that appeals to that…

You will be successful in selling.

If you don’t know your customer, and don’t know what it is that they really want, you can’t match your product to that desire, and you will fail to sell them.

That’s what we’re talking about in this Mailbox Monday issue…

Remember, every Monday I dig in the ol’ Mailbox and answer YOUR questions.

To get my answer to YOUR question on getting more leads, customers, sales and profits for your or your client’s business…  Just send it to me by email at [email protected].

Now on to today’s question…

Hi Roy,

When you’re getting into new markets, what’s your process of doing research? What do you do to find people’s trigger points, the language they use, etc?

Currently getting involved with some ecommerce business and handling the email marketing. I’ve started to join relevant Facebook groups, looked up comments on Amazon, and looking for related info products on ClickBank.

Thank you!



P.S. Love your newsletter! After doing a ton of unsubscribes recently I told myself I wouldn’t be getting on new lists… but here I am 🙂

Thanks for reading!

I’ve heard over and over again…

“Roy, I try to unsubscribe from as many emails as possible, but I just can’t bring myself to unsubscribe from Breakthrough Marketing Secrets.  You just deliver too much value in every issue!”

“You deliver more value in your DAILY email than most marketers put in their monthly PAID newsletters — thank you!”

And on and on.

Totally flattering.  AND, I really hope you’re putting all this value to work. Helping you generate even a dollar in profit you wouldn’t have otherwise is many times more gratifying than all the praise in the world!

I know it’s possible.  The question is: Are YOU taking action to make it happen?

Sounds like Darryl is, so let’s dive in for his question.

What a girl (or guy) wants

The first thing I do that helps me understand any market at lightning speed is NOT to try to understand what’s unique about the market, but instead what’s universal.

That is, I want to know what the core appeal or desire that market is serving is.

Because if I know that deeper desire and am able to connect with that, any superficial details are made all the more powerful.

(But if I get the superficial things right and the core thing wrong, I’m regularly going to be missing the mark.)

So here’s what I’m looking at…

The Core Four Universal Appeals

Nearly every market and product links back to these four desires, appeals, and drives that we have as human beings.  The question is: What combination of them is important in any market and selling situation, and why?

Also, each of the four appeals has a dark side and a light side.  The dark side is the negative — what we want to avoid or move away from, what we fear.  The light side is the positive — what we want to move toward, what we desire.

The natural desire is to move from darkness into light.  The only question is where you’re starting.

Research has found that humans will work twice as hard to avoid a loss as they will to achieve the same size gain.  Marketers the world over have repeatedly found, through testing, that cures are easier to sell than prevention.

In other words, the deeper into the darkness the prospect starts, the easier it is to get them to take action to move toward the light.  That said, it pays to understand the full spectrum of each of the core four universal appeals.

— Health: The dark side of health is illness and pain.  The light side is wellbeing and prevention.

— Wealth: The dark side of wealth is financial insecurity.  The light side is luxury and financial freedom.

— Relationships: The dark side of relationships is disrespect and contempt.  The light side is love, respect, and intimacy.

— Experience: The dark side of experience is boredom and the mundane.  The light side is excitement and bragging rights.

Nearly any other way you can sift and sort and categorize any appeal, it is going to fit into these.

Take the classic John Caples list, from Tested Advertising Methods.

— Make more money

— Save more money

— Secure a better retirement — sooner rather than later

— Lose weight

— Conquer depression

— Secure health care

— Get promoted

— Outshine your competition (or neighbor)

— Grab fame and attention

— Enjoy life

— Reduce chores

— Gain more leisure

— Maximize comfort

— Get free from worry

— Nab a bargain

— Belong to the popular club

Every single one of these fits under one or more of the core four.  In some cases, one of the core four is a primary appeal.  And there can be secondary as well.

For example: let’s take someone who is a proud shopper.  The kind of person who will spend an afternoon scouring clearance racks to score amazing merchandise at insanely-low prices.

I’d argue that the core appeal to this person, in the shopping experience, is the experience itself.  Maybe their job and other parts of their life feel boring and mundane.  But the experience of hopping from store to store to store breaks them out of the boredom.  It becomes a grand quest.  And when they discover a deal, they get excitement.

But there are secondary appeals.  For example, let’s say they were clothes shopping.  The first time they wear that outfit out, and they get a compliment, they get to brag about what an awesome deal they got.  If they’re bragging to another bargain shopper, that gets them respect.  And of course, wealth is also a secondary appeal if you’re talking about bargains.  A penny saved is a penny earned, after all!

Another quick example: You might think an investment appeal is all about the greed.  But that’s very short-sighted.

The core appeal of any investment might be wealth-related.  But there’s a lot to consider.  Who is that person who is buying an investment-related product?  What is their financial background?  What mistakes have they made leading them to this point where they’re making an investment decision?  Are they making up for past mistakes?  Did they take a big loss by missing the last downturn in the market — or a star stock gone sour — that they want to recover?  And how much of that is about wealth?

A strong secondary appeal in a situation like that?  Maybe they’re afraid to talk about their portfolio — with their coworkers, their friends, their boss…  Even their spouse.  What are they afraid of?  Disrespect.  Contempt.  Ridicule.  “They laughed when I sat down at the piano…”  There’s an emotional wallop to that storyline that you don’t get in pure greed plays.  And it’s the undercurrent of many an individual investor’s relationship with the markets.  And then of course, if they get it right, they get the experience of winning, and bragging rights.

How to use this?  Again, zoom out in your market — any market.  Ask yourself: how does what I’m selling fit into the core four universal appeals?  And, within those, what is a primary appeal fulfilled by my product or service?  And what are the secondary appeals?  Which of these form core emotional and logical support for the sale?

If you do this right, almost any market and offer becomes transparent.  You can hop from market to market, industry to industry, business to business, and recognize instantly the selling appeals that will work to get prospects into your products and services.

But…  There can still be a disconnect when it comes to talking to your market in the language they resonate with…

Here’s a handful of ways to find niche-specific appeals…

— First and foremost, if you’re working for a client (or just got a swag new marketing job), you should interview the client.  Preferably, the founder.  The person who started the business to serve a core market need.  Why the founder?  Because they had to do the hard work in the beginning of connecting with the market and making the first sales.  They were only successful in getting their business off the ground because they understood their market on some level.

— Second, consider interviewing sales and/or customer service people who are on the front lines.  They work with customers on a daily basis.  They hear direct from customers what’s important to them.  Ask them what customers are asking about, and what they bring up when given room to talk.

— Third, interview the customers themselves.  Ryan Levesque’s Ask method is a great starting point.  You want to ask, “What’s your biggest challenge with XYZ?”  Or some variation on that question.  “What’s your single-most important question…”  Etc.  The idea isn’t to put words in their mouth.  Rather, to understand what they see as the problem or challenge or question that remains un-addressed.

— Fourth, do competitive research.  Who else is selling competing products and services to the market?  What are they selling?  What are their offers?  What marketing approaches are they using?  What are all of them doing, that probably represent best practices in the market?  What do they all seem to be missing that could be an opportunity gap that could be exploited?

— Fifth, do comparative research.  What comparable but non-competitive products are being sold to the same market?  What do you notice about their marketing?  How is the market being communicated with, across different product categories?

— Sixth, find the passionate core.  With the internet today, there are forums (not just talking about the software, more about “meeting place” in general) where the passionate core of nearly every market meets and geeks out.  Find those places.  Could be YouTube channels.  Could be actual forums.  Could be the Facebook groups mentioned.  Wherever.  Find them, and be a fly on the wall.  Participate where relevant, but without pushing an agenda.  The goal is to understand them, not to invade this sacred space.

— Seventh, read reviews.  Amazon is a great place for this, just because you can buy almost anything under the sun at Amazon.  You can look to reviews for what people like about competing or complimentary products to what it is you’re selling.  But even more valuable is what people complain about.  What gaps clearly exist in the products and services out there, that  you can fill for a better customer experience?

One more note about researching NEW markets

And that is, in general, I don’t like to do it.  One of the biggest, most important reasons to specialize in any market or niche category is so you can avoid starting over from scratch.

Cross-pollination and occasionally pursuing alternate categories can be intellectually stimulating and provide breakthroughs.  However, making it a practice of continually going into new markets always puts you at a disadvantage versus marketers and business people who go deep and really keep their finger on the pulse of a small and focused group of buyers.

By going deep on one or a small handful of markets, you can get to know them intimately.  You get to know which of the core motivators matter most to them, and the specific ways you can speak to that in order to appeal to them on the deepest level.  You can capture their intellectual and emotional interest by speaking in familiar language, about familiar topics.

You sound like an insider.  You get accepted automatically on these grounds.  Selling becomes easier.  And ultimately, you’ll also serve them better, because you know what they actually want and how to give it to them.

So: follow the above process, but do it as few times as possible!

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr