“The Answer is…”—Asking the Right Questions

Answers. They’re Everywhere. Everyone Has One. Everyone Needs One.

But what are the questions?

When I started in sales three decades ago I thought that having all of the answers to the
questions were the keys to success. I quickly learned that I had it entirely backward.

That’s the beauty of life – failing, learning, refining, adapting.

Focusing on perfecting your answers to anticipated questions is not the way it works. Sales and marketing folks fall prey to this all of the time. Thinking…” if I memorialize and perfect the answers to any objection then I’ve done my job,” only to become bewildered by the lack of effectiveness of this strategy.

What people really want is questions that enlighten, evoke, uncover and ignite their desire for a resolution – hopefully one that your product or service can fulfill.

Voltaire summed it up perfectly, “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”

Here’s what I’ve found in my journey – the best answer is most often a great question.

Question the Questions

One of the biggest companies in the world, Google, has made a market in answers.

It’s estimated that Google provides 70,000 answers to search queries every second – that’s
roughly 5.8 billion answers delivered each day!

Everyone is Searching for Answers

In 2019, here are the top ten most asked questions and the average monthly search volume
according to keywordtool.io:

  1. When are the NBA Playoffs? – 6,000,000
  2. What is my IP address? – 4,090,000
  3. Where’s my refund? – 3,350,000
  4. What is love? – 1,830,000 (baby don’t hurt me… couldn’t resist)
  5. How to draw? – 1,500,000
  6. Where am I? – 1,220,000
  7. How many weeks in a year? – 823,000
  8. When are the early signs of pregnancy? – 673,000
  9. Is mercury in retrograde? – 550,000
  10. Who called me? – 450,000

Source: https://keywordtool.io/blog/most-asked-questions

Hmm, that begs a few more questions…Why are these the top ten most asked questions and most importantly, why are 550,000 people asking “is mercury in retrograde” per month? If not now, when?

Let’s ask Google some for answers regarding my favorite subject, marketing:

  • What is marketing? – 7,030,000,000 results
  • Best marketing strategies? – 703,000,000 results
  • What is branding? – 8,730,000,000 results
  • Social media marketing? – 3,050,000,000 results
  • Best marketing channels? – 342,000,000 results

What if we asked a different type of question instead?

  • What is a value proposition? – 196,000,000 results

Do you find it surprising that a question about how value is created, delivered, promised, and executed is the least asked question among the group?

Brands, there is an important lesson to be learned here!

  • First, start with them, (your customer,) not you.
  • Second, ask questions that seek answers on how to best serve them, not you.

What are the questions that “they” ask, that keep them up at night?

“Sometimes the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple.”

Dr. Seuss

You’ll discover the marketing magic when you start asking the right questions.

The answers are the questions.

The Power of Reciprocity

Google the word reciprocity and you’ll find a mere 39,800,000 results.

Brands pay close attention – this is pure gold.

While marketers chase the answers to questions like “best marketing strategies” you have an opportunity to educate, practice, and deliver reciprocity if that’s a question you dare to ask.

“Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life—is not reciprocity such a word?”


Reciprocity is a philosophy of mutual benefit and exchange of privileges. The best examples
are when you give the market and your desired audience something of value first with no
expectation in return.

Best of all, it’s rewarding.

If you make it a rule of business then the market will reward you in time, and your brand will develop deep relationships and long-lasting partnerships.

The Golden (Marketing) Rule

A close cousin to reciprocity is the golden rule – the principle of treating others as you want to be treated.

Want to turbocharge goodwill, earn trust and be of invaluable service?

Practice the golden rule with a twist. The twist is to treat your customers BETTER than you
want to be treated.

Do this by giving them more VALUE than you expect to receive in return.

And it’s not just about dollars, think of it more as (uncommon) sense. You can give your time, knowledge, experience, consultation, guidance, or whatever you have at your disposal to create added value for your customer.

Create a remarkable customer experience and they’ll keep coming back.

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