The Five Critical Questions
The way that we want to begin to engage our audience, now that we're doing conversational marketing, is through what we call the five critical questions. The five critical questions is a question-based framework that I believe just about any business can use to begin to engage, filter, and ultimately sell to their prospects through conversational selling. The five critical questions are, number one, are you, if you're looking for, we talked about the importance of starting off with a binary question. One of the best binary questions you can ask is are you a blank, insert whatever the avatar is that you know you're looking to target. So, hey, are you engaged? If you're a wedding photographer. Maybe you ask, are you engaged or are you the mother of the bride? Okay? Are you, insert marketing avatar. It's a great first question. Yes I am, no I'm not. If they say no, you're like, oh, okay, how can we help you today? I'll show you in just a second how we do that. Are you this? That's questio...
n number one. Question number two. Tell me more. Dig deeper. Probe. Tell me more about your business. Do you specialize in a particular area? Are you looking for something in particular? If there are areas where you know that your audience tends to want some things over others. I know, for us, when it comes to agencies and consultants, some of them specialize, some of them are full service. Right? That's great. Tell me more about your business. Again, I'll show you how we do that in just a second. The idea of question two is simply to probe. The answer doesn't actually matter that much. We just wanna show that we're asking the question. Question number three. So what brought you here today? What are your goals? What are you hoping to accomplish? I way prefer the structure of the first question. Generally, when you get on a call with a salesperson, they say, so tell me about your goals. Right? You're like, you're asking me this stuff so that you could use it against me later, right? But when you say, hey cool, what brought you here today? That's a way of asking what are your goals in a way that's a lot cooler, right? What brought you here today? What's going on that caused you to come to our little humble corner of the internet? What do you know about product or company name? That is such a good question. What do you know about it? One, it allows you to not tell them stuff that they already know. Two, you will learn things like, well a friend of mine, Bob, uses you and says you're great. You look at him like, oh yeah, Bob, yeah, okay cool, great. Learning they come from referral. Maybe they say, I know that you aren't as good as these people over here, but my boss told me I need to talk to you. Okay, well we know who we're competing against, right? You'll find out. What do you know about this product? And then finally, do you want some help with that? Do you want some help with that might be the single most effective close I've ever used in sales. I know who you are, I know a little bit about you, I understand why you're here today and what your goals are. I know that our product can meet those goals, and I know what you know about our product and what you don't, and I know that our product can help you reach those goals or our service. So, you now, are worthy to say, I know who you are, I know what you want, I know our product can get what you want. Do you want some help with that? Yeah I do. Okay, well let's talk about what that looks like. This is a conversation flow, a sales conversation flow that can happen via chat, via all these other means. It can happen back and forth via email. Alright? This just flat works and it's really, really, really simple. Now, let me show you how we can automate much of this with bots, okay? And how much of it we can automate with bots. Let's go back to our example. Quick question. Are you a consultant or a marketing agency? That's where we start off. Are you a consultant or a marketing agency. If somebody clicks the Nope, neither, then the bot responds, that's cool. So, what brought you here today and how can we help? And if somebody responds to that, that's when a salesperson can pick up and take over the conversation. But it's kind of odd that somebody would be on a page that's only for agencies. So, we're pretty clear to be able to, just kind of like it's odd for somebody to not like cookies. So it's a safe question. It's a safe binary question. Now, yes, I'm with an agency or yes, I'm a consultant. We found those are two slightly different conversations. Yes, I'm with an agency, yes, I'm a consultant. Good info to have. Are you with an agency or are you a solo consultant? See that nuance there? So, if they click yes in either case, it really doesn't matter at this point. We're gonna say, that's great. And all of this is handled by a bot. All this is programmed out. If they click one of those yeses, they're gonna see this that's great. Are you just getting started or have you been at this for a while? Now, chat bots work in one of two ways. They either work where you pre-fill the answers and people can click, which is really cool when you get exactly what you want, but it doesn't feel like a natural conversation flow. So, the other way that chat bots can work, and you can program up, and Drift is the same way, Intercom's the same way, ManyChat is the same way. They all generally work the same way. You put in certain keywords. So, if this word is said, then respond like this. If this other word is said, respond like this, and if you don't really know, respond with this other one, okay? So, that's great. Are you just getting started or have you been at this for a while? If they say the word long meaning, or long time, or a while, anything like that that would suggest it. Then in this case, the person actually responded, I'm fairly new, about two years in. If they say the word new, then we respond with, well, welcome to the community. Hopefully, we can help you reach your goals even faster. So, if they say I'm fairly new, that's great, welcome to the community. If they say anything else, we're like, that's awesome. We're thrilled to have you here. Again, the answer doesn't matter. The point is you asked the question. Never forget that when it comes to human beings, we are the single most interesting thing to us. The most beautiful sound is the sound of somebody's own name, right? We are remarkably self-centered creatures. So, if you ever wanna get people, and I teach this to my children, when you meet somebody for the first time, ask them five questions about themselves. They're gonna think you're fascinating even though they have no idea who you are. (laughter) But we are most fascinated in people who are most fascinated in us. Sally Hogshead taught me that. So, if you want to be fascinating, if you wanna be interesting, if you wanna be shown as a worthy guy, just ask him that question. The answer doesn't even have to matter. That's great. Freaking awesome. So, we transition to this point into question number three. So it's, well, welcome to the community, or that's great, we're so glad you're here. Hopefully, we can help you reach your goals even faster. And speaking of goals, dot, dot, dot. Now, we're getting into question three. What brought you here today? Right? What's your top priority right now? More clients? Better systems? Grow retainers and retention? Now, we know from working with enough agencies and consultants, that only all of them want at least one of those, and most of them want all those things. So now, let's think about it. What are the three to five things that you know for a fact your people want? And how do they phrase it? What are those things? Because this is where we're gonna give them that ABC thing again. So, what's your top priority right now? More clients? Better systems? Grow retainers and retention? We got a button for I need more leads and clients. We have a button for I'm ready to systemize and scale. We have a button for I want to grow my retainers and recurring revenue. We have a button for all the above, and we have a button for not sure. Now, if somebody types in not sure, the response is, that's fine, that's why I'm here. And that's when a human will intervene, right? Because now we got somebody who, they're not sure, they wanna talk. I need more leads, I need more clients. At this point, with our bot, we don't so much care which one they select, we know that if somebody wants at least one of those things, they're a likely buyer. But, boy, that's good data for our salespeople to have. And they know exactly how to initiate the conversation. And I'll show you exactly how they do that in just a second. So, in this case, let's say the person clicked I need more leads and clients, that's great, we can definitely help with that. Spoiler alert. If they clicked any of the other one including all of the above, the response is, that's great, we can definitely help with that. (laughter) Okay? Now we ask, any interest in seeing a demo of our Partner Resource Portal? So now we're getting to the first call to action. Any interest in seeing a demo of our Partner Resource Portal. I'd love to show you some specific tools and resources that will help you achieve your goals. Keep in mind. Every bit of this conversation has been done without human intervention. Got that? Now, if the person says, no thanks, not yet, we say, that's fine, I'll still be here if you have any other questions. A human does not engage at that point unless somebody just isn't busy and they want to. Okay? If somebody says, sure let's do it, then right there inside, and this is powered by Drift, right there inside of the application, awesome, let me see if I can track someone down right now. Or you can grab a time on Rob's calendar. And there's a link to go to schedule a time on the calendar, but what also happens within the system is it pings out round-robin style to all our salespeople and says, who wants it? We got someone. We got someone who wants to see a demo. And at that point, that's when a human can intervene. So, getting back to this list. This step right here. What do you know about product or company name? That is, in general, the very first question that a human being asks when they engage in this process. So, we talked about the five steps. Human intervention occurs at step four, only after they've been filtered pretty heavily. You guys see how that works? So, only after we found out, are you even someone who is able to benefit from the thing that we sell? Why talk to somebody, why waste your time, why waste their time if you know for a fact that the thing that you sell will only benefit them if they're this? So find out for that. Why talk to somebody if they're not prepared to engage with beyond a simple yep. I mean, if you were at a store, somebody's like, oh hey, I like that shirt, you like that shirt? Yeah, I like it. Okay. You wanna try it on? And they just didn't talk to you, you'd eventually walk away, right? So, they answer this, and they don't engage here. They're not that interested yet. They're not far enough along. Better just to leave them alone and not talk to 'em. Don't bug 'em. Leave 'em alone. But if you know who they are and they're beginning to engage and then you find out, not just that they are who you want, but that the very specific need they have, one of the three to five that you can fix, now you got every reason in the world to wanna talk to 'em. And the very first question that human being, whether it's you or somebody in your team should ask is, hey, nice to meet you, so glad that you're here, just out of curiosity, so I can make sure I don't talk about things you already know, what do you know about DigitalMarketer's Certified Partner Program? What do you know about our services? What do you know about me? Right? Asking that question, that's where the handoff occurs from bot to human. Then, once the human being has figured out this is the goals that you have, has confirmed that, yep, our product will solve those goals. They are now worthy of the final question which is, do you want some help with that? And if the person says yes, okay, let's talk about how we do that. This is how selling, I believe, is gonna be done. It's how selling has always been done. All I really did is I unpacked what our best salespeople were doing and put it in bot form. This works because it's what humans do. This works because it mimics real live human conversation, and the biggest point that I wanna make is that bots are for filtering, not for closing the sale. I do not believe Gartner when they say that people aren't going to be talking to humans anymore. It's not true! We're still gonna wanna talk to humans. I just don't wanna talk to a human now. I don't wanna talk to a human when a human wants to talk to me. I wanna talk to a human when I want to talk to a human. (laughter) Fair enough? That's how we all are, right? You've all interacted with bots. You've all been on chat. But you picked when that happened. So, yes, as marketers, we absolutely, positively want to be asking the right questions that will start the right conversations, Whether those conversations are happening over chat or they're happening via email or they're happening via text. It doesn't matter. We wanna ask the right questions and start the right conversation to get it going. Yes, we want a leveraged technology like bots to filter it down so we're not talking to people who aren't a good fit. So that we're able to initiate a conversation with a lot of folks, but really only have a real live human conversation for the folks who need us. But at the end of the day, we are in fact talking to those humans when they wanna talk to us and when they're ready for us.