It’s a common question I see floated around; something to the effect of “A client…
When you hear the term ideal client or ideal client profile, a lot of people stick with demographics, like age and income and stuff like that. But those are just specific characteristics you can plus into an ad target. They’re not substantive and they sure don’t mean you can now know how to market to someone well. The problem you fix for clients, that’s the real thing that identifies your ideal client. When it comes to selling, we want to keep our focus on the problem we solve for our clients. But, the mistake we often make is that we focus on the external problem and ignore the internal problem. You see, people buy a solution to an internal problem, and justify the purchase because it solves an external problem. So what do I mean by this external vs. internal thing? Let’s dig in…
So, an external problem is something tangible or obvious, like the back pain someone is experiencing.
An internal problem on the other hand, is the emotional baggage created due to that external problem, like the guilt of not being able to play with their child because of their back pain.
When you put out a newsletter or a social media post, speak to a potential client, write your website copy, or do anything else to market your massage practice, it is vital to address both the internal and external problems.
Here’s a great example of a company that focuses almost entirely on marketing to their customer’s internal problem…CarMax. If you’ve ever seen their commercials, been to their dealership, or if you hop over to their website, you’ll see that they don’t talk about how great their cars are, how they have the most high-end amenities, or really anything about the actual cars they sell. The need for a car is an external problem. What makes them so different, and probably the biggest reason for their success, is that they separated themselves from all other car dealers by focusing their business model and their marketing to address the internal problem of their audience…the contempt for the typical car buying experience.
I mean, next to lawyers and politicians, car salesmen are probably among the most criticized professionals out there. When people talk about someone with unethical sales techniques, they will almost certainly compare them to a used car salesman.
Just walking into a dealership is stressful for most people, and CarMax is focusing on that internal problem. They take the stress out of being sold to. They take the stress out of negotiating. They completely turned the typical car buying experience on its head, and they’re wildly successful because of it. They solve an internal problem, and they market to that internal problem almost exclusively.
In fact, if you look at a lot of advertisements on television, in magazines, and online, you’ll see that the majority of them focus on the internal problem they solve. Advil and Tylenol commercials talk about the benefits (external) while showing people enjoying their life without pain (internal). Cosmetic ads show their array of products and colors (external) while showing smiling beautiful people having fun (internal). If you notice, it’s about making people feel good; about getting back to their lives, or living the life they want, but don’t think they can have for whatever reason.
So what are you solving for your clients? Do you only speak of the pain you can help to resolve? Or do you go deeper than that and speak to the internal problem?
Explain to them how they can get back into their favorite hobby, like golfing or hiking (internal), once you’ve helped rid them of their pain (external). Tell them how they’ll be able to enjoy their work (internal) without suffering from frequent headaches (external). Show them how they can be the fun grandparent (internal) once that hip pain is eased (external). Show them they can feel more like the mom they want to be (internal) when they have the energy and stress-free mind they need (external).
These are just a few examples, but use this to get your wheels turning on how to speak to your audience in the most effective ways. Remember, people buy a solution to an internal problem, and justify the purchase logically because it solves an external problem. So what problem are you solving for clients. I’d love to see what you come up with in the comments, and I’m happy to help you tweak the basic messaging into something very specific for your audience.