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Searching for Solutions

Educators and advocates share information that solves problems. When customers are searching online, they aren't looking for brands or brand names. They are searching for solutions. By providing informational content that offers solutions, your prospects and customers should begin to trust you and respect your knowledge and expertise. This is how you will begin building your credibility and authority and they will want to share this with all their friends and family members.

How do you become an educator and advocate? First, as I have mentioned already, start by understanding what your customers are thinking when they first find you online or in a direct marketing piece. Some examples of direct marketing pieces include: postcards, fliers, and magazine or newspaper ads. Whether it's online or by direct marketing, once a customer first finds you they generally have four questions they deeply want addressed before they make the decision to do business with you or not. Questions include:

  • Does this person understand my problem?
  • Are they qualified to solve my problem?
  • Is my situation unique and/or will this work for me?
  • What is my risk to find out more?

This is where engagement becomes crucial. It's not enough just to have great content, it really only qualifies as great content if you get them to engage and take action. I love this quote by international speaker and social media expert, Mari Smith: "Content maybe king, but engagement is queen and she rules the house!" Now Mari was referring to how valuable engagement is to social media when she said this, but I say this applies to any type of marketing you create. If you aren't engaging with your prospects and customers with any piece of marketing, you will not get the results you want. On social media, that is referring to people liking, sharing, re-tweeting, commenting, re-pinning, responding or subscribing to your content. This isn't just about engagement on social media, you also want them to respond to your email, call or visit your clinic from the ad from the direct marketing piece. To create the most likely possibility of engagement, be sure you are providing information that answers the questions we mentioned before.

How do you show you understand their problem? You demonstrate you understand their problem by sharing information and providing answers to the most common problems that they and others like them have had. You can also demonstrate a willingness to understand their problem by asking questions about their problems. Because you are making time to have a conversation instead of just regurgitating information customers start to see you in a different light.

How do you show you are qualified to solve their problem and demonstrate that their issue is not necessarily unique? Provide social proof (case studies or testimonials of other customers) that your solution has worked for other others who shared the same problem. If you are just starting out and don't have any social proof you can barrow credibility of other. What I mean by this is, you can share the success others have received by using the same techniques or sharing research or results that produced solutions your clients are wanting. Everyone's opinion of success is different and not everyone achieves results at the same rate. We both know some will progress faster than others, you aren't guaranteeing them success; you are simply providing solutions that have worked for many others who share the same symptoms with similar results. These pieces of information build your credibility and authority in their eyes.

The last question is about risk. Customers and prospects are continuously evaluating risk when they are making a purchasing decision. The "what do I have to lose?" Or "what's in it for me?" are common thoughts when evaluating you. "What is my risk to find out more information?" That could mean the customer exchanges their contact information and time for a free report, reading a newsletter, setting up a 30 minute conversation or consultation, watching a "how to" video, or subscribing to a membership site to find out more. You help them move towards that bigger future. You do whatever is necessary with authenticity to get them the information they are seeking. As you provide this valuable information that helps them to understand that you understand and relate to their problems, you've just rocketed miles ahead of your competition. You have built more credibility and authority because you took time to have a conversation about them.

Your customers and prospects feel you understand their problems, you certainly sound qualified and they feel like their situations perhaps aren't unique. In most cases customers begin to have, "I've got nothing to lose to find out more" attitude because they see you as a person who is invested and engaged in their problems. They position you has an expert and someone who can be trusted to provide them with solutions that will most likely work for them. They feel they know you and you have built a huge amount of credibility and authority with them that they now feel comfortable referring others to you. This earns you the right to be able to ask for their business and sometimes you don't even get the chance to ask, they ask you. Building credibility and authority is a process, just like learning was a process, once you understand how it works you can start to implement the steps to achieve your success.

Stephanie Beck is the owner of SRB Solutions, an online and social media marketing business. Contact her with questions, comments, and for more information at .

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