Marcus Sheridan, marketing and sales expert, Founder of The Sales Lion, and author of the new book, They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer.
In 2001, right out of college, Marcus joined two partners to start River Pools. The ‘08 crash almost ended them. They needed traffic! To generate leads, Marcus used content marketing and social media, to answer real buyer questions.
River Pools adopted a core philosophy, which Marcus teaches all over the world: “They ask, you answer.” With FAQ content, they became the world’s most trafficked swimming pool manufacturer website, with 500K visitors per month.
The big five questions buyers ask are: Money, Negatives (How could this blow up in my face?), Comparisons, Reviews, and Best (What is the best — whether or not I buy it?).
The three reasons companies don’t release prices are: fear of competition stealing the “secret sauce,” fear of scaring customers, belief they have “a unique solution.” All are false reasons.
Marcus wrote another article, “What are the Problems with Fiberglass Pools?” This article owns the conversation, and it generated $500K in sales. Buyers seek knowledge. They will find the answers they need. To provide answers, builds trust.
A prospect asked, if we don’t buy from you, who would you recommend? Marcus wrote an article the five best pool contractors in his area. But didn’t include his own company! Talk about trust building. The article generated $150K that year alone. A series of similar articles earned millions.
Who is the “WebMD” of your space right now? If you can’t name it, it doesn’t exist. Your culture must be, to be the best teachers in the world, where people know they will find their answers.
In They Ask, You Answer, there are multiple case studies where companies required salespeople to participate with marketing. Sales serves buyers by helping make purchasing decisions. Most of the decision occurs before talking to sales.
Marcus praises revenue teams, where marketing and sales are combined. Sales training should include marketing; content creation should include sales.
Marcus found that prospects who read 30 pages on their site before a sales visit, bought 80% of the time. If not, they bought 25% of the time. Marcus pushed content. They sold 95 pools that year; the average buyer read 100 pages.
As Marcus spoke about River Pools, people doubted the principles would apply to them. So Marcus developed world-class case studies of companies that completely changed the game in their spaces, always by teaching.
The book is for people who say, I’m going to do whatever it takes to be the best teacher in my space. CarMax is an example of changing the game by answering critical questions. Eliminate fears, and you are left with trust.