This month’s book review is ‘They Ask. You Answer’ by Marcus Sheridan. Not only have I read the book, but I also had the pleasure of hearing Marcus speak for more than an hour at an Entrepreneurs Conference a few weeks back. If you ever get the chance to see Marcus speak, I recommend it.

The book has a subtitle of ‘A revolutionary approach to inbound sales, content marketing and today’s digital consumer’ – quite a statement to live up to, but I believe it does.

The whole premise behind the book is that this is a business philosophy and a different way of looking at business, marketing and trust and not just a sales tactic. The reason it is called ‘They Ask, You Answer’ is because Sheridan believes this is what you should; if your customers are asking questions then you should answer them on your website and in your marketing.

This philosophy came from real live situations and learnings from a business in the US which Marcus owned and was in serious difficulties before these learnings came through in real time.

There is a lot of great content and advice in the book and one of the main areas of the book covers what is called ‘The Big Five’ – this is the five types of content subjects that move the needle more than anything for consumers.

The Big Five

These are:

1 – Pricing and Costs

2 – Problems

3 – Versus and Competitors

4 – Reviews

5 – Best in Class

All of these areas are explored in detail in the book, explaining how they should be tackled. The main takeaway is about becoming the most trusted voice in your industry.

“Content – assuming it is honest and transparent – is the greatest sales tool in the world today”

Another area for comment is content and that ‘Content – assuming it is honest and transparent – is the greatest sales tool in the world today’ – this is because:

  • Content can teach hundreds or thousands at the same time
  • Content never sleeps
  • A single piece of content can continue to work for year for months or years

Creating content to provide buyers with the answers they are seeking in the easiest way possible, is a major part of the ethos.

There are other key elements in the book, which include:

  • Having a learning centre on your website where consumers can find out answers to any of their questions
  • The use of Assignment Selling, which is to use content in the sales process more effectively
  • Producing content in-house and across all areas and not merely outsourcing it
  • Making better use of video

This is well worth a read.