How to know if you’re ready for They Ask, You Answer Mastery
Our ideal-fit clients have around $5 million in annual revenue and work in industries where buyers crave educational information — and they are ready to fully embrace a customer-centric business model.
Revenue and Features Editor, Co-host of Content Lab, 15+ Years of Writing and Teaching Experience
April 16th, 2021
When we teach They Ask, You Answer to our clients, a principle sometimes met with resistance is this one: You need to make sure your prospects know who is — and who is not — a good fit for your products or services.
This runs contrary to some businesses’ DNA. Sales reps often want to sell to anyone they can, and businesses are sometimes so enamored of their own offerings that they think everyone should be a customer. But trying to sell to bad-fit prospects means frequent rejection, missed meetings, unreturned phone calls, and low close rates, or unhappy customers, which no one wants.
At IMPACT, we follow They Ask, You Answer ourselves, so we are here to follow suit.
In our They Ask, You Answer Mastery program we train businesses that want to take ownership of their marketing and optimize their sales process. To do so, we offer a rigorous blend of leadership coaching, strategic planning, and training sessions that focus on SEO, content strategy, video production, HubSpot expertise, and sales techniques.
We believe our program offers an unparalleled, transformational experience for our clients, but we know it’s not for everyone.
Because we want to sell our services to great-fit clients, we need to candidly address fit. So, here we go.
Universal principles, client-specific services
They Ask, You Answer Mastery is a formalized program to teach Marcus Sheridan’s groundbreaking business strategy At the core, They Ask, You Answer is based on two simple principles:
The internet has fundamentally changed the way that people shop and buy.
We consider these beliefs to be just about universal. Think about it, whether you’re buying a new refrigerator or a life insurance policy, you start out with a search engine. And as you move closer to purchase, those companies that built trust with you by being honest and open are more likely to get your business.
But while these They Ask, You Answer principles should fit into every business’ strategy, our Mastery training and coaching program has been fine-tuned to the needs of certain types of clients.
This is intentional, according to Sales Director Marc Amigone: “We didn’t want to create a product that was so watered down that it applied loosely to everyone. Instead, we built Digital Sales & Marketing Mastery to be really, really helpful for a specific type of company.”
Who is that type of company?
The Mastery program is uniquely tailored to SMBs with a customer base eager to be educated.
Our best-fit Mastery clients display a combination of certain concrete metrics and cultural attributes. In short, you need to be both financially solvent and ready for change.
Marc believes that the most important quality of a great-fit Mastery client is that they want to do the work. It sounds simple, but it’s true.
Training your team to take ownership of your sales and marketing is no easy task. Yes, the benefits are enormous, but they don’t come without effort. Some businesses just don’t want the hassle. They’re more than willing to spend the next thirty years paying an agency each month to write their content and clean up their HubSpot portal.
Mastery clients think differently. They’ve seen their diminishing marketing ROI. They know they need to take a new approach if they want to see different results.
Mastery clients agree that the internet has changed the way their customers purchase — and they know that people tend to buy from businesses they trust. If their current marketing isn’t strategically attracting customers and building trust with them, then it’s not going to effect real change.
This is why, according to Marc, “90% of what makes a client a good fit for Mastery is their readiness to implement They Ask, You Answer.”
As to that other 10%? Clients must be able to afford our highly-customized service. Ideally, companies have somewhere in the range of $5 million in annual revenue, (although some are smaller). Additionally, we look for stability within the company and a culture that promotes professional development.
4 characteristics of great Mastery clients
The sales team at IMPACT is always on the hunt for great-fit prospects. When they encounter certain attributes, they can tell that a client will begin Mastery with a head start.
1. You need to be fully willing to take ownership of your sales and marketing
The Mastery program is all about client expertise and responsibility. We want to train you to become self-sufficient experts in interacting with your customers, from marketing to sales and service.
To do this, you will build out your marketing team and develop proficiency in-house. If you’re unwilling to invest in your team and their training, you’ll struggle to see the success you’re looking for.
2. Work in an industry where buyers make informed decisions
While we believe the principles or They Ask, You Answer are universal, we acknowledge that the practice works better in some industries than others.
To be best-suited for They Ask, You Answer, your customers should be actively seeking information about your industry, products, or services.
Marcus developed They Ask, You Answer when he was selling swimming pools. Homeowners putting in a pool have tons of questions and crave information. The typical homeowner isn’t a swimming pool expert, so educating these prospects means a smoother sales process and happier customers.
If you sell something like cigarette lighters — which might feel cheap and indistinguishable to your customers — They Ask, You Answer will not be as effective.
3. Transparency is essential
A core tenet of They Ask, You Answer is the willingness to openly address buyer questions on your website. Sometimes this can be uncomfortable. Are you ready to talk about price? Will you write about the shortcomings of your products or services?
To truly embrace They Ask, You Answer, you’ll need to build your marketing team and empower them to plan, write, publish, and promote the content that will develop trust with your buyers. But they can’t do it alone.
They’ll need to brainstorm topics with your sales team
They’ll need to film interviews with subject matter experts
They'll need time with C-level executives to plan ghostwritten content
If your organization’s leadership is not invested in this approach, employees simply won’t find the time to make this happen.
Marc puts it this way: “If you hire a content manager and expect them to knock on the VP of sales’ door and say they 45 minutes of their time once a week, the VP of sales is going to blow them off unless somebody higher up says they need to give the content manager their time.”
Without company-wide buy-in, there will be friction, impediments, and frustration.
Preparing for They Ask, You Answer Mastery
Our current collection of They Ask, You Answer Mastery clients includes a pontoon boat manufacturer, a dental claims software developer, an independent insurance company, a roofing business, and dozens more. Each comes with its own story, culture, industry, and customer base.
Suffice it to say, the Mastery program works for a wide variety of organizations from many different industries.
Our coaches and trainers will guide your growth — as long as you’re willing to go all-in and trust the process. We have seen They Ask, You Answer drive revolutionary change and growth when it’s done right and the whole team is on board.
As Marc says, 90% of Mastery success is a willingness to fully embrace the program and trust the coaches and trainers. As long as the other 10% is in place, you have control over whether you’re ready for this program or not.