A few weeks ago, I was visited by an ailment that I hadn’t had in years; an ear ache.
If its been a while since you or someone in your household has experienced an ear ache (its been a LONG time here), let me remind you that it is NOT a pleasant experience. I know I had more than my share of ear infections growing up, so how could I not remember something so intense?
Experts tell us that humans do not have good pain recollection and my recent malady was living proof of that concept. (The fact that I have more than one child should serve as yet more proof of that postulate.)
As I suffered, waiting for the antibiotics to work their magic and kill the evil microbes causing my distress, I recognized that the pain had me distracted to the point where I could barely function. It was all I could think about. I made a conscious effort to make sure it wasn’t all I could talk about, but even though I wasn’t talking about it, I was still keenly aware of my affliction.
During that period of time, if you weren’t talking about how I could make the hurting stop, I have to be honest and say that I probably wasn’t paying very much attention to you. On the other hand, if you were talking about pain relief, you had my complete and undivided attention. Whether it was radio, television, direct mail or even in person, if you were offering a solution, you had my attention.
When I recovered, I realized that ear aches aren’t the only malady that affects your customers to the point of distraction. Whether it’s mounting debt, excess fat stores, sexual dysfunction, or even the war in Iraq; if you are aware of the issue that your target market is focused upon, then you can create a marketing message that will tap into those issues.
Because we humans don’t have effective pain recollection, it may be that you’ve experienced the pain your customers are feeling some time in the past, but now its just a hazy memory. Maybe you’ve never experienced your customers pain, which puts you at an even greater disadvantage. In either case, its time to connect with your customers pain so you can create a marketing message that truly speaks to them.
If youre a mortgage broker who is trying to connect with people who are having trouble paying their credit card debt, if you’ve never been on the receiving end of a collection call then you’re going to have trouble â€œspeaking your customers language. If that’s the case, then I recommend you sit down with someone face to face who’s in the middle of that pain so you can create an effective marketing message.
Im reminded of a good friend of mine who spent most of her early thirties working in the collection department of a local bank. She was constantly winning awards for her performance and one day I asked her what her secret was for such outstanding success. She replied,
“I’ve been there. When my husband first started his business, things were tough. There for a while, we were getting collection calls every night.
Now, when I make my calls, I remember what it was like when I was getting those calls. Instead of focusing on getting them to pay, I see how I can help.
Sometimes, they just need a sympathetic ear. When they’ve told me their tale, I then get to work trying to help.
The thing is, the answer is usually as simple as they need to start paying everyone a little instead of paying one a lot while ignoring the others. They can take the first step by paying a little on this account that I’m calling them about.”
Her secret for debt collection success: she was just trying to help the people she was calling.
Yeah. It works like that with your marketing and advertising messages too.