Wallow in the Problem!

Wallow in the Problem!

This issue of the Newsletter talks about a copywriting problem that occurs frequently–not spending enough time on the prospect’s problem.  To describe what the right behavior feels like to a solution provider who is writing copy of developing a sales pitch, I coined the term “wallow in the problem” to describe the emphasis to be given to the problem in the copy or presentation.  Or Webinar.

Our Focus

As providers of a service or product or information, we are focused on what we provide.  It’s a solution to a problem.  We are proud of our solution–we spend all day working on it.  We want our prospects to know about and to appreciate all the great ways our solution will solve their problems.

What the Prospect Sees

However, the first thing the prospect wants to know is not all about our solution, but have we aimed our solution at her problem?  Do we really understand her problem?   I spent a lot of my career as a buyer and not a seller, and again and again I saw people who offered solutions who spent all their time talking about their solution–logical to them!–but never demonstrating to me that they really understood my problem.

When we get into describing the solution before we have paid a lot of respect to the problem, we appear to be “pushy,” to be pressing our solution on the prospect before we’ve understood the problem.  We don’t care what the problem is, just buy our solution!  The prospect would like to say “wait a minute now, let’s talk about my problem” but most prospects won’t do that.  They’ll just buy elsewhere or not at all.


It’s OK to take some time and space to deal with the problem.  If you’re a house painter, describe what a house needing paint looks like.  How it can be embarrassing.  How the neighbors think you’re down on your luck.  How damage can develop over time if it’s not painted.  And how about your own pride and self-confidence?  I’m sure you get the point.  It’s not just replacing the faded paint.  It’s much more.  Show that you understand everything that’s involved in the problem and you’ll be the chosen provider.

The Bottom Line

I like to focus on a good wallow in the prospect’s problem as the start of copy or a presentation.  It’s also a good way to put yourself into the mind of your prospect, so that you can understand where she is coming from.  If you’ve thought through all aspects of the problem and given a somewhat drawn-out description of them, you’ll find that you’ve gone a long way toward making the sale before you even mention the wonderful solution that you’re offering!