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Since we’re all friends here, I’m going to tell you a secret:
As long as I can remember, I’ve had terrible arachnophobia. Like, absolutely awful. I will run and scream and call strangers into my house to kill a spider.
So, I finally wised up and decided that I would hire an exterminator to spray the interior and exterior of my house. The first step of my search was to Google “Top rated exterminators near me” because I wasn’t about to risk seeing any furry little eight-legged monsters.
In this case, I was reminded of exactly what separates the world-class companies from those who are mediocre. And like most customers, I was able to make that distinction after a Google search.
Anyway, after that first search, I visited various websites:
I read reviews
I checked FAQs to see how products affected pets
I evaluated various treatments
I tried to figure out what I would spend
Believe it or not, most websites didn’t have this information easily available. I called two or three companies and had to ask a million questions just to find out that they weren’t right for me and my needs.
When I finally got to the website of the company I ended up hiring, they answered most of my questions on their pages and I didn’t have to waste my time on hold.
So what do you think I did? I hired them on the spot.
Companies that are transparent and informative are the companies that get more business.
This is what separates the companies that are world-class from the companies that are mediocre.
What is They Ask, You Answer?
Simply stated, They Ask, You Answer is a proven business philosophy that helps companies become the most trusted voice in their industry. This philosophy is centered around an obsession for answering the questions that your potential customers are asking about your products or services.
And being 100% honest and thorough when you answer those questions is what helps you build trust with customers. Trust is everything.
At IMPACT, we help our clients implement this philosophy. For some businesses that have never heard of IMPACT or our philosophy, however, answering questions, being transparent, and just focusing on the customer first is in their DNA — and that’s pretty dang cool.
There are companies who are embracing the They Ask, You Answer methodology without calling it They Ask, You Answer — they just know that they need to be open and honest to build trust and win customers.
These companies are being helpful first and selling their services second.
Companies that are transparent
Companies that are focusing on being customer-centric are not only doing their part to educate their audience, but are also shortening their sales cycle by helping to make sure their sales team talks to qualified prospects at the same time.
To do so, they focus on creating content around these five crucial topics that interest every buyer:
Putting their pricing for goods and services right on the website in an easy-to-find spot
Addressing the problems their prospects are experiencing — or openly explaining the problems their product/service will or won’t solve
Comparing their service and solution against others that a prospect may be considering
Pulling together a list that puts “best” first — whether that’s “best practices,” “best in class,” or “best competitors”
Ensuring that reviews (both good and bad) of their product or service are easy for their prospect to find.
If companies are unfamiliar with the They Ask, You Answer methodology, there’s a good chance that they might not be creating content on all five topics; however, even addressing some essential customer questions is better than addressing none of them.
Think of me with my exterminator.
So, which companies are creating this type of content that builds trust with their buyers?
Here are some great non-retail examples to consider.
Addressing the question everyone has: cost
Sheds Unlimited is a family-owned construction company based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and they’re creating excellent content.
They didn’t leave anything out when it comes to explaining the difference in cost depending on what you’re looking for.
This company provides readers with information on the pros and cons of a detached garage, the sizes of different detached garages with approximate cost, the pre-construction expenses, the actual construction of the detached garage costs, cost variations based on building techniques, and more!
If you’re considering a sizable construction project, this is exactly what you want to know.
This is an extremely transparent post that’s going to help a lot of people accurately budget for what they need.
Openly discussing problems
AFS Repair, a foundation and waterproofing business in Alabama, published an article that tackles foundation problems head on.
They aren’t just comparing their service against other, similar companies and services.
Instead, they’re discussing the common problems with foundations and what you need to consider before selecting a solution that fits your needs. They aren’t afraid to say that there can be problems, and they offer guidance to the reader as to what they can do about it.
Gusto is a nation-wide company serving over 100,000 small businesses with payroll, benefits, and more.
This company also isn’t afraid to stack their service up against their competitors through a thorough comparison chart:
Sure, Gusto’s offering stacks up pretty well against the competition, so of course they want to share that; however, there are certain areas where they don’t offer something their competitors do, and they’re not conveniently leaving those aspects of their service out of the mix.
They just want to make sure that their prospects know, and know quickly, who is a good fit for their services and who isn’t — they don’t want to waste the prospect’s time.
By putting the comparison chart front and center for their audience rather than gating it or hiding it, they’re educating their prospects before anyone even talks to a Gusto sales rep.
If a prospect looks at this before a sales call, they’ll save time and energy by not asking the same questions, which will shorten the sales cycle and lessen the amount of back and forth in the sales conversation.
Providing non-curated reviews
You can’t think of a review site without thinking of Yelp — and for good reason.
Yelp is one of the most popular ways for users to quickly see reviews of local restaurants, service-based businesses, and more.
When someone is looking for a restaurant to visit, a tree service to hire, or a spider exterminator, this is the one place that they know they can go to and see unbiased reviews.
In fact, review sites such as Yelp are perceived more trustworthy than reviews that are on a company's website.
This is because prospects understand that companies will choose the reviews that are positive and post those on their website whereas Yelp reviews are not selected by the company to share.
Yelp reviews show the good, the bad, and the ugly — and that’s exactly what people want to see when they’re deciding what company to give their business to.
“Best of” lists
CreditDonkey is a company that is 100% focused on providing reviews and comparisons to its audience. The reviews on this website are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any company listed on the website.
This article not only lists the top companies, it gives more information on why each company is ranked “best” in various categories including best overall, best for flexibility, best for contractors, and more.
This type of article gives customers who are in the market all of the information they need to make strategic decisions about their businesses.
When someone is looking to purchase a service, the first place they go (if they don’t have a peer who has a recommendation) is to the internet.
That’s why it’s extremely important for companies to create content around things buyers want to know — even if the subject matter may be uncomfortable, such as cost or honest reviews.
These five companies above are great examples to inspire you.
The They Ask, You Answer methodology brings all customer questions to the forefront of content creation. When companies do not shy away from answering the questions that their prospects are asking, they build trust.
It may be uncomfortable at first but it truly does pay off.
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