As I was putting the finishing touches on my new book, Stop Selling. Start Helping, I kept getting hit with the same concept over and over again. It's something I've known, but it's been reiterated as I've been writing and proofing and editing.
This concept is "answering questions." It's the best way to get new customers.
In the book, I reference a great article in the New York Times, from a few years ago about Marcus Sheridan of River Pools & Spas. The article was titled, "A Revolutionary Marketing Strategy: Answering Customers' Questions". The funniest (or most ironic) part of the whole thing is the title itself - what's "revolutionary" about answering customers' questions?
But, after reading the article and being in the business of content marketing for many years now, what I realize is that, as crazy as it sounds, it really is revolutionary - or innovative, or differentiating, or whatever other word you want to use to describe it.
The traditional sales model says, "answer every question with a question," or "only give just enough information, but not too much; otherwise the buyer might take advantage of you."
How does this HELP the person who's looking for an answer to a question?
It doesn't. That's the problem.
What questions should you be answering? Well, what questions are your prospects and customers asking? You can start with what Marcus Sheridan (aka The Sales Lion) calls "The Big Five" in content marketing.
Here are the top five...
Don't be afraid to address cost and price questions; put it out there.
What is the down side to your product or service? Nothing/no one is perfect. Be transparent. Maybe your widget doesn't work as well in a particular part of the country? Maybe your service is better suited for one industry and not another.
People want to know what's different about your product or service than someone else's. Side-by-side comparisons - honest and transparent ones - are always important to help answer the questions your customers are asking.
People are searching for reviews all the time online. Movie reviews. Product reviews. Restaurant reviews. They are likely looking for reviews on you and your product/service, too. Give it to them. Write reviews on your own products, or have others review your products and post those on your site...the good and the bad. Again, transparency is crucial here.
"What's the best Mexican restaurant in Cleveland?" "What's the best software for accounting?" "What's the best artificial grass company in Dallas?" These are questions that are typed into Google probably every day. If you have the best X in the industry, don't be afraid to say so. If you don't, that's a whole other issue!
(Did you notice the title of this article??)
Answering questions may seem like a no-brainer; but hardly anyone does it - at least not in a transparent way, right on their website or in their marketing materials. It is seriously one of the best ways to get new customers.
These "big five" are a good place to start. And, I know there are more questions your customers are asking.