How to Find Out What Challenges People Have

by Kristen Burgess
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Promising to solve your prospect’s problems is a powerful way to hook them, build trust, and share your class or product with them. But first, you have to know what they’re struggling with so you can create a solution (or position your solution) that meets their needs.

I’ll tell you what I’ve done over the years – I just write to them via email. I just send an email out, that says, “Are you struggling to write an email campaign? If so, what are your top 5 challenges? Just hit reply!” Then they hit reply and they tell me what their 5 challenges are, and then I can write again and ask them for more questions.

If 25 people write me back, and tell me 5 of their challenges, I’m going to have 125 challenges. Obviously, there’s going to be tons of overlap.

But, what do you think? Do you think I’m going to have a pretty good idea what people are looking for with their challenges with email campaigns?

I would, and you can do that too. Create a document with all these challenges, and that gives you what you need to create products, write content pieces, create videos or podcasts, whatever it is you need. People will consume your content or consider buying your products because you’re speaking to exactly what they need.

How to Discover Challenges if You’re Just Getting Started

I believe I learned this technique from Alex Mandossian, and I want to give credit where credit is due. What he taught was what’s called an “ask page.”

Let’s say you’re just getting started in the business, and you don’t have a list of 10k people, or even 2k people that you can send an email out to. Here’s what you do: you create an “ask page,” which is almost a precursor to the squeeze page.

Instead of driving traffic to a specific sales page, or instead of driving traffic just to a squeeze page to get people to join your list, you send them this ask page. Let me give you an example; basically what the ask page says is, “Are you struggling with email copy writing? If so, I would love to be able to help you.” Maybe you list a few bullet points, or not, at this point.

Then you continue, “But, ask me any question you want. Just hit enter. I’ll get back with you personally.”

Let’s face it, we talk a lot about automation, and we don’t want to write everybody personally, and if you’re a huge $1M company you might not want to talk to everybody personally, and that’s okay. But, if you’re developing a new product, would it be worth it to take somebody’s time in the office, or, you’re an entrepreneur, to take your time, and just respond to the 1st 25 people that respond? I think it would be.

Even if it’s a $1B corporation, I think it’s valuable to say, “We’re going to do some market research here, and so what we do is we say, we want them to give you their name and email address so you can respond again.” You can build that right into an auto-responder web form. Just say, “If you have any questions about email campaigning, and you would like me to answer it, just fill out the form below.” Name and email address, and then it has a question: “what is your biggest challenge” with whatever your topic is.

Let’s imagine that my ask page is about content marketing:

“What are your 3 biggest challenges with content marketing”

Then you have a big text box where people can write everything that they want.

You can also do the “3 biggest challenges,” which come from Perry Marshal’s book 80/20 Sales Marketing, about 2/3rds of the way through I think. Perry shares a formula that he and Glen Livingston came and put together, and basically it goes like this:

“What are your 3 biggest challenges?”

“Which of those challenges are you having the most trouble answering?”

And then the last question is, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult has it been to find the answer?”

Get Perry’s book for the exact wording; that’s the gist of it. It works very well for an ask page, or even to send to your email list.

Okay, now I used to use the ask page, straight from Alex, without Perry and Glen’s kind of secret sauce there. I just used to ask, “What are your 5 challenges?” And then I would get the challenges and I would go create a book, I’d write a book, or create an audio, that would just answer those challenges.

To me, that’s the best way to create product. Send out an email, or to do an ask page, that says, “What are your 5 challenges.” You just write down 25 people’s challenges, even if it’s an ask page, with fresh traffic. My goodness, you could run Google AdWords or Facebook traffic, directly to an ask page, and as soon as you have 25 people that have responded with 5 challenges you turn off the advertising. Or, you switch it over to just plain old list building.

Then you write an ebook manual that answers all 125 challenges, you now make this your free giveaway. Would that not blow away every other giveaway, in almost every niche on earth, if you were to do that?

Or use it as a basis for your content or products, like I suggested above. Honestly, you could do all of it, just go into greater and greater depth. This is an incredible way to create something of value in your niche and establish yourself as an expert.

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