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They Ask, You Answer – Transparency Builds Trust

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Sep 26, 2022

70% of buying decisions made B4 contact-1On Wednesday, September 14th the Growth Institute hosted Boost Your Marketing & Sales: Marcus Sheridan @Conversations at The Edge (Live Podcast). Sheridan is the author of They Ask, You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today's Digital Consumer.

Sales and Marketing changed a lot in the past 20 years. COVID alone created impactful changes, as this story, COVID-19 has changed online shopping forever, survey shows and graphic reveals.% of online shoppers making one online purchase every 2 months

Sheridan shared, “Today, on average, 70 percent of the buying decision is made before a prospect talk to the company.”

If you’re in B to B, it will increase to 80% by 2025 according to Ganter.

Content Marketing

Sheridan’s definition of “content marketing” is the act of teaching and problem-solving to earn buyer trust.

To build trust Sheridan suggests a radical but simple solution, be transparent. Most businesses aren’t transparent with their online content. (And I include myself in this “most” description)

Sheridan used transparency to save his pool company in 2009 when the housing crash threatened to close it. He started learning about digital marketing, taking a different approach, initiated thinking like a customer, and radically changed how they advertised to get more qualified leads, dramatically increasing his lead conversion success, while decreasing the amount of time he worked.


“Who is the most trusted voice in your industry?”

20190111_Trusted_ProfessionsYou build trust by being transparent. This graphic reveals Car Salespeople are 2nd to the bottom in terms of trust. (Only ahead of members of Congress, who only care about trust before elections.)

Yet a company called CarMax, (An extension of Circuit City we discussed in Understand Success – Your Flywheel Architecture & Extensions) revolutionized the used car industry.


They listened to what consumers wanted, acted on it, whether those in their industry thought it was possible or not.Score Your Inbound Marketing To discover how you’re inbound marketing is doing, go to It takes less than 5 minutes to complete. There are just 12 questions.

How to Build Trust

It’s easy to build trust according to Sheridan. Just answer people’s questions.

DisArm Answer Peoples Qs They Ask You AnswerThis starts with an obsession: “What is my customer thinking?”

It extends past “What are they thinking?” to “What are they searching, asking, feeling, and fearing?”

One specific blind spot most businesses have is not sharing prices on your website. (Guilty!)

If the marketplace is asking They Ask You AnswerFewer than 10 percent of all businesses in the world (not including e-commerce) address pricing and costs on their company websites. It doesn’t matter whether you are B2B or B2C businesses, or whether you are product or service-oriented, only a tiny percentage ever addresses the question of pricing and costs.


Regardless of company or culture, Sheridan found three reasons businesses justify not discussing this subject on their websites:

Reason for not sharing cost/price


“Every solution is different. Our prices vary.”

When was the last time you were on a website, couldn’t find pricing information, and said to yourself, “Of course, they can’t talk about pricing, there are simply too many variables.”

“If we discuss pricing on our website, our competitors will find out what we charge.”

often the most laughable. Most companies already know exactly—or at least have an excellent feel for—what their competitors charge. In other words, it’s not a big secret.

Everyone knows what everyone else is charging.

“If we show what we charge, we’ll scare customers away.”

Think about this one for a second. It’s as if you’re saying, “If I’m honest, people won’t want to do business with me.”   If we look at how we behave and what we expect as consumers, the thing that scares us away is the idea of a company not addressing cost and price on its website.

Become the Trusted Voice in Your Industry

When you embrace, They Ask, You Answer, it’s your duty to be the teacher, the go-to source within your industry.

Big Five They Ask You Answer-1You’re not afraid to answer any and every question your prospect or customer may have. You believe it’s your moral obligation to provide this level of education, regardless of whether the question is perceived as good, bad, or even ugly.

Not only are you willing to address these things better than anyone in your space, but you also make this dictate the direction of your business as the future unfolds.

You become so keenly in tune with what the marketplace is thinking, feeling, and asking, you see where your business model needs to go, evolve, and head toward.

This recent post by David Merriman Scott Deliver Content One Buyer at a Time to Drive Sales Success supports Sheridan’s Insights.

Watch Sheridan explain how this strategy can work for big and small businesses.

To create an environment where everyone is inspired to give their best, contact Positioning Systems today to schedule a free exploratory meeting.

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.hope-is-a-beggar-jim-carrey-quote-e1456171627580

Hope is a beggar. Hope is not a strategy. Annual planning for 2023 is approaching, if not already in progress. How to plan and not hope next blog.

Building an enduring great organization requires disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, superior results, producing a distinctive impact on the world.

Discipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.

4Dx Cadence of AccountabilityA winning habit starts with 3 Strategic DisciplinesPriorityMetrics, and Meeting Rhythms.   Forecasting, accountability, individual, and team performance improve dramatically.

Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.

Let Positioning Systems help your business achieve these outcomes on the Four most Important Decisions your business faces:












Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $250M+) businesses Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing! Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

NEXT BLOG – Hope is a BeggarRich woman giving a coin to homeless man in need


Topics: Marketing, They Ask, You Answer, Marcus Sheridan, Content Marketing, Trust, Customer Focus

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Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
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- Meeting Rhythms

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