An interesting question came up today on a Mindshare group coaching call.
The topic was essentially why someone’s long-form educational content via email wasn’t converting any leads—even though the list was big enough to think it would.
If you tend to teach hard with your content, this might be for you.
You’re writing for the wrong audience
If you’re consulting, the people hiring you are in a leadership role—i.e. CEOs or other executives.
Those people don’t want to get deep down in the technical weeds. They want to know if the problem affects them, and if so, how to approach solving it.
If, on the other hand, you are trying to sell to people who do the execution work, then you can give away parts of the solution as a deep-dive technical article or email. Implementers like step-by-step instruction.
Most consultants are trying to reach leaders, not implementers. Thus we need to focus on the former kind of content.
Problem identification vs. solution instruction
To sell to executives, you want to help people identify the problems that may exist and then tell them what to do, not necessarily all the details on how to do it.
It’s not that you’re trying to withhold anything to make them hire you. It’s simply that they’re too busy and/or disinterested in learning the technical solution.
They’ll tune you out if you try.
That’s because the implementation part is not their job. Their job is uncovering problems and getting them solved in the best way possible.
People will generally trust you can help if you can help solve the problem if you can clearly identify and articulate it.
It’s just like how I don’t want to learn what steps to take to file my tax return or reconcile my books each month. I’d prefer to delegate that to my tax professional.
The people you want to speak to also don’t want to learn all the technical details of what you do. They just need to understand the problem so someone like you can fix it for them.
But first, they have to be aware of the problem. It’s your job to educate them about it at the leadership level.
The key mindset here is to operate like a peer, not a contractor.
If you’re trying to overly teach the implementation side, your content will resonate with people who implement. And those people aren’t likely to hire you.
But if you can articulate a problem people have better than they can—and explain how it affects their business in terms they care about—you are much more likely to resonate with the buyer.
And if you resonate with the buyer, you’re more likely to have them consume your ideas and eventually hire you.
Speak the language of your buyer and guide them at their level of thinking. The leadership and strategy level.
You do that by writing as a peer, not a contractor.
That’s how you get hired as a peer, not just a contractor.