How many times have you asked someone if they can help solve a problem you have?  Instead they fixate on what they can do – rather than address your problem.

The old saw (excuse the pun) is that to a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

When we have a problem, we usually try to break down the solution into a series of tasks that can lead us to resolution.  But problems usually require some creativity to solve, or they aren’t problems.  So if you can only stick to your own knitting, you aren’t much good at solving a perplexing problem.

I recall meeting with the President of a large retail store that was about to launch.  He had already spoken with a couple very large agencies.  He asked me what he should budget to have an effective opening year.  I gave what I thought was a reasonable figure based on his volume expectations.  He told me that the large agencies had all told him that he needed $5 million dollars.

I chuckled.

He asked me why.

I told him that the large agencies needed the account to be $5 million for it to be a profitable account for them to manage.  So the answer to his question wasn’t really his answer, it was their qualifier. They were telling him about what they could do, not what would solve his problem.

Most of us have had problems around their homes.  We had a leak in our basement.  We interviewed many companies to try to address this problem.  All of them told us how they could dig around the foundation of our house and reseal it.  They told us about their process and what they did.  Almost none told us that they would find where a leak occurred and plug it up.

This happens a lot with advertising and particularly websites.  Companies love to tell us what they do, hoping it will be the hammer to our nail and that we will figure that out.  Often we can.

But a company that tells us how they can solve our problems has a much more compelling and powerful message for us.  We are, after all, looking for results.

We have fallen in love with the process and media instead of the results.  Content generation, lead generation, sure they are needed but they are only the process towards a goal.  Stop falling in love with taking a step but not caring where you are going.  Otherwise you may be taking a long walk off of a short wharf.

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