Jay Conrad Levinson Speaks: Guerrilla Problem-Solving

-Our guest blogger- Jay Conrad Levinson is the author of the best-selling marketing series in history, “Guerrilla Marketing,” plus 30 other books. His books have sold 14 million copies worldwide. His guerrilla concepts have influenced marketing so much that today his books appear in 41 languages and are required reading in many MBA programs worldwide. He was a teacher and sounding board for The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. and Marion Ross, Ph.D.) ; and after many discussions strongly encouraged us to publish a book (soon to be released) designed to assist people who struggle with implementing tools learned in business or entrepreneurial coaching programs due to self-sabotage. For more on Jay Conrad Levinson visit www.gmarketing.com

Guerrilla Problem-Solving

Guerrillas know that it’s easier to sell the solution to a problem than to sell a positive benefit. That’s why they position themselves as problem-solvers.

A well-known axiom of marketing has always been that it is much simpler to sell the solution to a problem than it is to sell a positive benefit. For this reason, guerrillas position their companies to be ace problem-solvers. They home in on the problems confronting their prospects, then offer their products or services as solutions to the problems.

Almost all companies are beset with problems of one sort or another. You job, as a right-thinking guerrilla, is to spot those problems. One of the ways to do this is through networking. Networking is not a time to toot your own trombone, but to ask questions, listen carefully to the answers, and keep your marketing radar attuned to the presence of problems. After learning them, you can contact the prospect and talk about the prospect’s problems and your solutions to those nasty dilemmas.

You can also learn of problems that require solving at trade shows, professional association meetings, prospect questionnaires, and even sales calls.

As you already know, people do not buy shampoo; they buy clean, great- looking hair. That means selling a benefit. A way that some shampoos have achieved profits is by reassuring people that the shampoo cleans hair, then stressing that it solves the problem of unmanageable hair — a benefit and a solution to a problem.

Right now, products and services that are enjoying success are those that help people quit smoking, lose weight, earn more money, improve health, grow hair, eliminate wrinkles, and save time. These are problem-solving products and services.

You can be sure that some of these can also be positioned as offerings that accentuate a positive, but savvy company presidents saw to it that their offerings were positioned as things that could eliminate a negative.

Your biggest job is to be sure your products and services do the same. Perhaps you’ll have to undergo a major repositioning. That’s not bad if it improves your profits. Far more doors will be open to you if you can achieve it.

Maybe you know right off what are the major problems facing your prospects. Your marketing should highlight these problems. Then, it should offer your product or service as the ideal solution. If you don’t know the problems, knock yourself out learning them. Regardless of the benefits you offer, realize that their importance is generally overshadowed by the problems confronting a prospect.

It’s really not that difficult to position your offering as a problem-solver. But once you do, you’ll find that the task of marketing and selling become a whole lot easier in a hurry. You’ll have to examine your offerings in the light of how they affect your prospects. So what if they are state-of-the- art? That pales in comparison with their ability to reduce your prospect’s overhead. So what if they are lower in price than they used to be? That’s nothing compared with their ability to help your prospects combat loneliness.

Those prospects care about saving money, to be sure. But they care far more about feeling alone and unloved. If you can solve that problem for your prospects, buying what you sell will be very easy for them.

Prospects don’t really care about your company; they care about their problems. If you can solve them, then prospects will care a great deal about your company, and they’ll want to buy what you are selling.

Guerrillas lean upon case histories to prove their problem-solving acumen. They make certain to include in their marketing plan both the problem and the solution — to guide those who create marketing materials from wandering off in the wrong direction.

Sales training in guerrilla companies involves a discussion of problems, problem-spotting, problem discussing, and problem-solving. Sales reps learn the nature of prospect problems from one another. Sharing their insights helps the entire company.

Amazingly, even though this all makes sense, many companies are unaware of the importance of problem-solving. They’re so wrapped up in the glories of their product or service that they are oblivious to how well it solves problems. So they sell features and neglect benefits. They sell the obtaining of positives instead of the eliminating of negatives.

Keep the concept of problem-solving alive in your mind, your marketing materials, your sales presentations, and your company mission. Be sure your employees are tuned into the same wave length. Once this happens, I have a feeling that you’re going to be one happy guerrilla.

– For more on Jay Conrad Levinson visit www.gmarketing.com

*Check out The Shift Doctors’ books at the Amazon link by clicking here and the Meditation CDs at the digstation link by clicking here


  1. Great insights. Just last night we were discussing branding and marketing. You have provided benefit to a problem we are facing.

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