Shift to Problem Solving Marketing with These 10 Questions

by Corey Philip
June 8, 2018

How does a home service business turn potential clients into paying customers? If you think it’s about making as many people aware of your business as possible, then you are only partly right.

People don’t buy a service; they buy a solution to a problem. Every one of your past clients hired you because they believed that you were the right business to help them solve a challenge. Sometimes the problem is as simple as getting a driveway that has a finished reflective of their house (ever seen a NICE house with dingy driveway?).

To run a successful home service business, you must also learn how to be a successful marketer, and the most effective way to do that is to discover how to create a message that will leave your prospects in no doubt that your business is the key to making their lives better.

You can’t solve a problem if you don’t first know what it is, and the way to learning more about what’s bugging your potential customers is to ask the right questions? Asking questions will help you learn more about your customer, what their problems are, and how you can reach them in the marketplace.

Here are twelve vital questions you can ask which will give you the information you need to create an irresistible offer.

  1. Who are Your Customers?

    If you don’t know who your ideal customer is, you are going to have trouble finding them, and your marketing efforts will be costly as you spend money getting in front of people who will never buy from you.

    Discovering your ideal market is more about finding quality prospects than it is about reaching more people. Would you rather have a marketing campaign that reaches ten people but only one achieves one conversion or a message which reaches five people and converts three?

    Too often contractors attempt to make an ad that ‘speaks to everyone’. Ever seen the ads that mention something to effect of “we work with homeowners & general contractors”? Each of those is an entirely unique market with different needs, and therefore should have their own message, sales process, and estimating process… and likely operations process.

  2. What are Their Goals and Dreams?

    Knowing the goals and dreams of your prospects can help you create a compelling marketing message that will speak directly to them.

    Some customers dream of having more time to themselves, which is the perfect angle for a home service business to promote their value through problem-solving.

    Other goals that will get people searching for a home service business would be to enjoy a nicely landscaped backyard on the weekends or finally get those renovations for the house.

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  3. How do They Gather Information to Solve Their Problems?

    When people come up against a problem which they can’t solve themselves their first task is usually to research and find someone who can. If you know where your potential customers go to get that information, then you can more easily put your business in front of them.

    Increasingly, online is the route for most folks. However, if you provide home maintenance services and your research reveals that the market with the most potential is the baby boomer generation, then relevant print media and publications may be the best strategy to reach them.

    Young millennials looking to rent the latest fashion for the prom will need an entirely different approach, such as a social media marketing strategy targeted at mobile devices. Cough cough Instagram.

  4. What are Some of the Things Most Important to them?

    Each person has a very different idea of what is most important to them when dealing with any business. Some may buy on price, in which case you could offer discounts, or every fifth service free, for example.

    Others may place more emphasis on the level of customer service they receive, the ease of doing business, or they want the job done quickly and without fuss. Some customers will put quality above all else, and many of these types of customers will pay a premium to get it.

    Consider Carmax. In many cases, their price is often higher than other used car operations. Yet buyers flock to them in droves. Why? Because the most important thing to these consumers, their target marketing, is the ease of doing business, and avoiding the traditional ‘salesman techniques’. Car buyers will pay more for an easy comfortable process. So will home service customers!

  5. What is the Biggest Unmet Need in Your Marketplace?

    Knowing how to solve a problem that isn’t currently being tackled by any service business in your industry is a potential gold mine because it provides access to a unique selling proposition (USP). A USP will give you an edge on the competition and make you a stand out business in the industry.

  6. What are your Customers Biggest Pain Points?

    Your customers’ pain points are the most significant challenges they have in their lives right now, and many will gladly pay to be free of them.

    There are a few strategies you can use to find your customers biggest pain points. Google is an obvious choice to find blogs – such as home decorator’s blog. You can also scan trade publications based on your industry and browse popular question and answer sites or local Facebook Groups.

    Scan the publications to see what the hot topics are. Magazines and other publications don’t want to waste time and money writing about things their customers aren’t going to read, so you can be certain that the topics will be about subjects that are the flavor of the month.

    When researching online with Quora and Reddit, a quick search for thread topics that resonate with your industry will reveal what your market is asking about the most and give you insight into the problems they are trying to solve.

    Once you know your markets pain points, you can then address directly them in your marketing message. Most home service businesses neglect this step and merely state a list of their services.

    Go one step further and explain why clean gutters are always better (such as damage to foundations and fire hazard), and how carpets which are professionally cleaned regularly will save them money in the long run through reduced wear and tear.

    [call out] One of best Facebook Ad headline scripts is the pain to pleasure script: ___ (#) Steps: To Getting _______ (your Service) Without ______ (pain point) So That You Can __________ (pleasure point)’

  7. Why is the Problem so Hard for Your Customers and What is Their Approach to a Solution?

    In the home services industry, there are a lot of reasons why people may not be able to solve the problems themselves. Aged customers may be suffering health issues which keep them from their regular tasks, they may not have the right tools, they have no experience, or they aren’t qualified.

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  8. What Does Success Look Like to Them?

    All your customers will have a different gauge they use to measure whether their problem has been successfully solved. It could be a roof that finally doesn’t leak, the look and smell of freshly cleaned carpets, or an air-conditioner that works all the time.

    When you know what success looks like to your customer, then you can tailor your service to ensure they receive it.

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  9. What is Holding Them Back?

    Whenever you reach a customer and they don’t act, examine why that is. What’s holding them back from doing business with you? Is it price or is it the perceived quality of service, or did you not make it clear enough that you can solve their problem. Maybe they are just having trouble dealing with a new company they don’t know or trust yet.

    If you can figure out the biggest hurdle a customer needs to clear before they get out their wallet or sign the contract, then you can either take steps to remove it completely or add extra value to entice them over the hump.

  10. How do They Make Their Decision?

    Some prospects are comparative in the decision-making process. They will go to endless lengths to see how your business stacks up against the competition. Once they have all the facts, they will then ask whether you can solve their problem and whether you can do it better, cheaper, or faster (or all three).

    Other customers are outcome-oriented and will not get out their credit card until they are completely convinced you are the person for the job. These types of customers are often also value and goal oriented and will make their decision based on the perceived value of how well using your business will move them closer to their goals.

    If you can figure out how your market demographic thinks and makes decisions then you are one step closer to creating a marketing message that will guide them towards the right decision – using your services.

    When you go to create your marketing message, don’t just focus on a boring list of products and services. Instead, focus on the problems your prospects are trying to solve, and then give them all the reasons they need you as their problem solver.

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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