They Ask, You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today's Digital Consumer, Revised & Updated 2nd Edition
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From the Inside Flap
The Simple Marketing Strategy to Attract Buyers in the Digital Era
Today's consumers live in a digital world, with access to all the information they need to make a purchasing decision at their fingertips. To influence the behavior of your buyers, you need to be an authority who can address every question, concern, or fear they may have. You do this by setting aside the "old school" marketing and sales playbooks of yesteryear and embracing the role of a teacher, creating content that provides your buyers with the answers they seek. This is how you grow your business in the digital age. And They Ask, You Answer is your guide to accomplishing that goal.
The first edition of They Ask, You Answer was a massive success, empowering marketing and sales teams across all industries (B2B and B2C), to connect with their buyers online and achieve astounding revenue growth. This revised edition goes even deeper, introducing you to the latest must-have content marketing tools, like real-time conversation technology and video. Inside, you'll also find new case studies and interviews with industry thought leaders. Finally, this book will give you insider insight into the future of digital marketing. With They Ask, You Answer in your pocket, you'll not only be positioned for success today, you'll also be ready for what's on the horizon with buyer behavior and technology.
From the Back Cover
PRAISE FOR THEY ASK YOU ANSWER
"This book is The Bible of content marketing and inbound sales. It offers an incredibly powerful yet simple message. It is 100 percent aligned with how customers think―yes, the ones who vote with their wallets and ultimately decide the fate of a business. More than just a book, this is a culmination of five years of testing and proving in the real world. It is for those business owners and marketers who would be willing to temporarily clear away their pre-conceived notions of what they think works, and be open to seeing how a fresh approach has already created transformational success for so many others. I also appreciate how easy it is to read. There's no jargon or filler. Love it!" ―JOHN SOH
"I'm a marketing agency owner and read a lot of books about marketing and sales. They Ask, You Answer is the best thing I've read on the topics of content and inbound marketing. I've bought over 60 copies of this book over the past few months and have been sending them to clients and prospective customers simply because no one has done a better job than Marcus at explaining content and inbound marketing in a way that the average person can grasp. They Ask, You Answer should be required reading for any modern CMO, marketing director, or VP of sales." ―JOE SULLIVAN
"This book teaches you core, fundamental, commonly overlooked truths that set the foundation for any marketing campaign you decide to do. You will no longer see marketing as a complex or gamblers game of attracting sales through any and all means until one way 'just works' to stick to. Incredibly calming and peaceful experience for a hardened marketer that has tried a lot of ways to market their products, but is still open to learning and understanding that there could be more that they haven't figured out. Exhilarating experience." ―DOUG MITCHELL
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This book is packed with insights. Here are some of my favorite takeaways:
Become the Teacher
Education is the core of Sheridan’s philosophy. This makes sense. Buyers are not inclined to trust sales people and they have all kinds of defenses set up against marketing. However, people respect teachers. Sheridan became obsessed with this stance: “We approached each question with a ‘teacher’ mentality, without bias—our sole obsession was simply that of educating the reader.” This reminds me of Jay Abraham’s paradox of knowledge: the more you know about something, the more questions you have. The person (or company) you go to for answers is the one who educated you.
Answer Prospect and Client Questions
Buyers have questions. So do clients. The company and sales reps that answer these questions get attention. This is true for Inbound Marketing and Client Communication. It is also true for Outbound Selling and Client Management. The fuel for your Revenue Growth Engine is A Focused Message. Once you have a clear understanding of your Ideal Client, one of the best ways to focus your message is to answer the questions that your prospects and clients have. For Net-New business, this helps get you found online, builds trust, and sets up effective sales meetings with qualified prospects. Answering questions continues into the Cross-Selling phase, creating a smooth onboarding process and setting the stage for additional purchases.
Address the Elephants In the Room
“As buyers, although we want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly, we are mostly concerned with the ugly.” So true. We see this in our own propensity to search for reviews—specifically, negative reviews, when we are making a purchase. Smart companies address this head on. They are not afraid to talk about pricing, make comparisons to competitive offerings, and address concerns. Sheridan recommends that these questions be answered with a disarmament strategy. Since buyers in a low-trust world have their guards up, he recommends being disarming. For example, an article might begin by admitting that your offerings may not be the best choice for every buyer. Heresy? Maybe, but we cannot communicate until we have a basis of trust.
This is one of my favorite parts of the book. Sheridan shares his strategy to use educational content throughout the buying process. For example, before an appointment, he all but requires prospects to view a video addressing common questions and read with a guide educating buyers on their options. Not only does this filter out the riff-raff, when he arrives, he has trust and buyers are ready to roll. The result is shorter meetings, faster sales cycles, and increased close rates.
A Practical Guide To Video
Everyone talks about video, but few people give a roadmap for how to implement a video strategy. With 82% of internet traffic being video by 2022, Sheridan observes, “We are all media companies whether we like it or not.” Sheridan encourages companies to answer frequently asked prospect and client questions by video. He also recommends that client-facing employees record videos to build rapport and trust with prospects.
Involve Your Sales Team
If you want to understand your clients and prospects, talk to the people on the front lines. Your sales people get asked questions all day long. Document these questions and answer them online. Involve your sales team in creating written and video content to answer these questions. In Revenue Growth Engine, I recommend that marketing professionals spend significant time in the field with sales reps. Ride along to their meetings and have coffee afterward with the rep to debrief. All of this helps create A Focused Message which fuels the marketing and sales efforts of your engine, creating meaningful experiences for your ideal clients.
There is so much more in this book. The chapters are short, punchy, and actionable. Real-world case studies are sprinkled throughout the book, giving concrete examples about how you can implement the strategies.
You like thorough books? Good, then get this one. Organic SERP content marketing, I'm not such a believer in 2020, but it doesn't matter because this book gives you fundamentals that go into all aspects beyond this. I am building more websites, and this book is really helping me improve them. What is 2020 though? Video! Thanks Marcus. I'll email you soon - since you share your email! Hal