Remember the last time you made a purchase because of an enticing TV commercial? Or maybe you listened intently to a radio commercial. If this ever happened, it must have been quite a while ago. The vast majority of commercials are simply annoying. And more and more companies are finding that it’s a waste of time and money. That’s because consumer habits have changed.
Buying decisions are increasingly made through online research. Thanks to the wealth of data available to us, we can make informed buying decisions. We used to be more willing to be told what to buy, but today we are more likely to resist such suggestions.
Modern audiences have little patience for advertising and are instead looking for informative content. As consumers, we also value ease of use and accessibility. The more obstacles that get in the way of that, the worse it is.
This is where Marcus Sheridan comes in to remedy the situation. He has developed a revolutionary advertising method that puts the customer’s needs first. The term “you ask, you answer” describes this mentality perfectly. The goal is not to force a product on customers, but to make their lives easier by providing them with more information.
They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan explains how companies can use this approach to win the loyalty of their clientele.
You may be wondering if you should read the book. This book summary will tell you what important lessons you can learn from this book so you can decide if it is worth your time.
At the end of this book summary, I’ll also tell you the best way to get rich by reading and writing.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
They Ask You Answer Book Summary
Lesson 1: The business model used by CarMax is a prime example of the “you ask, you answer” philosophy.
Imagine being a used car salesman. The workplace is not always a bed of roses. Although you prefer to dress casually, avoid all hair products, and never grow facial hair, people still think of you as a walking stereotype: a cheap-suit-wearing, hair-grease-using, mustachioed con artist. Moreover, you are an extremely trustworthy person.
So what exactly should you do now? How can you win over skeptical customers in a field that is notorious for scams? The “They Ask, You Answer” business principle advocates a company-wide focus on clientele concerns, questions and suggestions. Even more impressive were the results CarMax, an American used car dealer, achieved after adopting this strategy.
CarMax executives were aware of the negative connotations of their business unit. They avoided burying their heads in the sand and instead took preventive measures. They acknowledged there was a problem, identified the most common concerns people have when buying used cars, and set out to address each one.
Then they implemented a system of “no-haggle pricing” to eliminate the annoying practice of haggling that so many customers find distracting. This meant that the price listed on the CarMax website was the only price you could pay.
In addition, CarMax had a new sales commission structure based on a apartment rate. Because of this policy, car salespeople earned the same commission rate regardless of the price of the vehicle they sold. This gave salespeople less reason to put their commission above the needs of their customers, and eliminated the resulting mistrust.
Third, CarMax introduced an innovative idea in the used car industry with its 5-day money-back guarantee. Customers no longer had to worry about being sold a defective vehicle because they could inspect it at their leisure over the next few days.
CarMax’s business model and guiding principles perfectly reflect the ethos of They Ask You Answer. Carmax addressed all of our concerns when buying a used car. Its competitors scoffed at the time that the company would never take off.
But now? Used car shoppers across the United States can find their next car at CarMax.
Lesson 2: When developing content for the Internet, companies should consider the following four guidelines.
We regret to inform you that your computer isn’t working properly. The computer freezes frequently, making it difficult to use, the keyboard sticks, and the startup disk fills up. Unfortunately, this laptop is no longer usable.
Fortunately, you’re not one of the many consumers who didn’t do their homework before buying. You’ve done some research on the Internet and read some reviews to find out exactly what you want from a new device, and now it’s time to make a purchase.
But wait a second. What factors ultimately tipped the scales? Well, whether you’re aware of it or not, you were influenced by four key factors that any company hoping to win your favor should consider.
Let’s face it, for most people, price is the most important decision factor. If you’re looking for a new laptop and the website doesn’t clearly state the price, you probably won’t even consider buying anything there.
So companies should start with cost. The other part of the equation is whether the pros and cons of the product are openly discussed. In this way, they foster trust, one of the most valuable commodities in any business relationship.
For his company, River Pools and Spas, the author wrote an article criticizing the shortcomings of fiberglass pools. Curious consumers found this site, read about the drawbacks of fiberglass pools, and then bought one. In fact, sales from that one article totaled over $3 million. This was due to the fact that buyers could see that the company was transparent and wasn’t hiding anything from them.
The power of comparison is often underestimated. Remember, consumers like to compare different offers. It may seem counterintuitive, but consumers will appreciate it if a company is honest about how its product compares to the competition. When dealing with potential customers, it’s important to be honest and humble.
Reviews are a critical factor. Openness is a must here as well. Websites that are transparent and provide information that customers could’ve found elsewhere are better received by visitors.
In another article for his company’s website, the author provides an unbiased review of a competing company’s product. Even more surprising, he admitted that there were better people. Thanks to his open and honest approach, he was able to attract many new visitors to the site and renew orders from his previous clients.
Lesson 3: When it comes to listening, companies often set the wrong priorities.
Do you still have good memories of the Blockbuster video store chain? In the 80s and 90s, it was unchallenged in the video rental market. Then the situation started to change. Over time, consumer focus shifted away from renting movies at local theaters to buying DVDs online to watch at home. Some companies were ahead of the curve by offering services like renting DVDs by mail. That, of course, was Netflix.
Blockbuster, on the other hand, stuck with what worked for the company. Not long after, the chain closed its doors for good. Where did Blockbuster go wrong? The company stopped paying attention to its customers.
Most of a failing company’s attention is focused on whom? The main problem is the competition. Second are people who don’t fit into the company. The customers are in last place.
Companies on the verge of collapse tend to focus exclusively on their competitors. This leads the company to take a course of action that’s nothing to do with satisfying customers, and everything to do with trying to anticipate the moves of competitors. These companies don’t put customers first and keep secret information that they believe will give their competitors an advantage.
Customers who’re not a good fit for them are another source of obsession for these companies. The fact is that there will always be buyers who’re not a good fit for a particular product.
However, there are still companies that try to sell to these customers. This means that the companies hide details about the product, such as the cost or possible drawbacks. Ultimately, such companies can’t get ahead because they complain about dissatisfied customers and unproductive customer contacts lead to dead ends.
Last but not least, loyal customers aren’t even secondary for these companies. They, like Blockbuster, are blind to changes in consumer preferences. What happens as a result? Regular customers leave in droves. That’s when companies start to struggle, and if they’re lucky, like Blockbuster, they go under altogether.
Customer opinion is the only thing that matters to a successful business. Consider this: who buys the goods and services that keep businesses running? And who’s responsible for making sure everyone gets paid? It’s not industry competitors or dissatisfied customers who’re to blame.
Lesson 4: Informing customers about all operations helps streamline processes.
Customer confidence in a company’s reliability and honesty contributes to its growth. Businesses would better serve their customers and the community if they prioritized excellent service and honesty over making a quick buck.
One approach is to make it easy for buyers to determine if they are a good fit for the product.
This was done by the author’s company, River Pools and Spas. It started with a process known as contract selling to weed out unsuitable candidates.
To educate consumers about the pros and cons of fiberglass pools, River Pools and Spas offers in-depth articles and videos on the subject on its website. The assignable materials (also referred to as “content”) answer any questions that may arise during the course of a pool installation.
River Pools and Spas recommends that new customers familiarize themselves with the company’s website and promotional videos before scheduling an appointment with a sales representative. This allows new customers to have their questions answered and decide for themselves if a fiberglass pool is the best option for them.
It also allows River Pools and Spas to quickly distinguish suitable candidates from those who are not. An appointment is not made if a customer says they do not have time to read the paperwork. The company believes that if a client is serious about spending several thousand dollars, they will put in the time.
Among the many stories featured on River Pools and Spas, one in particular stands out. The site’s author discovered one night while reviewing the statistics that one user, “Mr. G,” had read 374 pages of content. That’s a whopping 374 pages! And this all happened before he even contacted the sales team!
The next morning, the author called Mr. G.. There was no need to refer him to the canonical writings, because he already knew everything there was to know about swimming pools.
That same day, the author set out for his own residence. Mr. G, a surgeon by profession, arrived with a spreadsheet detailing the features of his ideal pool. The sale was finalized, a $5,000 deposit was paid, and the author was on his way home in just 45 minutes!
Both the client and River Pools and Spas were able to quickly determine that they were a good fit, thanks to the extensive information on the website.
They Ask You Answer Review
They Ask You Answer is a great book I’d like to recommend to anyone who is interested in marketing.
Consumer purchasing habits are rapidly changing. Consumers can now do more research on products than ever before, raising expectations for speed and ease of use. As a result, in their pursuit of customer satisfaction, businesses should follow the mantra “They Ask, You Answer.”
It’s a way of thinking that prioritizes informing customers so they can make informed decisions, building rapport with them through honesty, and streamlining all communication and interactions for maximum convenience.
If you’re a business looking to grow your online readership, remember that a single informative and thought-provoking post can have long-term effects. When it comes to digital content, quality always triumphs over quantity, with the latter eventually reappearing to cause embarrassment if it ever disappeared. Please take your time to avoid making mistakes.
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