“Begin with the end in mind.” I’m sure that concept is familiar to anyone who’s ever heard of Stephen Covey, and his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I first heard it more than 20 years ago at a management seminar, and it’s retains its significance to this moment. It’s ingrained in my marketing philosophy.
I thought it might be helpful to look at and review the three ways that Internet marketers today fail to adhere to that concept and as a result, lose their audience.
- Failure to collaborate with clients and prospects. Marketers often get ahead of themselves in building relationship…especially on the Internet. Before a sale can be made, the client or prospect must trust you. High pressure sales nearly always fail because the sales pitch is delivered before trust is built. So the first question your sales letter, e-mail, social media, or website communication must answer is “What have I done to gain trust?” Obviously, there is an underlying answer to that question first, and that is to always act with integrity. Always do what you say you will do. Deliver more than you have promised. Have testimonials that can be verified that confirm you have delivered for others in the past…or if you have a brand new product or service…make it clear how sincere you are about gaining their trust. You can do this with a money-back guarantee or a free trial period. Begin with the end in mind by promising your client or prospect complete satisfaction…guaranteed.
- Failure to communicate effectively how the product or service will solve a problem. This is an area where marketers can get so enthused about the features of what’s being sold, the benefits are either overlooked or forgotten. The end user, however, is much more interested in the benefits than the features. “What can it do for me…today…now?” Remember…the benefits are the ‘why’ the client or prospect should take action, and the features are the ‘how’ it works to ensure the problem is solved. Before calling, writing, or communicating with your prospects and clients, get feedback on whether your communication will do what you intend it to do…solve a problem. If the feedback you get tells you it’s more about features than benefits…rewrite or restate your communication until your desired end result is achieved. Your communication must highlight a problem your prospects want or need to solve…and effectively persuade them your solution is right.
- Failure to convince your clients or prospects. Your communication must indeed, effectively persuade your clients or prospects that your product or service…compared to every other product or service…is the only…or best…solution possible. They must know you truly feel their pain, have walked in their shoes, and have found or created the best way to resolve what is or could become a true disaster. Have you connected with your audience in a way that says “Yes, I truly understand how you want this to end…and I can help you…better than anyone else… achieve that outcome.”
What marketers, including Internet marketers do, each and every day, is to solve problems. Really, that’s what we are…problem solvers. When you “begin with the end in mind” that’s what you’re doing…solving a problem for a client or prospect…in the best possible way. Solving a problem in a way that makes winners out of everyone involved…including you.