people talking over coffee

Sometimes we surprise ourselves when we’re able to answer a difficult question with ease.

For years, I had been frustrated by this difficult question at the core of my business:

“What do your customers really want (or get) when they call you?”

When I was starting out, I didn’t have much insight or experience. So everything seemed like a wrong guess. Recently, someone asked me this question again, and I was surprised by the clarity of my answer.

It helped that I could now answer from experience. It also helped that I was in rapport with that person, and that the question had occurred in conversation, and hadn’t come straight off of an intake form.

My answer came from three different instances when a customer called up ready to work with me. Ironically, each person had asked for something I did not offer! Why did they choose to work with me anyway?

  • A serial entrepreneur came to me because she valued good writing but couldn’t do it alone. Her new venture’s marketing materials were well-designed and had all the right information, but they needed clarity in order to build credibility. We reworked her website copy to make sure her words and ideas added up to a compelling brand, and this helped her develop her brand’s core product offering.
  • A vice-president of business development called me to finalize a firm overview for a 200-piece brochure mailing. He wanted it to be shorter and easier to read than it had become. That meant losing a lot of information that his partners thought was important in order to put emphasis in the right places. Fitting it all onto a single page required us to choose which ideas would appeal to a wider and larger audience.
  • Two mid-career professionals (one an associate principal, one a university career counselor) faced the challenge of packing their last, long-tenured position onto an already dense (and dated) resume. They needed these updated resumes to move them beyond the narrow roles that had defined them for years! The exacting constraints of design, space, and wording made packaging their full careers and standout accomplishments especially difficult.

These people knew they were too close to their own words, and they didn’t know what to cut or what to stress.

They needed someone who could help them make intelligent choices, target the right audience, and finish the job. I don’t think they knew they needed this when they called me, but I was able to convince them because….

They wanted someone who they trusted.

Trust is the key to accessing your own clarity. You have to trust yourself first. Put faith in your own analytical and communication capabilities, in the merit of your subjective opinion, and in the truth of your lived experience. You also have to trust in the people around you, whether they’re advising you or just listening while you come up with answers.

What do people want or get when they come to you? Your answer has probably changed over the years, and you may be more poised to articulate it now than in the past. And that may just surprise you! Maybe it’s time to consider developing it further with help. We can safely bring out your most insightful responses and turn them into salable form. Learn about our free Marketing Excellence Assessment here!