Finding Buyers That Buy Part Three:
10,000 “Personal” Conversations

Last week, we established the fact that if people are going to buy from you, you must unlock their Core Buying Emotion. This is done by knowing your buyers’ “what” and “why” at a very deep level. (See the article here for a refresher.)

A number of years ago, I was approached by Corel to help them revamp and then do a global relaunch of PaintShop Pro, their photo-editing software.

It was a daunting task. Corel has been around for a long time. I had seen their ads and promotions and always felt they were good. But, as I visited with the marketing and creative team, it was clear to me they were not getting the sales they wanted or needed.

And, I could see why.

The biggest problem they faced was one of personal touch. By and large, everyone on their list received the same message. Same ad, same discount, same benefit bullet points … same everything to everyone.

Because I could clearly see the mistakes they were making … and because I had the perfect solution … I took on the project.

The solution lay in asking their current buyers and prospects just three questions.

I knew that once we had the answers to these three questions, we could revolutionize their messaging and bring up their sales.

These three questions are pure marketing magic ― especially when you know how to analyze the answers you’ll get back. I first learned about these questions from a marketing psychologist named Dr. Glenn Livingston. He is a leading expert on buyer psychology and is regularly hired by companies like Nabisco, GE, Proctor & Gamble, AT&T, and hundreds of other global leaders.

The questions allow you to step inside the heart and mind of the buyer. In other words, you can discover the logical and emotional triggers that would cause someone to buy your products and services.

The first question helps you see what is important to them.

The second question helps you see why those things are important.

The third question reveals to you what I call the “profit gap.”

This is the gap between how they are now living and how they wish they could live, but just can’t find a way to get there. Herein lies a great deal of your profits.

So, the first order of business for solving the Corel riddle was to put together a survey. It was a survey unlike any they had ever done. In the past, their surveys were all multiple-choice questions.

Multiple-choice surveys are okay, but they only give you the prospect’s opinion on your opinion. It is very limiting.

The new and improved survey we put together primarily had essay questions. That is what the three magic questions are … open-ended questions that let people talk.

Essay questions scare most marketers. They are afraid of what people will say, given the chance, and they are lazy and don’t really want to read all that stuff.

But, I LOVE essay questions because they allow prospects and buyers to freely and openly share their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and emotions. This reveals their personality and individuality, which allows me to stop seeing my market as a block and view them as real people.

Here are the three questions we asked the Corel market …

  1. “What is the single biggest concern you have with photo-editing software today?”
  2. “How would finding a solution to this concern change your life and your photography?”
  3. “If we really wanted to knock your socks off with new photo-editing software, how would we do it?”

When we asked these three magic open-ended questions, letting people freely talk (no word limits to responses), and then carefully analyzed their word patterns, feelings, and insights, we discovered something really obvious, but remarkable …

People on their list were using the software for lots of different reasons … and they all wanted a wide diversity of photo-editing features.

The forensic police chief wanted a way to track changes and zoom in without losing details to see evidence better so they wouldn’t lose as many court cases.

The artist wanted ways to add colors, change images, and enhance lighting so people would oohhh and aahhh over his work.

The social bugs wanted a simple way to share a million pictures with a million people with the push of a button so they could connect with people and feel important.

The serious professionals wanted a way to realistically enhance every aspect of the picture so their clients were happy, paid more, and spread the word.

And on and on it went. Dozens of different wants and whys.

No wonder the same message to the whole market was not working!

So, we took this data and laid it on top of existing demographic data they already had and began creating personalized, customized segments of their list.

Before we were done, we created around 214 list segmentations. We then crafted a unique message and offer for each segment.

The results? With over 80% of the mailings, we had an email open rate of over 60% … with many of them, we hit over 90% and saw returns of over 75%. This was exponentially better than any results Corel had ever seen on a product launch. Profits skyrocketed. Plus, they were able to push into segments of the market that previously had not bought from them … like law enforcement.

(If you don’t think those numbers are good, the next time you are with an Internet “guru,” ask them how many list segments they have and what their response rates are. You’ll see what I mean.)

The magic behind all of this was personalization.

Using demographic data and the responses from our three magic questions, we came to understand the PaintShop Pro market in new and intimate ways. This allowed us to talk specifically to the individual buyer in ways that resonated with their personal “what” and “why” triggers.

It allowed us to identify the true gaps between what they wanted and what they believed the market was offering them. Once we structured a message and software that filled in that gap, it was natural for them to buy from us.

From many experiences like this, I believe that one thing ― more than anything ― separates small, struggling companies from large, global leaders.

It is this …

Small companies don’t truly know their buyers ― they guess.

Large companies know their buyers deeply and personally. In fact, there is a correlation between how well you know your buyer and how big and profitable you can become.

By using these three magic questions ― and effectively analyzing them ― you empower yourself to know the individual desires of your prospects and buyers and then cater to them.

Here are the three questions in a template form that you can use in your own business:

  1. “What is your single most pressing question about ___________?” or “What is your single biggest question about _________?”
  2. “How would getting a solid answer (or solution) to that question change your life?”
  3. “If I could knock your socks off with a ___________, how would I do it?”

You can ask these in person or through survey software. But the biggest key is to let them talk. Do not put any limits or stipulations on their response. Let them talk.

Would you like to see a live sample of how this all works? If you have been following me for the past few months, you have already seen it.

You can see it again here.

Notice how I structure the questions and format the overall survey. Notice how anything that is not demographics is an “essay” question.

Now, what do you do with all of this information? I mean, depending on the size of your list or market, you could end up with dozens … or thousands of responses.

How do you get value out of all that? How do you effectively analyze it and then use it to give greater value to your buyers?

Next week, in my fourth and final piece in the “Finding Buyers that Buy” series, I’m going to give you the secrets for taking this information and converting it into copy, products, websites … and, yes, profits.

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Published: March 23, 2012

1 Response to “Finding Buyers That Buy Part Three: 10,000 “Personal” Conversations”

  1. I love it when someone can boil it down to such simplicity. 3 Questions...i find especially when surveying small businesses they simply do not have the time for lengthy surveys. Your advice is spot on!


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