They Ask, You Answer cover image
My Rating: 3/5

They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan

High-Level Summary

A refreshing take on how to create content that matches modern buying habits. A solid read for inbound marketers, but not a classic by any stretch.


The Big 5 Types of Content

  1. Pricing and Costs
  2. Problems
  3. Versus and Comparisons
  4. Reviews
  5. Best in Class

The CarMax Effect

CarMax did two things other used car companies weren't wiling to do:

  1. Admit their industry had a problem because consumers didn't trust them
  2. Ask themselves how to re-earn consumer trust

Businesses who listen to the consumer and change their business model in response set the new, standard rules for their space.

Today's greatest rule-making companies are obsessed with consumer fear. Why? They know if they can eliminate fears and negative emotions from the buying process — the only response remaining is trust.

Action: Brainstorm every single fear, worry, question & concern that would cause a customer to not buy from your company.

Pricing & Costs

Consumers get frustrated and upset when they can't find pricing because they know the business has the answer. It feels like your business is hiding it from them (and they'll assume it's probably not for a good reason!)

Marcus found, "Fewer than 10 percent of all businesses in the world (not including e-commerce) address pricing and costs on their company website."

The main reason why companies hide pricing?

  1. They say every solution is "different" and prices vary. (Explain the rationale — the why — anyways! That's all people want.)
  2. They're worried competitors will find out. (Competitors already know. This is a bad reason.)
  3. They think they'll scare customers away. (Wrong. Prices scare bad-fit, unqualified customers away.)

In the experience of Marcus' agency, The Sales Lion, the #1 content-type that drove traffic, leads and sales for more than 80% of clients was related to money. Costs or salaries also count.

Action: List the major products you sell. Identify the biggest revenue opportunities. Produce at least one article and video for each revenue opportunity explaining costs, industry expectations, and where your company falls. Publish to your website and make it highly visible. Apply to your sales process.

Address the elephant in the room

Consumers aren't dumb or ignorant. They'll find out about your problems anyways — so be up front.

Allow your consumer to discover your "elephant" problem immediately so you can frame it as an opportunity to build trust, rather than lost it.

Action: Determine what the competition says is negative about your offering. Determine what buyers see as negatives about your products. Ask yourself how to address each concern honestly to turn it into an advantage.

Versus and Comparisons

Remember: Consumer ignorance is no longer a viable sales and marketing strategy.

Action: Write down every question you've ever received from a prospect or customer asking you to compare two or more things.

Use disarmament to your advantage.

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