You just might be surprised with the outcome.
When was the last time you spent the time and money to receive a professional service, whether it was from your doctor, your hairdresser, your auto mechanic or your web expert? You were motivated with the intention to relieve a pain point. You might have arrived with a solution, instead of describing the problem. The expert will likely deliver the solution that you’re asking. But without knowing more facts, they will deliver what you’re asking for but not what you really need.
As a web designer, web developer and direct marketing expert, my clients aren’t always forthright with their underlying pain points either. They will try to identify what the solution should be and then they’ll ask me to deliver that solution. The problem is, often times they don’t have the insight to know the best solution and what they are asking for isn’t going to give them what they need which can result in lost time and money.
Here’s an example of how the pain point might not be readily apparent in the client’s request. A client of mine, I’ll call him “Bob”, asked me to update the look of his website. Granted, it was a bit outdated. We figured out colors, images and navigation changes. Letting Bob steer the ship, I dutifully completed all of the requests. I contacted Bob a few weeks later to see if he was getting any feedback on his site. The unfortunate answer was “No”.
At this point, Bob realized he needed to hand over the wheel so I could figure out what the problem was and discover the best solution. I promptly put on my detective hat and began to investigate his pain point. He wanted more leads. Of course he did! More leads results in more sales, which results in more income that frees Bob up to pursue other life passions. He thought that changes to his web design would yield more leads. But this didn’t happen.
Working together, we discovered his sales goals and other marketing efforts to find out how the site could realistically augment his efforts to achieve his goals. We analyzed his Google Analytics and discovered the truth about his site: it wasn’t getting the traffic he expected. Without traffic, no one would see the web design improvements that we made and the time and money that was spent in the redesign wasn’t going to solve his pain point. At this point, we switched gears and redirected our focus on solving the real problem.
Here are three tips to get what you really need.
Work with an expert that you trust, which makes it easier to reveal information and relinquish a bit of control.
The expert should engage in inquisitive dialog to figure out what the underlying pain point is instead of taking your request at face value. After a little discovery, they can reveal alternative solutions that will help you relieve their pain point more efficiently and with less investment.
Expect a follow up afterwards. The expert should be invested in knowing whether the solution to your problem provided what you needed. I commonly use Survey Monkey to automate follow up which is great for groups of people, especially after a big event.
The take away is that most people will ask for the assumed solution to their perceived problem. Avoid this communication pitfall by engaging in thoughtful and inquisitive dialogue that will reveal the underlying pain point so the expert can discover the best solution, ultimately saving you time and money.