Soloman’s Paradox

Imagine this…

One of your closest friends just started their first business. You’re so excited for them and offer to help in any way they need.

They ask if you could audit their new website and give pointers to improve it, to which you happily agree.

You open your browser, type in their URL, and 20 minutes later you’ve got two pages of suggested improvements. 

You can easily spot where customers may get stuck and recommend copy changes that will boost conversions. When you’re done, your friend has an improved value proposition and a shortlist of small changes that you know will drive a big impact.

You email your suggestions to your friend and eagerly await his reply.

Minutes later, your phone rings. 

“Holy crap—this is amazing!” He says. “I knew it could be better but couldn’t find the words myself. How did you do that?”

You pause before answering.

“I don’t know,” you reply. “It just felt easy. I wish I had that much clarity about how to improve my own website. I’ve been tinkering with it for months.”

Why is it so easy to suggest improvements for your friend’s website but when you’re working on your own it feels like you’re climbing Everest?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re taking a look at Soloman’s Paradox  – why other people’s problems seem so much easier to solve than ours.

Let’s get into it…

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The Psychology of Soloman’s Paradox 🧠

King Solomon is the famous ruler Soloman’s Paradox is named after.

He reigned for 40 years and built the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem. He’s gone down in history as one of the (if not THE) wisest men to ever live.

People used to come to the king to help them sort out their problems.

And King Soloman was easily able to figure out the solutions to everybody else’s problems. Yet when it came to his problems, he struggled.

Hence, Solomon’s Paradox.

We can easily dish out advice. But, when it comes to our own issues, it’s harder to find a clear-cut solution.

Yet that doesn’t stop us from continuing to give advice the moment someone else presents their problems to us.

Inside Your Buyer’s Mind 🧐

Your buyers, like you, often fall victim to Soloman’s Paradox.

When faced with a problem in their business or life, they’ll often overthink it and struggle to see solutions that may seem obvious to you.

They doubt themselves and wonder if they’re making the right decisions. From little questions, like the best granola bar to buy, to the larger ones, like which marketing channels to invest in.

It’s easy for other people but THEIR problem is different.

You may sell the perfect solution for their needs, but if you can’t instill confidence that they’re making the right choice, they’ll second-guess the purchase. 

And we all know that’s marketing purgatory.

How To Apply This 🤑

Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?

Help buyers (or your team) reframe their problems

When someone is stuck in their head about a problem, they may struggle to see obvious solutions. 

You can help them to get unstuck by reframing the problem. 

As Phill Agnew shares in his latest podcast episode of NUDGE, Steve Jobs was a master at this. When designing the first version of the iPod, Steve kept pushing his team to make it smaller. The engineers said it was impossible. 

Steve walked over to the corner of his office and dropped the iPod in his fish tank. Little air bubbles came out as it sank to the bottom of the tank.

“See?” Steve said, “There’s air in there which means there’s extra space.”

His engineers were forced to agree. If there was more space, it could be smaller.

Steve cleverly helped them reframe the problem from ‘make it smaller’ to ‘use all available space’.

The result? Apple’s team reduced the size of the iPod and created one of the most iconic advertising campaigns of all time…

Remove friction from the customer experience

Your customers may know what they want to do, but struggle when faced with an unexpected roadblock. 

Your buyers are stuck in their heads about the problem they’re trying to solve. Show them the easy solution by changing the narrative from a problem they’re trying to solve to a problem a friend is trying to solve.

Suddenly, the right answer seems clear because they’re no longer trying to figure it out for themselves.

Nail down buyer hesitations

Don’t think your buyer hesitations are obvious (like time or money). There are lots of hesitations that your buyers aren’t voicing as they go through Solomon’s Paradox.

For example, buyers might not believe THEY can get the result, even though they think someone else easily could.

How do buyers speak about the problem your product solves when it’s related to them and when it’s related to someone else?

Let their hesitations write your copy.

If you don’t know what their hesitations are, try review mining.

Find intellectual sparring partners to challenge and support you

This one is a tip for you. It’s hard to see your own problems objectively. We tend to make them more complicated and place limiting beliefs between ourselves and the easy solution.

Investing in mentors, coaches, and mastermind groups gives you insight into what you previously thought was difficult (but is actually a super simple solution). 

You don’t necessarily need to shell out big bucks to get outside perspective. You can build a peer mastermind of smart people to help you work through problems. I did this last year and it was one of the best decisions I made.

The Short of It 💥

Soloman’s Paradox makes everybody else’s problems look like a breeze, but solving your own feels next to impossible.

The biggest hurdle your buyers overcome is deciding if they will find success with your products.

Use perspective shifts to show them that not only will you solve their problems, but you’ll make it an incredible experience.


Until next time, happy selling.




Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

There are a few ways I can help:

  1. Get explosive clarity about what works with buyers by learning how to conduct 1:1 Clarity Calls (3200+ happy students)
  2. Learn how to mine online reviews from real buyers to generate ideas and copy that converts (400+ happy students)
  3. Book a 1:1 strategy call with Katelyn and get the answers you need to get unstuck and move forward with confidence

Thank you to our featured sponsor

Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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