Like most entrepreneurs, Wendy and I geek out a bit on business. We discuss and debate business ideas, read and evaluate business books, and binge business shows. This may not sound very exciting, but we LOVE it!
Entrepreneurs, if this doesn't sound exciting, it's likely because you need someone to discuss the ideas with who shares your passion about them. Find that person, and you will find a catalyst to help fuel the next stage of your business. But I digress; that's not the real point of this post.
I was recently watching Shark Tank, where they featured a past company and gave an update on its post-deal success. While their success was impressive, what caught my attention was the advice one of the owners offered to other entrepreneurs.
He said, “You must be able to answer two difficult questions.
- What problem do you solve?
- Do you solve it in a way that makes sense for the buyer?”
This got my attention because these are almost the exact questions we have our solution providers (we call them Friendors) answer as they introduce themselves at Q4Live (our networking conference).
Specifically, we give each Friendor sixty seconds to answer:
- What problem do you solve?
- How do you solve it?
Great minds, right?
The answers aren’t necessarily easy
As I was watching this, I called Wendy to share what they were suggesting with their questions. We already knew we were asking the right questions of our Friendors because of what we've seen from those who have taken on the challenge. Those who answer the questions concisely leave the stage feeling good about their answers and the clarity they provided the audience. Those who stumble and ramble leave the stage regretting having wasted an opportunity.
We know that answering these two questions with clarity and impact is not easy. The difficulty of these questions is what makes them the right ones to be asking.
As Wendy and I evaluated what makes these questions so challenging, we brainstormed how to help make this exercise easier and more effective. Our conversation led us to conclude that jumping into answering the two questions too soon is what makes answering them so hard.
Let’s back up a bit
The two key questions shouldn’t be your starting point. They can only be answered once you answer several other critical questions about your business.
Here are the questions as we see them, an explanation of why it is important to answer each, and our own (Q4i) answers to use as a reference point.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
Call it your “why,” mission, or purpose, but this question will help you identify your emotional driver. Doing so is critical to ensuring you attract the attention of buyers with similar motivations.
At Q4i - Transform and serve the industry.
What do clients get as a result of working with you?
This question gets to the root of your value proposition. A clear and concise value proposition is necessary for helping buyers quantify why they should consider investing time and money with you.
At Q4i - We help agencies put the right number of the right opportunities into their pipeline, systematically move those opportunities to close, and run more efficient organizations around the resulting clients.
How do you engage and sell prospects in a way that is different from your competition?
The answer gets to the root of your real competitive advantage and identifies the value a prospect receives from meeting with you.
At Q4i - We capture the attention of the right people through our marketing strategy. We seek clarity of their Vision as well as of their current situation through structured analysis. We then create the path down which we will lead them to where the more successful, fulfilled, happy, profitable version of themselves awaits.
What do you use to solve problems?
This question gets to the tactical identification of the resources you use to impact your client's business, as identified above.
At Q4i – We leverage the Q4i Growth Platform to identify the proper training, coaching, and networking resources (modules, videos, courses, documents, etc.) that each client most needs.
What does your ideal client look like?
There is no way you can work with everyone. Knowing who you most enjoy and for whom you can make the most significant impact will ensure you take the answers to the two critical questions to the right audience.
At Q4i – Our ideal client is an independent agency with a significant benefit presence, strong leadership, a genuine desire to transform, and a willingness to work hard.
Now you’re ready
The thinking that goes into the questions above should give you greater clarity and more impactful answers to our original two questions.
What problem do you solve?
This question and its answer are critical as they will capture a buyer's attention who may benefit from what you offer. Improving their situation is likely a large part of their emotional driver, which will immediately connect you with them emotionally.
How do you solve it?
This question and its answer will provide the confidence the buyer needs to give you and your approach serious consideration. This will validate their emotional interest in you by helping rationalize how they will receive the results they need and covet.
Once again, we use ourselves as an example.
The problem we solve - At Q4intelligence, we help clear and create a path that leads to healthy growth.
How we solve it - For our ideal client, our approach makes sense because it starts with an understanding of where they want their path to take them, identification of where that path is currently blocked, and a clear plan of how to pave the most effective and efficient path possible.
Bring that clarity
Being clear and concise with your messaging is key to predictably connecting with your audience. However, there are no shortcuts to getting there; it takes effort and hard work.
As Mark Twain reflected (paraphrasing), “I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have time.”
Take the time to clarify why buyers should consider doing business with you. Because if you don't, they won't take time to figure it out on their own.
If you want to discuss ideas with like-minded industry professionals and colleagues, learn more about our conference, Q4Live, and register by clicking below.
Photo by anawat