Encourage discomfort

The most significant leaps in personal growth usually don’t occur in an environment of comfort. Discomfort, when used correctly, is a powerful tool that can often bring out the best in those you work with. Discomfort can also be used as a powerful marketing tool to convert prospects into customers. So what kind of marketing messages can you use to encourage discomfort?

Turning discomfort into sales. When you reverse-engineer the path to completing a sale, you’ll realize that you’re actually solving a problem for your customers. You’re removing some element of discomfort. Your customers have a problem, and you’ve positioned you and your company as the solution.

Reveal the Problem. When you reveal the problem you can solve, look for ways to encourage discomfort in your marketing message. Here’s an example:

“Losing sleep because you’re behind schedule in preparing your next printing project? Deadlines are our specialty. We can help.” Your customer’s prep work is behind schedule and their printing might not be completed on time. That’s a problem. But it’s one you can identify and use in your marketing messages.

Encourage discomfort. Sometimes revealing the problem isn’t enough. Try agitating that problem just a little bit. This is the part where you’re encouraging discomfort. You don’t want the customer to think that it’s business as usual with this problem. You want them to realize that the discomfort is holding them back from their success. Back to our example – a customer behind schedule with printing project. That’s a problem. And if you reinforce that discomfort, then you’re bringing that customer one step closer to realizing its severity. But it also means you’re helping to move him or her one huge step closer to the solution.

You’re the solution. And now we arrive at the most important part of encouraging discomfort: It’s time to reveal the solution that resolves that discomfort – YOU! “Deadlines are our specialty. We can help.” Who would turn down help with hitting a deadline? If you’re able to reveal a problem and then encourage discomfort to the point where your customers are ready to do something to address it, then you can also position yourself as the ideal solution.

A warning. Be forewarned that a marketing message that encourages discomfort can come across as gimmicky or even unethical in extreme cases. There’s a point at which encouraging discomfort crosses the line from revealing a truth to becoming a psychological ‘stunt.’ The people receiving your encourage discomfort message are smart enough to know the difference.  All you need to do is reveal the problem, encourage discomfort, and be the solution. Don’t try to be clever or tricky. Your audience will see right through it. (I’m curious; did that warning make you feel some discomfort?) The discomfort formula is as simple as this – reveal a problem, encourage discomfort, and be the solution. Take a look at your current marketing messages and see if it’s time to alter them to fit this formula.

Example: Encourage discomfort with re-order reminders. Here’s a basic example of how you might apply the discomfort formula. Towards the end of a box of envelopes, remind your customers that they may run out of their standard envelopes if they don’t reorder soon. Then encourage more discomfort by reminding them that being without envelopes could cause a disruption in their flow of business. Finally, be the solution by offering an early-order discount that not only saves them a few dollars but also ensures that business will continue to flow normally.

Review your message. So, how’s your marketing message? Are you revealing a problem your prospects and customers are currently experiencing? Is the problem being presented to convince them see YOU as the solution? If not, you might be the one feeling some of that discomfort!