Often, I struggle to find the opportunity when working with some clients. They are so focused on their product or services that they cannot see why those things exist. The problems they are meant to solve fall away and get forgotten.

This is insane.

We do not build products or provide services to others for the sake of those products and services.

We do these things for 2 reasons.

  1. We create products and services to help customers escape from the pain they are feeling today.
  2. We accept money in exchange for helping those customers.

This is why the PROBLEM is so important.


Your product isn’t what people are buying

There’s a long said micro-story that I love. It sums this up nicely…

No one goes to the hardware store because they need to buy a 3/4″ drill bit. They go because they need a 3/4″ hole in the wall.

Seems pretty obvious, but is it? Think about how many different types of 3/4″ drill bits there are… to serve all kinds of people solving all kinds of “I need a 3/4″ hole” problems.

The problem with trying to solve so many problems all at once for every potential customers, is the story.

In the case of a drill bit that can put a hole in anything, and I mean ANYTHING, is that it’s too much for the simple problem most people have… I need a hole in the wall.

These people do not care if your fancy drill bit will put a hole in drywall & wood & metal & atomantium.

The story being told about the drill bit that can put a hole in ANYTHING is usually that of a features list and why it’s so tough.

No. One. Cares. This positioning is YOU focused (you = maker of the drill bit)

You’ve effectively made the only best buyer of your product YOU. That’s a recipe for disaster.

How to position your products or services problem first

The best way, in my opinion, to attract the right kind of people to your products or services is to use Story. Within a story, you have a problem, agitation of that problem, desire to escape that problem, identification of what life without the problem would look like, solution to the problem, and finally what no longer having that problem actually looks like.

  • Problem – situation, emotional feeling, etc.
  • Problem agitation – make the reader/viewer FEEL the full pain of their problem | “twist the knife”
  • Escape desire – now knowing the full pain of the problem, you build the desire for that escape
  • Identify what life without the problem looks and feels like – help paint the picture of what life could look like without the problem
  • Solution – product(s) and/or solution(s) | I like to throw in the, “here’s what I got (solution), here’s what it’ll do for you (outcome), and here’s what I want you do to next (call to action, OR next first step)” framework
  • Life after the solution – this is where testimonials and case studies can come in super handy

Find a different way to “sell” your product or services

There are loads of ways to position products and services. One of the most spectacular ways I’ve learned and heard of, is the story of the Hotel in Banff National Park in Canada.

I recently shared this in a post on LinkedIn.

I was watching a new favorite YouTuber, Mike Downie of DownieLive, who shared the story during one of his weekly videos.

Canadian Pacific Railway finding the opportunity to create a better way to sell tickets across the Rockies in Canada. Pic of the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel.
Fairmont Banff Springs hotel in Banff National Park, Canada

In the late 1800’s the Canadian Pacific Railway was building their railroad when they found an incredibly beautiful location in the Rocky Mountains.

They had the foresight to build a huge hire and destination in order to help increase the traffic on their rail line.

They had a product, they saw an opportunity in the market and took action.

Built a hotel in the middle of nowhere in order to sell more train tickets.


me – on LinkedIn

Expanding the inspection of this a bit more, the first ever National Park was created in Canada… funny enough it was Banff National Park.

The point here is that Canadian Pacific Railway wanted to get more people using their trains to cross Canada. Product.

They built a hotel in the middle of the wilderness, made it a fantastic “resort” for the times, and positioned it as a must see destination.

The key here is that the only way to get there, is by train… more specifically, a Candaian Pacific Railway train.

So instead of building a need and market for the train itself, they created an entirely new product (destination hotel) in order to sell more train tickets.

This is another great way to position your products and services in any marketplace.

How to change your marketing programs with this information

So of course, gaining information is great. But, putting it into practice is the only way to get a “reward” for learning it.

To get started, I would encourage you first to look at ONE program you have in market today. Just one.

Why only one?

Well, so you don’t get overwhelmed and decide that all this information has been smoke up your butt.

DO NOT try to implement these strategies across your entire business from day one.

Pick a single product or service, and start there.

Review the ads, emails, flyers, postcards, mailers, etc. and make sure you’re not just spouting off features of your product. Use the frameworks above to change how you position your products and services to your prospects.

Then, once you’ve made the changes necessary… LAUNCH them into the marketplace. Let them run for a few weeks and see the difference in performance.

One client saw a 28% increase in the # of appointments set with their BDRs after just 30 days. Now, this is not typical and you should not expect that big of a jump by doing all this yourself. At least not right away.

Do this as much as I have and you get pretty good at it.

The key is to launch, evaluate, make some updates, re-launch and start the whole process over.

Make it a priority at least monthly to review the performance of your marketing and advertising. Do not just set it and forget it. Ever.

Now go forth and make good things happen for you, your business, and most importantly, the people you choose to serve!