by Steve Phipps

How “They Ask, You Answer” Wins the Sale and Educates Customers

August 4, 2023 | Marketing, Uncategorized

Customer expectations have transformed dramatically in the digital age. So has the sales process. Consumers no longer rely solely on sales pitches and advertisements; they are seeking valuable information and transparency. This shift in consumer behavior has led to the emergence of a powerful, inbound marketing and sales framework known as They Ask, You Answer. 

When customers have questions, they often turn to search engines for answers. By aligning your content with their queries, you can improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and increase organic traffic to your website. 

What if you could harness your potential customers’ curiosity and become their go-to, trusted source of information?

More importantly, by proactively addressing customer questions and providing insightful, unbiased answers, businesses can establish trust, build credibility, and drive significant growth. 

In this blog post, we will delve into why answering your customers’ questions using They Ask, You Answer can be a game-changer for your business.

B2B Buyer’s Journey By the Numbers

Before the internet, buyers relied heavily on the expertise of a salesperson to be their chief informant during the buying process. There was simply no other place to obtain detailed information or get questions answered. Now with the world in the palm of our hands (literally), buyers can access information 24/7 without the pressure of someone trying to close the deal. 

Let’s learn about these shifts by looking at numbers from Worldwide Business Research (WBR.)

  • B2B buyers are 57% – 70% through their buying research before contacting sales.
  • Nine out of ten B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions.
  • 67% percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.
  • 62% of B2B buyers say a web search was one of the first three resources they use to learn about a solution.
  • 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information from a series of articles versus an advertisement.

Customers are looking for solutions and unbiased information (i.e., no sales BS) to make purchasing decisions.

They Ask You, You Answer: Establishing Trust and Building Credibility

It may sound counterintuitive to shift your focus from sales to solutions, but customers are looking online for how to solve a problem.

So what is They Ask, You Answer?

It is a framework for establishing your company as the trusted voice in your space. Trust is the foundation of any successful customer-business relationship. By answering your customers’ questions openly and honestly, you demonstrate your expertise and willingness to help. This transparency positions you as a reliable source of information. When customers perceive you as trustworthy, they are more likely to engage with your brand and make purchase decisions.

When customers have questions, they often turn to search engines for answers. By aligning your content with their queries, you can improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and increase organic traffic to your website. 

Answering questions through various mediums, such as blog posts, social media, or video content, allows you to cater to different customer preferences. By diversifying your content delivery, you can engage a wider audience and maximize your reach.

We get it, radical honesty can feel a little uncomfortable if your mindset has always been to convince your clients that you are the only option. While this tactic might work with a client at the bottom of the sales funnel over a lunch meeting, it’s not that strategy that drives new digital prospects. Your future customers are looking for answers. Why not draw them to your website to get them?

Take a moment and think about a recent purchase you made – something significant. Did you want to be sold or did you want clear answers? When you wanted to know the price, did you want to sit through a sales spiel, or did you simply want the information? If you’re like most buyers, you want the information so you can make the best decision for you.

Now that you know why you should address questions head-on, give a quick overview of They Ask, You Answer’s Big 5 blog topics so you know what to write about.

They Ask, You Answer: Big Five Blog Topics

Inbound marketing draws qualified prospects to you as they are searching for answers to questions or solutions to problems. The They Ask, You Answer Big 5 blog topics were chosen based on research about what information customers are looking for. Tackling these topics gives you a headstart over your competitors in the buyer’s journey.

1. Cost and Pricing

Your customers are searching for pricing information online whether you provide it or not. When B2B customers can’t find it on your website they leave frustrated and search elsewhere. 

How Much Does it Cost. Business concept. Text on white notepad paper on light background

We get it, you’re likely thinking one (or all!) of the following things:

What if our prices scare them away? (Well, if they can’t afford your product wouldn’t you rather qualify or disqualify them now rather than further down the sales funnel?)

Won’t our competitors see our prices? (Chances are they might have an idea anyway. And if they are discussing cost on their website they already have a leg up.)

But our pricing isn’t completely straightforward. (Selling a B2B service is not like selling a t-shirt that is priced the same whether it’s XS or XL. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t provide information about ranges or base prices. You can also explain what goes into determining the price so you’re buyers are fully educated.

We’ve written a pricing blog for Wayfind Marketing if you’d like an idea of how it’s done. Read more. 

2. Problems (and Solutions)

Customers are looking for solutions every day. You’ve likely searched for a solution to your own problem: why your car is making a strange noise or how to fix a minor plumbing issue in your home. 

However, not every problem has a DIY solution. This is where you come in. When you anticipate your customers’ problems and answer their questions, you have the potential to position your business as the solution. (The reality is your product or service might not be the right fit for every customer. And that’s okay.)

Consider a small business that has been managing its own IT. If you’re an IT service provider you have an opportunity to share useful content to help that business owner troubleshoot monitor issues. Supposed that same business has had its operations disrupted by a network failure that they can’t fix. To borrow a line from a movie classic, “Who you gonna call?” Chances are, now that they are out of their league, they will turn to a trusted source.

In addition to the problems your customers face, it’s good to address the problems in your industry. Do you offer bookkeeping services? What are the challenges of outsourced bookkeepers? Who is it not a good solution for? In a sense, this is an opportunity to talk about the elephant in the room. If you proactively answer the questions that your buyers probably already have, you’ll demonstrate integrity by proactively tackling the hard questions rather than trying to avoid them.

By getting ahead of your customers’ questions about potential problems or creating realistic expectations about your product or service, you match yourselves not with just any clients, but ideal clients, while (again) positioning your business as a trusted educator.

3. This Vs. That: Comparisons

Many times when customers are searching for a solution, they are weighing two different options that have perks and drawbacks based on the unique customer and the situation. 

For example, if you own a plumbing business, you couldwrite an article answering the question, “Tank water heater vs. a tankless. Which is better?” By providing honest, expert content, you can help your readers decide which solution best fits their situation. 

If you’re a graphic design business, you might write a comparison of various design tools addressing everything from user experience, features, and cost.

4. The Best — and The Rest

A common query when shopping for a product or service might be, “The 5 Best (fill in the blank)” or “the top taco restaurants near me.” 

You could approach this one of two ways. This list can be based on the service or product your business provides, for example, “The Top 5 Accounting Firms in Memphis.” Or you could rank products related to an industry you specialize in. In this case, you might write content on, “The Best Tax Software for Businesses.”

In both cases, you showcase your expertise in the field and your willingness to offer unbiased information. Just because you make a list that features your competitors doesn’t mean you’re writing a gushing recommendation. However, it is an opportunity to highlight some differentiators between you and your competitors that help inform them of their options and direct them to the best fit for their needs. Remember this, you’re providing this content on your businesses’ website, so you’re already driving leads. As a bonus, writing this type of article gives you a chance to rank in the search engines for your competitor’s name.

5. Provide Reviews

You know that customers are reading reviews anyway. Why not draw a captive audience to your website? Similar to the “best in class” lists we just referenced, this content allows you to share unbiased reviews of new products and services being offered in your industry. For instance, in our space, we could provide a review on the top CRMs for B2B companies. 

Answer Your Customers’ Questions: Make a List

Now that you understand the They Ask, You Answer Big 5 blog topics, let’s get practical. It’s time to do a They Ask, You Answer Review. This part is easy, fun, and requires audience participation — both internal and external. 

  1. Talk to your current clients and learn more about why they chose your product or service. Ask them what questions they had when they were researching a solution to their problem.  
  2. Survey your sales team. Gather your sales team and anyone else who interacts with clients and ask them to brainstorm all the questions your buyers ask. Have your internal subject matter experts start crafting answers to those questions. 
  3. Use a keyword tool. As you write your content, do your homework and research what keywords (and keyword phrases) your customers are searching for when asking these questions. Use these keywords to ensure your website ranks higher in search engine results.
  4. Answer these questions in long form on your blogs or through video clips on your social media channels. 

Read: An Effective B2B Marketing Strategy: Why Messaging and Audience Matter

Questions About Writing Content That Converts? We’ve Got Answers

Embracing the They Ask, You Answer mindset can revolutionize how businesses interact with their customers. 

At Wayfind Marketing, we come alongside B2B companies with a host of digital marketing services, from strategy and messaging to monthly delivery and implementation. 

Have someone handling marketing in-house? We also offer coaching in the They Ask, You Answer framework to guide you in writing compelling content that generates leads.

If you’d like to set up a time to learn, schedule a discovery call.

by Steve Phipps

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