Being an expert can separate you from those you are trying to serve.

When talking to your customer about the problem they face, they can get stuck in the difficulty. It’s up to you to describe the better future that they can expect, after working with you.

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Sharing a step-by-step journey can be comforting to your customer, especially if they are intimidated by all your jargon. They will feel most confident in proceeding with a solution if you are using words they understand.

Because you are an expert, you know sophisticated language that doesn’t resonate with your target market.

Your customers phrase their pain in beginners language. If you’re smart, you’ll do the same.

problem solution

Beginners language is not exactly a foreign language, but it is not how you tend to think about the problem. If you take your computer in to the repair shop, they will lose a customer if they stick to jargon. Before you leave your device with a stranger, you need to be sure they empathize with your struggle.

Beginners language is the bridge between experts and customers. You might not know the language your customers are using, but you can access it, if you survey your customers.

Ask by Ryan Levesque

In his book Ask: The Counterintuitive Online Formula to Discover Exactly What Your Customers Want to Buy, Ryan Levesque tells the story of the 1-Question Survey. He’s used this survey on more than 2.8 million leads across 19 industries, and has generated 175k customers by asking them this question:

What’s the biggest challenge you have with _________?

The way someone answers this question will give you headline phrases.

This is the beginner’s language that you might not see.

I have run a survey for a couple of years that starts with this simple question: ‘What’s the hardest part about marketing yourself?’ Some of the responses include:

  • What is the best way to stand out from the crowd consistently?
  • How personal should I get in telling my story?
  • How do I rise above all the noise in the marketplace?
  • How do I make marketing simpler, actionable and less overwhelming?

I can rewrite these survey responses into a series of headlines:

  • The best way to stand out from the crowd consistently
  • Personal brands: get personal in telling your story!
  • Rise above the noise in the marketplace
  • Make your marketing simpler, actionable, and less overwhelming

I would not have written any of these headlines myself. It’s only by asking my audience this simple survey that I gained access to this beginner’s language.

If you’d like to see my full survey (and share your thoughts?) go to