How can I help you? How may I be of service? What might you need that would make your life easier, more productive, more profitable or more fun? What keeps you awake at night?
These are the kinds of open-ended questions that are designed to get to the root cause of a person’s needs, wants and desires so that you can help them — either personally, professionally or with your business product or service.
Years ago, when I was selling pianos and electronic organs in my father’s music store I learned the value of open-ended questions. If, for example, you ask someone “Can I help you?” there are multiple possible answers other than the “Yes” that you are looking for. “No,” “Not now,” and “I’m fine” come to mind.
Not very conducive to furthering the conversation — or the sales process. And if you can’t “sell” someone you can’t help them. I am a believer in what is often called education based marketing. That means that I promote the idea that you provide enough up-front valuable information to your prospective clients or customers to establish yourself as a “trusted advisor” so that WHEN they need what you offer that they choose you.
My work in helping my clients identify their true target markets, crafting messages that will resonate with the people in those markets and selecting the right media for delivering those messages led me to develop an infographic call “Probiotic Marketing.” The name came from watching a TV commercial for yogurt of all things, but the idea is to get to the guts of the client. Yes, it’s a play on words, but hopefully one that will be remembered. And the “gist” of the method is illustrated in the three drawings below.
The idea is to map your messages about your product or service to the right levels in the hierarchy of needs and to craft those messages using words that will resonate with the emotional (e.g., gut level) level of the prospective buyer. Pretty simple. But not always easy.
When you think about your marketing it might be useful to consider how asking the right questions can help you learn to map your messages to your markets.
I hope you found this information helpful and I welcome your feedback.