This question was asked of me this week: How much do you charge for a website?
Oh my gosh....I could give a range of answers or I could ask a lot of questions to better understand the real question. I chose to ask a lot of questions to uncover the problem and the need then gave a quote.
Here's a more common question I receive:
What marketing should I be doing?
Well, it depends.
This could be one of the most annoying answers ever. BUT it legitimate and honest - because let's be fair: how could you possibly answer that question without having more information and a better understanding of the need?
When I typed that question, the following list of questions immediately came out of the keyboard clacking, almost at a record typing speed.
What marketing should I be doing?
What goal do you want to accomplish?
What time frame do you need to accomplish that goal?
Who is your target customer?
Where does your target audience spend time?
What do you want your marketing to do - serve, lead, educate, train...?
Who will be managing your marketing?
How much time do you spend marketing your business today?
What's been working and what hasn't been working?
The. List. Goes. On.
The question "What marketing should I be doing? creates a framework for a great in-person or telephone conversation. If this is a question you'd ask, you can expect the dialog to be very interactive and engaging. Only the truly interested in helping you will ask questions to better understand the problem you're having before giving you an answer.
So, as the person asking the question, here's a better framework to get more value out of the conversation and to show the marketer you've invested in the conversation as well (i.e. you know what you want but you're not a marketer and therefore are seeking marketing expertise):
What marketing should I be doing if I have a small budget, only one part-time person helping me and I want to increase traffic to a specific page on my website?
Better approach? Yes!!
The revised question will create a higher value exchange of information than the original question.
When you ask the question with more detail from the onset, it shows you've given the conversation some thought in advance, you're prepared for questions that might be asked and you ultimately know what you want - you just need to find the right person.
The responses you receive will be more in tune with your brand and marketing assessment as well as save you time.
The same is true in other buyer-seller relationships as well. For example:
If I go to a store (and by 'go to' I mean 'visit online' since we're in lock down mode from the Coronavirus) to buy a washer and dryer, I find a salesperson and ask "How much is a washer and dryer?"
How can the salesperson possibly answer this question without more information? So, it's the same thing. The answer? It depends.
I'm asking a question that has a myriad of answers but can only be answered by providing additional information.
A salesperson interested in the sale will ask questions such as:
Are you wanting a stand alone or stacked unit?
Any particular name brand?
What features do you need?
Is there a price range you need to stay in?
When do you need it?
Will you be picking it up or do you need us to deliver it?
The questions in this situation - or any similar situation - are likely to change based on each answer.
The point of this?
When you're asking for information, anticipate how the person will respond. Provide more information in your question (like the 2nd iteration of the first question above) to help narrow the response and response time and create the opportunity for dialog.
You're likely to find more information than you anticipated and help you with your search if you're prepared and having an actual conversation.
Vicki O'Neill is a fractional CMO in Ohio. The problem she solves for small business owners is visibility resulting from lack of engagement with the target customer causing the business to plateau She founded KenKay Marketing in 2011 and started her marketing and sales educational podcast, Connect the Dots, in 2018. She launched a second podcast, The Power of 3X, in 2019 with her Gen Z daughters. Vicki is on most social media sites (icons are in the footer below) but you'll find her most active on LinkedIn and Twitter. Connect with you wherever you spend the most time!