When you start a conversation with your leads, are you telling them what you want them to hear, or are you asking them to tell you more about what they want? Both approaches have their merits, but when a lead encounters you for the first time, you’re probably better off doing more listening than talking.
That’s a hard lesson for some conventional marketers to learn because it goes against the drive to make sure leads are well-informed about the brand and everything it has to offer. They’re forgetting, though, about how the ready access to information has shifted the fulcrum between sellers and their buyers. On average, your leads come to you with at least half the knowledge they need to make buying decisions already in place. Telling them what they already know isn’t the way to generate interest and offer them a compelling reason to listen.
Asking, though – asking is a powerful conversation opener.
What Your Leads Need to Know
Most of your leads’ activities on the web are a series of questions, many of them initiated when they type a query into a search engine. When they find their way to you, they have more questions: “What can you do to solve my problem?” “What are your credentials?” “What sets you apart from those other guys?” While answering a question with another question may not always work in a face-to-face conversation, it’s a great way to strike up conversations with your leads.
These tacit questions they have for you are broad. Your goal is to narrow them down with a few key questions of your own.
What They Want You to Learn
Before you answer your leads’ questions, you need some answers from them. Forms are an ideal way to find that information and get leads’ feet set on the right nurture path to satisfy their own curiosity with customized content and guidance from your marketing team. To give them the answers they want, think about how you might ask these questions:
- What would this lead consider primary pain points?
- What is the lead looking for in our product catalog?
- What need would this product or service fill?
- What role does the lead’s organization play in the supply chain, B2B or B2C?
- What are that organization’s budget, authority, need, and time constraints?
- What is the scale of the project under consideration?
Asking the Right Way
If you presented your leads with a form that looked like an especially complicated game of 20 Questions, you probably wouldn’t get very far. They want to answer these questions, but not all at once. Sometimes they may not even know their answers yet themselves and look to you to help them clarify that.
Their questions to you are implicit, but yours need to be spelled out in plain language in your forms and tailored to your industry:
- “What would you consider your primary [industry] challenge?”
- “What brought you to us?”
- “Have you worked with any [industry type] firm prior to us?”
- “What’s your greatest [industry] hurdle?”
To increase their willingness to complete the form, give leads a break with radio buttons and drop-down lists for questions with yes/no or a/b answers, such as whether the company is primarily B2C or B2B.
Asking questions instead of delivering pronouncements gives you the best possible chance to know more about your lead from the outset. With that knowledge, you’re able to provide outstanding guidance every step of the way.
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