Don’t you love that feeling when you manage to fix something with only the things you have to hand?
Whether you’ve held something in place with a cable tie, or fashioned a spoon out of a yoghurt lid, doesn’t it just make you feel so… independent? Like you could survive on your own, without any help from anyone?
I may be exaggerating the power of that feeling, but I believe most people harbour a little of that MacGyver-like, resourceful, problem-solving instinct.
Which—as you might guess seeing as there is a common theme when I write to you amy—is not a positive attribute when you want someone to buy your solution to their problem.
Why would MacGyver* spend good money on tools when all he needs is a hair-clip and gum wrappers?
He feels okay. He feels like his problem is no longer a problem even if it’s a temporary fix.
When you’re marketing your product, you naturally tend to look at your competition to see how to pitch yourself against their offer. But you also need to consider The Workaround. The workaround is something that your customers are doing to solve their problem, but which isn’t an ideal solution compared to your product.
You offer a course? Your customers think they can get all the info they need on the internet.
Your product is software that helps people manage their teams? They think they can do it with spreadsheets and free tools cobbled together.
Even though you get better results, The Workaround has a strong appeal. It’s usually fast and easy to implement (so they think they’re saving time) and it’s usually free or low-cost (so they think they’re saving money).
Problem solved while saving time and money? What’s not to like?
Well workarounds usually have hidden problems that don’t materialise until later, but can cost your customer more time, money, and risk than they imagined.
But they won’t think about those things because a problem deferred, is a problem solved (for now).
You need to show them that the costs are higher, the time is longer, and risks more painful than they initially realised. AND you need to show why your solution is easier, faster, and less disruptive to use than their cable tie and duct tape version.
But you obviously can’t go in guns blazing amy, and tell them that they’re wrong, they’re wrong, so wrong. No-one wants to hear that. Even The Searchers couldn’t face it.
Instead, you have to find a way to:
- Get their attention (especially if their workaround makes them think they no longer have a problem)
- Get them on side
- Get them concerned about the risks (“so when the duct-tape breaks, how far will the chandelier fall…?”)
- Get them excited to use you
And guess what?
That’s what the latest 15 minute podcast episode is all about.
You’ll get 4 simple questions for you to answer about your customer’s workaround which can give you some simple copy ideas to try in your ads, your emails, or however you engage with your current and new audience.
You can listen to episode 42 here
Don’t get me wrong, I love practical people who can solve problems with everyday items, but they are bloomin’ difficult customers.
Till next time, keep believing.
P.S. Confession, I never watched a lot of MacGyver, and have probably watched more of the MacGruber parody on SNL with Will Forte. It’s one of my go-to resources for 5 minute chuckles.