Steve Gordon | The Curse of the Expert

What makes a potential customer choose your product or service? Your marketing efforts tell your prospects you exist and you have solutions they’re looking for. 

But many business owners focus on the wrong thing in their initial marketing because they don’t understand the mindset of a buyer. In fact, they go after too broad a group… instead of focusing on those who will actually pull out their wallets. 

I reveal how to identify that select group and how to reach them. I also go into…

  • How to tell if you’re “unique” enough in the marketplace
  • A strategy for compelling potential customers to choose you over the competition
  • The primary goal of your “first touch” marketing to prospects
  • 4+ ways to establish yourself as the authority in your niche – and how it pays off
  • And more

Listen now…

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Steve Gordon: Welcome to the Unstoppable CEO Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Gordon. And this is Episode 150. I am so excited to be here. We’ve been doing this podcast now for almost three years. And I want to thank you for being a listener. And thank you for kind of joining us on this journey that we’ve been on. I’ve connected with so many great guests. I’m really grateful for all of them. And I hope along the way, we have shared some wisdom with you that’s helped you in your business, and in some cases, we’ve had folks on that shared great things that might help you in your personal life as well.

And I hope that your business is more prosperous today than it was before you started listening. Again, just really grateful that you’re here. So today we’re going to cover a topic that I’ve been sharing with our clients here lately. And it’s really been interesting to watch how quickly they just get it. And it helps them organize how they approach their marketing, how they approach communicating with potential clients. And what I hope you take away from this today is that, you know, as you go back and look at the marketing that you’re doing now, look at the business development process that you have now.

If you align it with these three buys, these three purchasing decisions that happen through the buying process, that you actually can sort of check things off along the way and know, hey, I made it through buy number one, I made it through by number two, great, I’m on my way to buy number three, and it really will help you make the whole process be more systematic. So let’s dive into it. Alright, we’re going to start with buy number one, and when I say buy, I mean this is a decision that your potential client is making, that they are jumping in and making a mental purchase.

First Buy: Does Their Problem Demand A Solution?

Money isn’t changing hands yet with this very first purchase but in their minds, they’re deciding that they’re going to buy into an idea. And the first idea that you need them to buy into is the idea that they have a problem and the problem is big enough and it has enough impact on their lives on their business, that they need to spend money to solve it. Because the fact of the matter is, we all have problems that we’re not willing to spend a dime to solve. And so if it’s not a big enough problem and an urgent enough problem in their mind, even if you look at it, and say, Oh, my gosh, you’ve got to solve this.

You know, if they don’t buy into that idea, you’re never making a sale and your efforts are wasted. And so the marketing that you do particularly early in the buying process has really got to be focused on getting across the idea that they have a problem, that it’s a big problem because it has serious consequences.

And you’ve got to figure out and use that marketing to sort of sift and sort through everyone in the market to decide who buys into the idea that the problem is important enough to solve because not everyone’s going to. This is a huge mistake people make. This is, I call this the curse of the expert because you get expertise. And there was a time in my career where I fell into this too. You get expertise and you think you know, you look at a situation you think, you know, I know exactly how to solve that problem.

Why don’t they solve it? And the fact of the matter is, they just don’t care enough. And that’s their prerogative. So you only want to deal with prospects who care enough to solve the problem that you’re trying to solve. Okay, so the first buy they need to make is they need to buy into the idea to they have a problem and that it’s important enough for them to try and solve. And If you can’t get them to buy that, it’s going to be really hard to get them to become a client. So that’s the first buy.

Second Buy: You

All right, the second buy is they’ve got a buy you. And I would, I would argue that this may be the most important of all of the three, they need to buy into the idea that you’re the one who can uniquely solve their problem for them. You’re the one they want, and that they want you to the exclusion of any and every other competitor for whatever reason, whether it’s relationship with you, whether you have such a unique approach, whether you’re more trustworthy, whether they just liked your brand, whatever the reason is, and you’ve got to give them compelling reasons.

But you want them to buy into you. And this is huge. I mean, if you’ve ever heard somebody say, Oh, yeah, I got a guy for that, or Yeah, I got somebody for that. That’s them buying into someone as a solution provider. And they’re not even looking at other alternatives. That’s a powerful position to be in. And you want to do everything you can to engineer things so that you’re in that position. And the way that we tend to do that when we’re working with a business is that we’re going to create what we call a pre-sale presentation.

And in that pre-sale presentation, and we’re probably going to do some other things as well but at a minimum, we’re going to do this pre-sale presentation. And in that presentation, it’s designed to not only present the problem and the dire consequences that are related to that problem, but to really position you as the expert and the solution and the only solution. And to differentiate the solution that you have by giving it a name, by creating defined steps for it, by making it a process that they can see and making it more tangible than it is.

All of those things contribute to the prospect buying you as the one that they want to work with. Now, that’s not the only thing you want to do. To me, that’s the first and easiest sort of entry point. Over time, you want to do some other things though, to get them to buy you. And some of the best things that you can do are create a book because it establishes your authority and allows you to make the full case for both the problem and your solution and you as the preeminent expert. You want to have articles that are published not only on your site, but elsewhere.

You want to appear in the media, whether that’s on podcasts or TV or radio or wherever. All of those things help contribute to them seeing you as this unique solution that’s just for them. And it’s not enough just to have those appearances, but you want to bring those out and use them in your marketing. So that, you know, they’re very aware that you are the expert in solving this particular problem for people just like them.

And if you can get them to buy into the fact you’re the one, now when you get to the third buy, when they’re across the table from you, and you’re describing, you know, what it would be like to work with you, they’ve already bought. They already know they want to work with you it becomes so much easier. So let’s take a look at that third buy, and this is the one everybody loves. So let’s go there next.

Third Buy: Apply Your Unique Solution

All right, here we are at buy number three. This is the big one. This is the one everybody loves. It makes you happy, it makes your bank account fatter. It’s where they write the check. They sign the contract. And, of course, this is where we want to get to. But it’s the result of taking care of those first two buys. It’s the result of getting them to buy into the idea that they have a problem and there’s a solution, a viable solution to it. And it’s getting them to buy into the idea that you’re the one who is uniquely positioned to help them.

And if you’ve done those two things, then by the time you’re there with them in that sales conversation, it really just boils down to the specifics of how are you going to apply the solution to them, and what are the terms of the deal? And when you’re at that stage, and they’ve already bought into the fact that you’re the one for them, everything’s easy.

You don’t have to be a master closer. You don’t have to memorize some crazy sales script. You don’t have to know how to flip every objection that’s going to come at you because you’ve already taken care of all of this already. And at this stage is going to be very, very easy. And I’m a big fan of making sales easy.

And this is really the key is you’ve got to take care of all three of these stages. And most people don’t do that. They focus only on that very last one. And so you get yourself in situations where you’re across the table from somebody who’s not properly prepared. They haven’t been pre-sold. They don’t really understand the problem that they have. They don’t really understand all of the consequences of it. They don’t understand the solution that you’re going to offer. And so, you know, they show up and they want to be pitched. So give me your best pitch.

And, you know, tell me what you have to offer and then I’ll go away and I’ll think about and I’ll compare that to everything else. You’re dead at that point. You know, at that point, they’ve already told you that you’re no different than any of the competitors, you’re a commodity solution and they just need to know, kind of, what you’re going to do for them so that they can go and compare it to somebody else. You don’t want to be there. So if you take care of these other things, you get to have as a result of that, a very different experience in sales.

And I want to encourage you to think about how you can go back and how you can address that first buy. How can you go back and address in the communication that you’re giving to your prospects? How can you address that problem? How can you show them that the problem is important enough for them to actually pay attention to and solve? What are the consequences that maybe they haven’t thought of? The implications of not solving that problem that they haven’t thought of? And how can you educate them on that? And then what can you do to position yourself uniquely? Lots of ways to be unique, but the key is you’ve got to be unique.

And so how can you position yourself uniquely in the marketplace? And it’s not as difficult as you think it is but it does require a little bit of thought and a little bit of intentionality. I shouldn’t say that. Actually, it requires a lot of intentionality. Most of your competitors are not going to be unique in any particular way. Your job is to be intentional enough with how you’re communicating what you do and the value you offer that you are seen as unique. When you do that, and then when you take them through a pre-sale process, particularly when it is positioned just before the sales appointment.

In other words, they go through a presentation or some other focused session where they’re getting some information before they meet with you. Now you’ve got them properly prepared to have a sales conversation where you can help them. You’re not just making a sale, you’re there to help them. And if they’re not properly prepared to make a decision that’s in their best interest then how have you really helped them?

How have you really served them? So what you should think about how you can go back and build some of those things in and I would love to hear, as you apply these things, what you’ve done. Feel free to reach out, email me, and let me know what you’re doing. My email is I would love to hear how you’re applying some of these ideas. With that, that is a wrap on the 150th episode of The unstoppable CEO Podcast.

Thanks again for being here. Thanks again for being a listener. And I would love it, at this stage, if you go and leave a rating or review on iTunes. You can do that by going to and it’ll take you to where you can leave a rating or review, and that’ll just help other people find the podcast. Thanks for being with us on the journey. I can’t wait to see what comes over the next 150. Stay unstoppable.