How to Know Exactly What Prospects Want — Without Hocus Pocus

Remember that movie with Mel Gibson playing a male chauvinist pig who magically acquires the superpower to “hear” women’s thoughts?

I just heard a real-life version of that story. 

Both the real-life and Hollywood versions reveal a ton about marketing. 

The real-life story features a marketing guy named Ben Settle who, like Gibson’s character, has a certain reputation with lots of women.

He positions himself as a “guy’s guy. He doesn’t pull punches. And many women don’t like it. (Lots of guys don’t like it, too). That doesn’t bother him a bit. 

Years ago, Ben was hired to write ads for a weight-loss product targeting women. 

He couldn’t write in his guy’s-guy voice to sell to this market, and he knew it would be difficult for him to simply adopt the voice of his target market. 

So here’s what he did…

He began to hang out in public forums on social media where his target market resides.

He spent a lot of time in one called 3FatChicks.com (their name, not his), which is a real place and is well-loved by the women who gather there. 

He simply hung out and he listened.

Over time, he picked up countless stories from the women about what they want and what they dread.

And he heard lots of stories. 

Those were the stories he weaved into the copy he wrote for the product. 

And he sold that weight loss product like crazy. 

If you remember that movie, “What a Girl Wants,” you’ll recall that Mel Gibson did the same thing.

He “listened” to what women were thinking, what they wanted, what they dreaded, and he used that information to write an advertising pitch that landed a big contract with Nike. 

I’m not suggesting you magically weasel your way inside women’s heads. 

I’m suggesting that you watch and listen and learn.

Go hang out where your prospects gather — on public websites, social media, in letters-to-the-editor sections of their favorite publications.

Listen to the podcasts they love.

Visits the websites they visit…

…And you’ll hear their stories.

You’ll discover what they want.

You’ll discover what they dread. 

If you have a product or service that can give them what they want or protect them from what they dread,…

…you’ll have everything you need to craft stories that sell…

…Because the star of your business story is not the product or services you sell.

The star of your business story is not you.
The star of your business story is your prospect or customer. The best business stories reflect what they want or what they dread. 

If Ben Settle placed himself at the center of the business story, his ads would have flopped.

Those don’t care about him, and many don’t like him.

But he knew better. 

When I heard Ben tell his 3FatChicks story, he quoted the great copywriter David Garfinkel who once said, “It’s not the problem that matters. It’s how the market describes the problem.” 

Same goes for the other side of the coin — what your prospects want.

It’s not the dream that matters.
It’s how the market describes the dream.


If you remember that, if you listen in on how the market describes the problem — and the dream — you’ll be a better marketer, and you’ll sell more. 

Thanks for reading.


p.s. I can help you craft and deliver powerful stories that attract leads, keep them tuned in, and inspire them to act. If you’d like to discuss how I can help, schedule a 15-minute consultation with me and we can discuss the possibilities.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.