How to Use Questions to Drive Marketing Results


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We’ve all been trained to make strong statements as part of our marketing message.

We claim everything from “market-leading” to “best-in-class” to “world’s 1st” and more. Sometimes we even add evidence to support those claims – but more often than now, we just make a powerfully strong statement. And then we sit back and wait for our buyers to run to our stuff.

Many vendors are still waiting for those buyers. Wondering why their shocking (and therefore compelling) claims haven’t attracted the attention they expected.

Perhaps a question is in order here?

I firmly believe that questions are much more powerful than statements when it comes to driving powerful marketing messages. Let’s start this post again – in a questioning way – as an example of just that power.

Have you been trained to make strong statements as part of your marketing message?

Are those strong statements successfully driving the buyer response you intended?

Are you wondering why those power statements aren’t driving more revenue?

Which is more compelling and draws your attention?

If you’re like me (and most buyers), the questions are by far the most engaging and compelling. That’s because questions draw us into a two-way conversation, whereas statements are often perceived as a one-way lecture.

Statements do have a place in our marketing message. After the question. Or better yet as another question! Say what? Here’s an example:

Is poor application performance limiting your business responsiveness?

What if you could triple your performance and reduce your processing costs by half?

Two questions, one powerful message, delivered in a compelling way that will be heard by your buyer. Why? Because you engaged the buyer in a conversation about their problem -and then piked their interest with a What if solution.

We vendors lost our credibility to make claims long ago. That’s one of the reasons that questions are so powerful as a marketing tool. You direct the focus of the conversation to the buyer, where it should be focused – and away from yourself.

How can you best use questions to capture buyer attention?

I believe I just did:) Seriously, – here are a few ideas.

  • Open with a question. That should be the first statement on the agenda. Instead of starting out by promoting yourself or telling them what they need – ask them what they need! It’s easy to do this in a way that sets up your solution. For example, instead of saying “You need a new strategy for success in today’s market,” ask the question. ” Is your strategy driving the success you expect in today’s market?” The statement comes off as telling them they are a failure, the question spurs them to think about what you want them to think about.
  • Shift your claim to a What If? Instead of letting ego lead the way with a chest thumping claim – switch your value statement to question. For example, which is more appealing? “Our proven strategy approach will make your business a success.” Or…. ” What if you could leverage the same approach that made Apple what it is today?” Duh – that’s pretty obvious, now isn’t it?
  • Practice shifting statements to questions. Often, I ask clients to go ahead and write the marketing message the way they always would. Then we go back and shift the statements to questions. That’s usually the easier approach vs. trying to write questions from the get-go. simply start reviewing everything you create, then spin the critical power statements into compelling questions. Before you know it, you’ll be using questions as an everyday practice.

We are all humans and business. When marketers recognize and leverage that fact – we achieve increased success. Questions are just one of the approaches that leverage human nature to drive powerful marketing and sales results.

Any questions?

Photo courtesy of Flickr and swishphotos

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rebel Brown
Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.


  1. Great advice in #3, especially because it’s always better to test how effectively statements resonate and connect with people’s emotions. What better way to do that than by asking questions? Still, the temptation to shortcut the selling process by simply telling people about our proprietary advantages always exists. Some salespeople (myself included, at times) ask, why go through all the rigamarole of asking questions?

    Well, because if you’ve been in sales long enough, you know what it’s like to throw wet message noodles at a wall, hoping some will stick. That drill gets pretty tiresome after a while, too. So I agree. Convert self-aggrandizing statements to questions. You’ll get more done, and feel better, too.

    The caution is to avoid asking leading questions that are thinly-veiled as a means to trap prospects into giving a desired answer, or to tee up a product pitch. “Andrew, what if you could triple your sales without any increase in your marketing spend, and without taking on any additional risk?” Triple? How would you know? No additional spend and no additional risk? Let’s at least discuss that first . . . .

    I know exactly where he or she is going by asking, and it’s not pleasant. The salesperson thinks he has “engaged” me by asking a question, but not really. It’s a sales rapport breaker. The white patent leather slip on shoes and cheap suit don’t help, either.

    Sincere, well-constructed questions, and not feigned interest, will go a long way toward promoting the kind of dialog that create positive sales and buying outcomes.


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