If your prospect is complete in every way they don’t need to buy anything.
Humans always buy in search of being "more complete" and fulfilling whatever is incomplete in their lives. This is universally true for every product and every service.
Your product or service makes your prospect complete.
When we define our character (what we call prospects and customers) the most important part is to identify how they are incomplete. This can be difficult.
More technical people get wrapped up in the concern that there isn’t anything really missing in their prospects lives and more emotional people focus on how people feel about their lives.
Both sides are wrong.
What is missing doesn’t have to be core to your prospect’s existence. One medical client was concerned that his pillow system didn’t actually cure cancer so it didn’t solve a real need.
Cancer patients are definitely incomplete if they don’t have a cure.
But they are also incomplete if they are uncomfortable and need a better pillow. Give them a better pillow and they are more complete: they feel more comfortable.
It is okay if the missing piece isn’t the most important part of a person’s life or if it doesn’t fill every need they have. It just has to be something missing from their life.
What’s missing is concrete. It is an identifiable, quantifiable, measurable thing that your prospect can immediately recognize with a “yes!” when they see it.
When Steve Jobs introduced the Ipod he created an incompleteness by pointing out that we didn’t have our music libraries in our back pocket.
Nobody felt incomplete and nobody was complaining about not having all of their music with them all the time. But many people instantly recognized that they were, indeed, incomplete the moment he said that.
And so, the Ipod was a success.
The missing piece is also not a feeling.
How your prospect feels about the missing piece matters and comes in later, but the feeling is not what is missing.
It is as though a person’s life is a pie with a slice missing. We want to identify, describe and replace the slice, not discuss how we feel about the fact that it isn't there (we get to that later).
Take the example of working with people to help them feel less stressed.
The feeling of stress isn’t the piece that is missing. That is the outcome, that is something they feel, but what is missing is different.
What is missing that makes them feel stressed? This could be a relationship, space to think, security or any number of things. If you work on helping people feel less stressed, this is where you need to look for the missing piece that will lead to a connection.
When you are trying to understand what is missing in your character’s life, step back and imagine yourself in their life.
- What does their day look like, what comes up that causes it for them?
- What do they need more of?
- What is missing?
Once you know what know how they are incomplete you can work think about how that makes them feel and how your solution connects.
But if you don’t know what is missing or your character doesn’t feel incomplete, you won’t be able to sell anything: not cancer drugs, pillows, stress relief or ipods.