Solve Problems to Make “Friends” Out of Your Customers

Get New Customers Online

Can a  American Spy Show Help You Solve Your Marketing Problems?

Burn Notice TV Cast

How to use problem-solving content to get more business

I know it sounds nuts, but I really do get some great marketing ideas from watching television shows. After all, the writers and marketers for television shows literally live or die by how many viewers they attract each week.

That’s a heck of an initiative to get it right!

But this quote is from one of my favorite shows “Burn Notice” (now in reruns)…

“If you want to make a friend, solve a problem for them. No problem to solve? Then create one.”

Now what does all this mean for you as a small business owner who wants to get more new customers? Let’s take this quote apart bit by bit, and I will show you.

“If you want to make a friend…”

The first section “If you wanna make a friend…” – this is not talking about making “friends” or “followers” or “fans, like on the modern social media sites. I’m talking about a “true friend”.

People who connect with you on social networks may eventually become true friends to you in the long term so don’t discount them, but I just want to be clear that I’m not talking about social networking by itself.

A “true friend” is someone who provides value in an ongoing relationship. As a business person when you engage in a transaction with your customer or client, you are both exchanging items of value – income or revenue for you and quality products or services for them.

So in order to get the most long-tern benefit from a customer, you both must engage in a type of business friendship, where you understand each other’s ideas and communicate well.

This is what marketing people mean by building “rapport”, “trust” and “t relationships”. But you also have to aware of what you are bringing to the party, as they say. In order to grow your business, you need to offer more value to more prospects.

But understand what is considered “valuable” is actually determined by the client!

You might have worked your fingers to the bone but if no one want to buy it…it’s crapola (no matter how good it actually is) because nothing happens until somebody sells something.

This is why the next part of the quote is so important…. “If you wanna make a friend, solve a problem for them

“Solve a problem for them…”

Entrepreneurs and small business people are natural problem-solvers, so would you think this part would be easy, right? But this part is surprisingly tricky and the one most people mess-up.

Solving problems for customers and clients is often the major element of any good product or service, so how can people get it so screwed up? The major mistake I have seen most often is that over time business people begin to believe they KNOW what is best for everybody.

This is a not a case of disrespect or arrogance but if you have worked in an industry for a while and have lots of experience than you probably do know more than the average customer.

But every customer has two things on their side, you can’t ever eliminate:

1.    While they don’t know everything about your product or service, they DO know everything about their situation such as their personal pain points, frustrations, and fears.

2.    They have ultimate control over the money in your business relationship.

So while you probably do know what has a good chance of working vs. something that doesn’t, you are solving what your customer or client considers to be their main problem… not what you feel or think or know it is!

Now this doesn’t mean you have to sit back and let clients go running off a cliff, if you see them heading in the wrong direction but you do have to balance what you are offering between being a solving problems no-matter-what over fixing what people are willing to pay you to fix.

Haven’t we all had the experience of some “expert” telling us that we’re wrong and that they are right? If we in the end turn out to be right, we never trust that “expert” again.

Or if they ran roughshod over us to prove their point, don’t we all have a hard knot of resentment towards them no matter how helpful they are being?

So in order to solve a problem we as business people have to maintain that balance between what we know and what our customers want done.

Finally, the last part, “If you wanna make a friend, solve a problem for them. No problem to solve? Then create one.

“No problem to solve? Then create one.”

Lots and lots of business people down through the ages have used the last part of this quote, to create a bunch of money for themselves…as well as lawsuits, fraud charges, jail time, lost income and destroyed lives!

In 3 words, “Don’t Do It.”

If you truly know and understand your potential customers and clients, then you won’t have to “invent” a problem or situation to solve!

Trust me there are plenty enough challenges and hot messes right now for you to solve – without anyone having to make anything up!

But you if you unaware of what is happening in the lives of your customers or clients then you really do have find out what’s bugging them. This is critical to your long term success.

The biggest cause of business failure for many established companies is that they become too distance from the everyday issues of the people they are supposed to sell to or assist.

Once this happens they aren’t able to create or offer the products or services that resonate with potential customers and over time they start losing market and eventually just aren’t competitive any more.

So you must always be talking to people, asking for feedback on what you are doing today and be willing to do research on upcoming trends to determine what obstacles they might pose for your clients or customers in the future.

Think how something as common as childhood harassments blew up online and became deadly cyber-bulling.

No one – not the authorities, schools, parents, software companies or social network sites ever thought that the Internet would have such a dramatic affect on kids.

Now being hassled online by school-yard bullies is almost common place! This has caused security software and app developers scramble and create tools that detect or monitor cyber-bullying cases.

A classic case of the customers’ need creating an entire new industry.

To recap, “If you wanna make a friend, solve a problem for them. No problem to solve? Then create one.” To turn strangers into real friends and paying customers you must:

  • Be aware of what you offer in the transaction and how customers value that offer
  • Be aware of how potential customers see their problems and what they are willing to pay for
  • Be on the look out for potential problems your customers might encounter outside of normal business parameters.

Are you really serious about growing your business online but you are NOT getting the results you want from your website?

Then I invite you to consider getting a free website audit and consultation here, and discover how I have helped other small business people just like you.