Part 1 – Why a Problem Elevator May Be Your Problem

February 8th, 2014 by Matthew Rosenhaft Leave a reply »

If you told me a few weeks ago that my world would hinge on the word “problem” and a lot of the challenges I was having in driving understanding of our business would be based upon the lack of clarity as to what a problem really is, I would have been shocked.

I routinely ask my friends and contacts, “what problem do you solve and for whom”. I usually get a surprised look, a pause, and then something that resembles a value statement. But, it wasn’t till this week that I realized that the word “problem” had a different context. Talk about a loaded word.

When I have been using the word “problem”, I have been asking the question from an uneducated buyer’s perspective. “If I had never heard of your industry, let alone your company, what problem would I come to you for?” But, that has been interpreted as “How we do what we do that helps you.”

Now back to an original theme that I have written about over the last few weeks. Most companies sell into an established market. The problem/pain path is relatively well understood by the buyer; otherwise they wouldn’t be in the market to buy. For most of us, we short-hand the category “I am in specialty automotive parts”, “I am a personal injury attorney”, or “I sell “Enterprise Security Software”. Then we give our why we are different than what they do today. “I specialize in car accidents; we have the latest sprocket-widget-nano-precision-thing; or we have software that does intrusion detection at 4 parts per million while everyone else is at 3 parts. For the more mature industries, they just hand the Gartner/Forrester industry report that shows they are the winner/up-and-coming/or cheaper specialist in the market.

Works for the vast majority of potential buyers that you meet as they category + different/better is enough to get you in the interest box. But, this isn’t really a “problem”. Not really a problem description in itself, not really a problem for most of the potential buyers they meet, but what if you don’t have a quasi-educated buyer, or a market yet, or even an understanding of what problems they buyers are really trying to figure out on their end. How do they recognize they have a problem that you solve?

Problem Elevator Example

Matthew Rosenhaft

Matthew is a Social Marketing Executive and is co-founder of Social Gastronomy, LLC and the Social Executive Council. Prior to founding Social Gastronomy, Matthew has over 18 years’ experience as an executive in marketing, product management, and sales. Matthew has an extensive background in the SaaS Software, Social Media, Mobile, IT Services, and Telecom industries. He has prior entrepreneurial experience as a founder and executive in several early-stage venture-backed technology companies, as well as, holds several US patents for a mobile marketing technology. Matthew is a prominent blogger and regular industry speaker on social marketing and strategy topics. Matthew’s blog can be found at For more information on Matthew, you can check out his LinkedIn profile at or contact him directly at