I’m on a mission to stop glazed-over eye syndrome.

Maybe you know the look. The one you see when you answer the question, “So, what do you do?” If the other person doesn’t understand you, you’re bound to see some glazed-over eyes in response.

To stop getting a blank stare when you tell other people what you do and to inspire your ideal clients to work with you, you need to use language that resonates. You need to use the words you ideal client uses to describe their problem and desired solution.

Max Simon of Big Vision Business teaches that one way to make sure you’re using your clients’ language is to understand their public problems, secret problems, and unknown problems.

Let’s explore what each of these problems is, shall we?

Public Problems

Your ideal clients’ public problems are the problems they “know” they have. These are the words they use to talk about their problems with a friend, and it’s what they might look for in a Google search. When you use the words that your clients use to describe their public problems, you speak to their minds and your work “makes sense” to them.

For example, being unhappy with a job, needing to get more clients, or being constantly stressed out might be public problems.

Secret Problems

Your ideal clients’ secret problems are the aspects of their problem that they feel embarrassed or ashamed about. They may only share these with their best friend, or they might not even admit them to themselves. Speaking to your ideal clients’ secret problems speaks to their hearts and makes working with you “feel right.”

For example, doubting whether you’re good enough at what you do to grow your business, believing you’re a really bad mom because you work so hard, or thinking you’re too unfocused to ever get the job you want are secret problems.

Unknown Problems

Unknown problems are the deep-seeded, root issues that your ideal clients don’t yet know they have before signing up. They’re the processes they need to learn and tools they need to gain in order to resolve their public and secret problems. These are the areas you’ll help them transform when they work with you.

For example, your clients’ unknown problems may include being completely out of touch with their desire or intuition, needing to transform their inner narrative from self-judgment to self-compassion, or needing to learn to dance along the polarity of focusing on goals to being adaptable. These are a few examples of unknown problems many of my clients have when they first come to work with me. If I didn’t lead with the public problem (the fact that I work with people who aren’t fulfilled at work), then most of my clients might have no idea what I was talking about and might never sign up.

Don’t speak to unknown problems in your marketing. They won’t understand you.

One of the biggest mistakes many people make when talking about what they do is focusing on their clients’ unknown problems.

The thing is, they don’t know they need to change in these things. If they did, they wouldn’t need to come to you for help in the first place. If you talk about unknown problems in your marketing, you won’t resonate with them. They won’t know you’re talking to them, and they’ll pass you by for someone who speaks directly about the results they seek.

Stop using jargon, and start using their words.

From now on, pay incredibly close attention to the words your ideal clients use. Interview your ideal clients and listen to the words they use, read the words they use on their intake forms closely, and speak these words back to them. Let go of your attachment to your jargon, the words that only professionals in your field would use.

Which problems are unknown and which are public or secret depends on who you serve.

For a long time, I thought that developing self-confidence and getting clear where unknown problems. These speak to an inner state of being, and I thought I needed to focus solely on external problems such as making more money or getting more clients. As I paid attention to my clients’ intake forms, I realized that two of the words my clients used over and over to describe what they wanted were, you guessed it, “confidence” and “clarity.” After I noticed this, I realized that for my clients, confidence and clarity are actually known problems.

The processes I use to help my clients gain confidence and clarity are still unknown to them before we work together, so I don’t speak to these much when I talk about what I do. But now, instead of only leading with the fact that I help my clients get more clients, I focus on the fact that part of what I do is helping my clients gain the confidence and clarity they need to be successful.

That said, as you get to know your ideal clients, you may discover that while they need confidence and clarity, they’re less aware of this.

From now on, only use words that your ideal clients would use and focus on problems they know they have.

You know you’ve found the right words when people tell you, “Wow! It’s like you’re inside of my head!” There’s nothing that inspires a potential client to sign up like knowing you understand them.

To get support growing your business, click here and learn more about our business coaching services. And, to learn how to say what you do in one compelling sentence, click here.



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