A Disturbing Truth Every Business Needs To Know

by NK // in Communication

Poison Ivy is a problem...

And there is a valuable business lesson you can learn from it

Years ago, my daughter Jilly got poison ivy.  She is highly allergic. 

Her arm was itching so badly she was almost in tears. She tried to think about not itching it.  That made it itch worse...

She asked if scratching it really made it spread.  This wasn't Jilly’s first dance with poison ivy.  It seems like if she just looks at poison ivy she gets a rash.

“If it itches so much, how am I supposed to stop scratching so it can go away?”

With all her itchiness she couldn’t remember what we had used in the past. She didn’t even think to ask about calamine lotion or cortisone cream. 

When you have bad poison ivy you are consumed with the infernal itching. 

You are not consumed with how great calamine lotion or cortisone cream is.  They will help, but it is hard to see past the itching.

A Welcome Solution

We applied some cortisone cream and the itching stopped.  She first asked why it burned a little, then before we could answer she said, “Oh wow, it stopped itching.”  

Then she forgot all about the itching and the cream, for a while.  

After a few hours she said her arm was itching again.  She still didn’t remember to ask for the cream.  We reminded her that scratching it would make it worse. Then we asked her if she wanted some more cream.

“Oh yes, that stuff made the itching go away.”

Once again the itching stopped.  And once again, a few hours later the itching started again.  This time she remembered the cream. 

After we applied it and the itching stopped she asked a question.  “If I don’t scratch the poison ivy will it eventually go away?”  

“Yes of course.” 

Jilly’s reply, “Then I love that cream. What is it called?” She went on to ask, “How much can I put on at one time?  Do I have to wait until it starts itching to use it again?

She not only cares.  She loves it.  Now she is consumed with the product rather than the itching.


Because the cream represents a way to fix her all-consuming, poison ivy problem.

The Disturbing Truth:  
Nobody Cares About You.

 Okay, not you as a human being...

There are plenty of people that love you and care about you. On the other hand, your brand is irrelevant.”

Nobody really cares what you do, what innovative products and services you provide.  No one cares what amazing new features only you offer.  They certainly don’t care about the colors and logo you use for branding.

I hear you.

That applies to most businesses, but you are the only one of your kind.  If people just knew how awesome your methods are…

They don’t know because they don’t care.  They don’t care because they don’t understand how you can solve their problem. (It doesn’t go without saying.)

Think about it. Truth be told, you don’t care either.

You are not reading this because you love our business, product, or service. Chances are you don’t even know what we offer.  That is because it doesn’t matter. 

Not yet anyway.  

So why are you reading this now?  Most likely you were intrigued by the headline, or someone recommended it.

If our title was “We Are Awesome.” Would you be reading this now? Probably not. 

You are not reading this because of how awesome we are.  We are pretty awesome by the way. But that is not why you are reading this.

You are reading this because you want to make sure you give your business every advantage.  If there is a disturbing truth, you want to know about it so you can adjust accordingly. If there are solutions you want to know what they are.  

There are plenty of people that haven’t read this far. Most people. In fact, reading this article says a lot about you as a business owner. 

You are obviously more willing than most to face a hard truth in order to improve your business. It says you have a desire to constantly improve. It says you are open to criticism if it makes your business better. 

Why Should You Care?

The fact that you are reading this means that you do care. But not about us. You care about the success of your business.  There really is no reason for you to care about us.

But, if we can help your business be more successful, you might just pay attention to us.  

If we use that attention to help you some more, you might start to trust us. If you trust us, we can help you a lot.  Then, when we help you a lot, you might just care about us.  

By now you understand that you don’t matter. Hopefully, you are also beginning to see how you can become the exception to this rule. 

How to get your customers to love you.

Put your client’s symptoms first and help them take the necessary baby steps to relieve the itchy, annoying, or painful experience associated with their problem.

5-Step Formula

  1. Identify struggles and symptoms your prospect or client is facing and you might get their attention.
  2. Give your customers a sample of your solution and you might get their trust. 
  3. When you have their trust, identify and diagnose their real problems as their expert guide.
  4. As their expert guide, convert them to an in-depth solution to their real problem. 
  5. If you solve their real problem, they might just love you.


We used a story about poison ivy to give an example of how hard it can be to consider a solution when you are consumed by a problem.

And to show that it’s the annoying symptoms that get us to look for a solution in the first place.  

We need to meet our prospects where they are by addressing their symptoms and then guiding them step-by-step to a real solution.

Let's innovate the experience of doing business with your brand and turn clients in to raving fans, eager and excited to help you spread your message and change the world.

Let's do the darn thing!

About the author 


As a brand messaging and conversion specialist, I make sure your marketing works harder for you than you work for it!

"Great Marketing Delivers Your Message To The Right People At The Right Time. Great Messaging Delvers You The Right Clients - Ready-To-Buy!"

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