IKEA, and giving your clients solutions that work


At the first glance, Ikea’s 2016 ad campaign seems quite unorthodox. The company launched a website “Retail Therapy”, renaming some of its popular products to match the common Google searches in Sweden.

“my boyfriend doesn’t see me” – a lantern for candle
“deal with tangled relationship” – a cable management box, and more

Here’s one of my favorites:

While it may seem gimmicky at first, Ikea taps into something profound – we do not buy products or services. We buy solutions to our problems.

I work with many personal trainers, nutritionists, dieticians, strength coaches and other health and fitness professionals. Many of them struggle with selling their services. It is frustrating to hear yet another friend complain about recent weight gain, yet seemingly not doing anything about it. Meanwhile, you HAVE THE SOLUTION! If clients only did what they were told!

Start with the client, not yourself. What are the problems that your clients experience? What are the solutions to these problems?

Now, go a step further. You need to come up not just with solutions, but solutions that your clients are ready, able and willing to implement.

If the problem is stress, the solution very well may be “quit your stressful job”, or “meditate for an hour every day”. However, if your client is not ready, able and willing to implement either of these solutions, they are useless to the client.

If you have a solution to your client’s problem that the client has trouble implementing, you do not have a solution. Not yet. [*Notice, this is one of the reasons the common advice of “eating less, and moving more” is rarely useful – not actionable, and not taking into account where your clients are at.]

Ikea continues to be successful because their thoughtful design is inspired by how people actually live in everyday world. What about the solutions YOU provide? Are they “everyday life proof”?

YOUR TURN: Chances are you work with clients, no matter what field you are in. What are some of the problems your customers experience? What are the obvious solutions that YOU see to these problems? What are the solutions that your clients are ready, able and willing to implement? Notice the gap between the last two? 


*Thanks so much, Rohan, for inspiring this post! 

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