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How to speak customer

I: The block of marble and high-converting content

There is a famous-among-art-nerds quote by Michelangelo that goes something like this: “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”

Apparently, the famous sculptor would "see" the figure hidden in the block and attempt to free it by chiseling away "superfluous material."

Last week, I wrote a sales page and an email sequence for an online community. What does this have to do with Michelangelo, you ask?

There is a bit of a misconception when it comes to writing for business. People seem to think that you sit down with a blank document and "add" words. Copywriters are just people who are good with words, right?

In reality, writing genius copy is more akin to chiseling the superfluous material off.

It's not adding.

It's taking away.

Back to my project from last week...

I didn't start with a blank page/ template/someone else's sales page. I started with a solid block of transcripts.

55 pages, to be exact. (just checked)

Hidden inside those 55 pages of conversation is the messaging that will inspire my ideal customer to action.

My job- chisel away at the small talk and get to the heart of what drives that decision.

(it is my favorite part of the process)

It's also a process that, shockingly, few of my clients have ever done. Like ever.

Yes, there are businesses out there that have never interviewed their clients to figure our what makes them tick.

This makes me nervous and a little worried.

What are people doing if they are not listening to what their customers have to say?

9/10 they are guessing. Guessing stresses me out.

I sure as hell don't want to guess what to write when someone is launching a product/ service and asking me to help them sell it.

That sounds like a nightmare to me. (an expensive one)

If they are not guessing they are copying the competition.

Another nightmare, since the whole point of marketing is to stand out. So you are basically guaranteed not to if you start looking left and right.

Here's a better way:

Get on a Zoom call with your clients. Give them a gift card if you must, but do it. Talk to them. Run a transcript. Repeat back what you heard in your marketing, and presto- you are attracting more of the same clients without guessing.

Sounds simple but 99% of people won't do it. So they hire me to do it. Usually when they get tired of guessing (and not making $) which is usually like 12-18 months into the mess.

II: What to ask people on a call

So hopefully my rant about getting on a call with you customers is making you pause a little in your marketing tracks.

Here's what to ask 👇🏽

It is important when you get on that call that you take control of the conversation. There are certain things that you NEED to know in order to get amazing copy out of this process. There is also a cadence to the questions you need to ask.

  1. Start by asking them about themselves. If they are in business as them about that. You need to get a psychological and contextual "before" shot of this person.

What was going on in their life before they worked with you?

What was the trigger event that made them decide that they need help with 'x'?

Why at that moment and not 6 months earlier?

What did that all FEEL like?

2. You then need to ask them about what was going on in their head during the purchase decision.

What objections did they have? (everyone has purchase objections)

Did they shop around and compare? (get deets)

How long did it take them to make the decision?

Where did they even find you?

3. The "after" shot.

What changed for them as a result of working with you?

How is their life different?

Was a chain of events set off?

Did they get some kind of tangible result? (pry for exact numbers if you can)

Something crazy happens when you ask 3 separate people the same questions- You begin to see the figure in the marble.

There will be patterns.

There will be triangulation.

Your job is to cut out the superfluous material.


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