Your Customers Want To “Do It” . . . Give It To Them


Hey, this is Clay. Welcome to today’s episode of the marketing show, and I want to talk about doing it. So, the reality is that your customers want to do it. And that as an expert, you think about what you do and the services that you provide in a way that is extremely different from the way that your customers think about it. So, here are some examples of the way that customers conceive of and think about what they want to accomplish as beginners looking to buy your product.

People say things all the time, like, “I want to write a New York Times bestseller, how do I do it?” right? “How do – I want to speak Spanish, how do I do it?” “I want to be a wakeboarder, how do I do it?” “I want to make a billion dollars, how do I do it?” And what I call this is the “it”-ification of the subject matter, and it exists in every customer’s mind when they’re first approaching the topic that you teach. They don’t think about it with the complexity that you do. They ittify it, right?

So, let’s just take this example here. If you teach writing or book marketing, you will have a lot of customers who truly think about it this way. They want to write a New York Times bestseller, how do I do it? And you know that there’s a whole range of ways to do it, and that it is different for every single genre, if you’re writing for nonfiction, if you’re writing for fiction, if you’re writing, like, biography. There are a bunch of different ways to do it. And in fact, it all depends on what asset people are coming to the table with. Fo they have a blog, do they have a list, do they have, you know, a public speaking platform? There is no it in reality, it doesn’t exist. You can’t do it. But “it” is a very real reality that exist in the minds of the customers and you cannot fight human psychology when you are marketing. If you fight human psychology when you are marketing, you will lose and you will be poor and your business will go broke, period and end of story.

So, what I’m advising you to do is always be mindful of the “it” that exists in your customers brain and create your marketing around that “it” because you can’t change that “it.” You have no say on that “it” when you are marketing. So, let me give you an example. What I see people doing all the time is they’ll take market, right? They’ll take a market of people that want to write a New York Times bestseller and they’ll end up coming up with some title that’s, like, “The Zen of Writing,” that has nothing to do with “it.” Your customers want to do it, right? They want to speak Spanish. They want to be a wakeborder. They want to be a billionaire. And you’re creating a title, like, “The Zen of Writing,” it doesn’t address it at all.

So, the first thing you need to know is what is the “it” in your customers’ brain. And it’s going to be an “it” that doesn’t exist in reality. It’s only going to exist in the mind of your customer. But once you know that “it” that your customer is willing to pay for, because they’re not going to pay for the complex version that’s in your brain, they’re going to pay for the “it” that’s the reality in their mind. Once you know what that is, you need to sell the “it.”

And here’s how to do that ethically. The way to do that ethically is to, one, create your product around giving them the fastest path to “it” that you know of. There are probably multiple paths to “it.” There’s a whole lot of variables, but pick the most effective version of “it” that you know of. Pick your favorite version of “it,” right? Let’s pick the guitar market. Someone wants to learn how to play the guitar, how do they do it, right? You might know that there are a lot of variables involved, that they want to play classical, whatever, pick your favorite one. Rock guitar, you want to show them five songs, show them how to do “it,” right? So, that’s the first thing you should do in your course so that you can ethically sell it, because if you’re not selling it, you’re not going to make sales.

So, you need to sell them your favorite version of “it.” And the second thing you need to do in your product is to expand their reality. As an expert, the way you conceive of your subject matter is very different from the way they conceive of it. And so, part of your job as a teacher is to broaden their horizons, expand their reality, obliterate the “it,” right, and give them a bigger version of what they’re seeking, give them a bigger vision.

Anyway, what I’m suggesting to you is that you sell customers what they want and that you give them what they want – your version of “it” – and you also give them what they need.

My name is Clay Collins. Thank you so much for watching the marketing show, and I’ll talk to you soon.

  •  Sorry for all the talking to the whiteboard.  I’m still getting used to my new video studio setup.

  • Clay, this is great. A similar analogy that I’ve heard is ‘putting the pill in the meat’. Just like you would get a German Shepard to take a pill by wrapping it up in a wad of hamburger, you give them what they need wrapped up in what they want.

  • Clay, I’ve been enjoying your videos since you started them and look for the emails announcing a new one. But this is my favorite so far. Partly because it resonated with my personal interest in complex problems. It relates well to the conundrum of how to get some to participate in and value the messy part of the innovation process.

  • James

     Best Quote ever :
    “If you fight human psychology when you’re marketing you will lose, you will go poor and your business will go broke.”

  • Fantastic show, Clay.  As a divorce mediator and lawyer, people often want to get divorced fast.  It doesn’t work that way in my state (Iowa).  There is a 90 day waiting period, minimum, with some courts so backlogged that it takes 6-12 months or more.  So, as you mentioned, I offer a few paths that can be fast-er than traditional ligitiation, if they and their spouse are willing to take one of those paths.  (Mediation, Collaborative Law)  With those options, you can avoid ever appearing in court, get the process completed much faster, and BONUS (this is what they NEED but don’t always want) — mediation and collaborative law usually leave people with a better ability to communicate and co-parent for the sake of their children.  Win-win!   

    Thanks again for your insights!

  •  Collins always drills into that element that should be clear to us but often is just beneath the fog of hype. These short videos are worth watching.

  • Marcos

    This reminds me the good old Maslow Pyramid…  It’s hard to talk about self-actualization to someone who doesn’t have a roof or food on the table. 

    Give people what – you think – they need now.  When they are ready, they will ask for more.