In a conversation earlier this year with a startup team whose product makes the world better, we got into how to attract the attention of their prospects. And, like most everyone, they wanted to focus the message on how their thing works. They are proud of its features and functions, and eager to tell everyone.

And I know from painful experience that a few of their potential buyers want to hear how the new thing works. These are people who understand their own problem well enough to envision a solution.

But the overwhelming majority of the audience just doesn’t care.

And this is the case for most new things. Everyone is busy, everyone is doing something else, and most people are so focused on their problem they can’t see the solution, even if it’s put right in front of them.

So how to get their attention?

Start with the reason why you created this thing to begin with.

People understand stories. When you’re clear about why you’re doing what you’re doing, when you make your why the foundation of your message, people with similar values and similar problems can relate. Once they relate, they trust you’re in it for the right reasons.

And then, what you have to offer becomes the answer to their question.

You’re no longer selling your thing. You’re solving their problem. Your thing is just way the problem happens to get solved. It is the tangible expression of this deeper value, something they share with you. “Hey, these guys had the same problem as me, and they figured out a way to solve it.”

And people love that. They eat it up. They trust you to get it right.

And then they’re open to hearing about features and functions and how it works, and you can tell them everything, as much as they want to know, now that it’s clear this is the solution to a problem you share.

And you’ve got them.

Next up:
Marketing as a force for good, #1:
The moral case for persuasive creative work