Are you hungry for tacos?
Did you brush your teeth this morning?
Why are you still reading these random questions?
It’s because questions are powerful. They interrupt all of the chaos and funnel the reader into a single train of thought. If you want to engage more customers all you need to do is ask a question.
In this article, I want to teach you how to formulate a specific type of question that will capture your customers’ undivided attention every single time… AND it will position your product as the perfect solution. Asking the right kind of question can literally earn you more sales overnight.
Ready to get started?
It’s actually quite scientific.
Questions are so powerful that they actually trigger an instinctive reflex in our brains that make us want to know the answer.
Fast Company put together a fascinating article adapted from the book “The Science of Selling” by David Hoffeld that reveals some of the latest studies of neuroscientists. They learned that when the brain is confronted with a question it cannot contemplate anything else while thinking about the answer. Hearing a question affects our brains so much that it brings us into a state of undivided attention and incapable of multitasking.
So if you want to get your customers’ undivided attention, asking the right question can be a powerful tool in your belt. It’s not a theory. It’s science.
How to ask the right kind of question.
Obviously, asking your customers a random question isn’t going to lead them into buying your products or services. Your question needs to be formulated to specifically engage them where they are at so that your product is perfectly positioned as the solution.
The best way to do this is to ask a question that agitates a pain-point your customers feel.
This pain-point needs to be something your product can solve or fix.
For instance, if you offer plumbing services you might ask this question: “Do you have a plan for when the water pipes burst in the basement this winter?”
This question specifically hits a pain-point that forces you to think about what you would actually do in that instance. Most likely, you don’t have a plan for this pain-point which then sets you up to be receptive to the solution. The solution, of course, would be the services provided by this plumbing company to inspect your water pipes before the winter temperatures set in.
5 simple tips for creating the perfect pain points your customer will respond to in a question.
When hitting those pain-points for your customers in a question, I have 5 tips for you to follow so that you can perfectly position your product as the solution.
Tip #1: Make the pain-point very specific.
You need to be specific in the pain point you ask about. People generally don’t respond to generic questions because it doesn’t create any sense of need or urgency.
Let’s go back to the plumbing company illustration we used earlier. Let’s rework the question to be generic instead of specific. What if the question was changed to this: “Do you need plumbing services?”
Do you see how much less effective it is? It’s only because it lacked specificity. Granted, it’s still a question and will still gather some attention, but it fails to move the customer to action. Unless you generally need plumbing services, you’re going walk away unchallenged and move on.
Tip #2: Make the pain point believable.
We’ve all been confronted with “too good to be true” promises. If there is one thing that life has taught all of us, it’s that “too good to be true” promises are not credible. In fact, most of the time we know it’s spam.
Do not formulate your question and pain point around an unbelievable sounding promise. It simply will not work and will turn away more customers than it will attract.
Here’s a good example of an unbelievable question: “Do you want to quit living paycheck by paycheck and make six figures a month for only 2 hours a day?”
Listen, even if someone could legitimately offer a solution to this question, it still sounds unbelievable and will likely be flagged as spam. As humans, we are attracted to statements that correspond with our reality. As soon as we feel we are being lied to, our instincts tell us not only ignore the question but to avoid the person asking it.
Tip #3: Make the pain point relatable.
The pain point you ask about has to hit home. Your customers need to be able to relate to it. Don’t use words they don’t understand and don’t word your question in a way that sounds off-color or clever.
Your goal is to be the solution to their problem, not be witty or sound intelligent. If your prospective customers cannot relate with your question then you are irrelevant to them which is the last thing you want to do.
Tip #4: Make the pain point costly.
Did you know people want to avoid “loss” more than they want to experience “gain”? This is called the principle of “loss aversion”. Loss aversion refers to our tendency to prefer avoiding loss more than acquiring gain. For example, it’s likely you would rather not lose $100 than you would gain a $100.
One of the best ways to make your pain point feel costly is to use the principle of loss aversion in your question. You shouldn’t be a doomsday preacher, but you should tactfully articulate your question around a scene that shows the worst case scenario.
Again, the plumbing company’s question was about water pipes bursting in the basement. That’s a pretty bad scenario. No one wants to deal with that and it’s a costly problem everyone wants to avoid. But this is what makes that question so effective.
Tip #5: Make the pain point fixable.
Last of all, and this is an important one, you need to make sure the pain point is fixable. That is, the problem needs to be something that feels fixable in a short manner of time.
If your customers feel like they have to open Pandora’s Box to get to the end of the pain, they’re likely to look elsewhere for a solution that can give them more immediate relief.
This is especially good advice if your business sells a service that takes a lot of time and commitment. You need to find a way to reduce the commitment in your question.
For example, perhaps you’re a contractor that specializes in building homes. Building a home is a big commitment that requires a lot of time and money. You’re not likely going to find a lot of success asking a question based on something this big — even if you’re offering a good deal.
But, if you build your question around a smaller commitment that feels fixable and achievable in the moment, you will be able to continue upselling your services. In the case of the home building contractor, a good question would be: “Don’t know where to start building your new home? Schedule your free consultation and we’ll help you with step one.”
Did you notice how this question offers the solution to the starting point for building a house, not the commitment to building the whole thing? In all of your question asking, keep it fixable or achievable for your prospective customers.
Over to you.
Now it’s your turn to formulate a compelling question to reach more customers. Just remember: keep it simple. Use these tips as a guideline to help you but don’t overthink it.
Once you’ve created the perfect question that hits the right pain point, find a way to feature it out in the open. It could replace the main headline on your website. Heck, it might even become your new one-liner.
In any case, asking the right question is a huge step in capturing more attention, landing more sales and winning more customers.