Summary of Ask by Ryan Levesque

BookSummaryClub Blog Summary of Ask by Ryan Levesque

Having an online store can be stressful. You have to ensure that you have a good website that people can use easily to find what they are looking for. However, from shopping online ourselves, we know how often one can enter an online store and leave without buying anything. So, how do you as a business owner figure out what it is your customer wants?

You ask them of course! The Ask Formula was developed especially with this in mind. It introduces a series of surveys aimed at potential and current customers to find out exactly what their challenges are and how to go about addressing them to stay ahead of the competition. 

In this book summary readers will discover: 

  • More about the Ask Formula  
  • Getting prospects to take the survey 
  • The Diagnosis
  • Making the most of new conversations 

Key lesson 1: More about the Ask Formula 

Knowing what customers want is an issue that all business owners face. The Ask Formula was formed to assist business owners with that very problem. Knowing what is wanted allows businesses to be in a  position where they can personalize the services and answers they provide to customers. 

To find out what customers need or what’s wanted, a survey could just simply be sent out. Although traditional surveys do come with built-in problems. Firstly,  surveys are annoying. No one wants their personal time wasted by someone asking a series of questions just to gather information. Secondly, surveys are specifically designed for marketing purposes. There are no incentives for customers who answer the questions. So, once again, why should they waste their time?

Other tactics also can become problematic because people tend to talk about what they already have and what they don’t want. This does not answer the all-important question of what they want. The reason why people don’t talk about what they want is that very few of them know the answer offhand. You have to be able to help them figure it out. This is where the Ask Formula comes in. It differs from the traditional survey as it is based on a Survey Funnel strategy. This strategy is a combination of steps that turn your target audience into paying customers.

Before the strategy can take place a deep dive survey needs to be done, this survey should be done once, at the very beginning of the entire process. This reveals who your potential customers are. An email is sent to your prospects to begin the deep dive survey. These could either be your former customers or those that are interested. The email should aim to introduce the company quickly and shed light on your wanting to get to know your customers more. It’s like a brief introduction and then comes a short survey, with the knowledge that your customers are only certain of what they don’t want, directly questioning what they would want isn’t worth it. You have to coax it out of them. Examples of questions used could be “what are your current struggles?”. You then direct the respondents to a website where you can collect their answers. 

Once that’s completed, collect the data and analyse it to form groups based on their similarities. These are called buckets. By arranging respondents into categories you understand how to speak to each category in other words you learn the natural consumer language to use when communicating or addressing each category. You wouldn’t want to confuse your retiree bucket with your student bucket when sending out emails. 

Key Lesson 2: Getting prospects to take the survey 

After the Deep Dive Survey, you should be able to identify your prospects. The next phase is getting them to open up more for you to start finding solutions to their 

Problems. To do this, you need another survey and to get prospects to take this survey you need to design a landing page that is convincing and attractive. This is called the Prospect Self-Discovery Landing Page. 

On the landing page, all key information should be present without needing readers to scroll down. Your page should either consist of a question or a standout headline to grip your customer’s attention. You then need to explain your goal to your customers and how this survey will help you in achieving that. An example would be “We want to  determine what difficulties you are facing by just asking you a few questions and we will then be able to offer you an appropriate solution.” A video can also be added to your landing page explaining more about your company to increase participation. Videos are most successful when they contain a compelling hook, a way in which to trigger curiosity and desire. Asking your customers about their struggles and what they have difficulty with will help you in creating a hook that would be suitable for them and would grip their attention. A hook that interests them would tempt them to take the next survey. 

Some customers are not as easily tempted although rephrasing your question or statement can draw them in. Lastly, bring in your survey and indicate to your prospects your expertise. To do this you can easily explain how long you’ve been in the business and how you’ve helped former customers. Once you’ve got your prospects on your side they would gladly take the next survey by clicking the link! 

Now that your prospects are hooked and ready for your next survey it’s now time to deliver your Micro Commitment Bucket Survey. This survey starts off with easy questions that won’t make your prospects uneasy. It then asks some questions about personal information. It is structured this way to prevent people from immediately turning away from personal questions. The simple questions break the ice and ease them into the survey, so to speak.  The phrasing of questions is also important as it’s easier to answer “What is your favourite chocolate?” than “Which market-leading chocolate brand do you prefer?” In addition, the information you collect from this survey can be used for later communication. For example, a prospect’s age can be used to personalize emails you send to them later on. 

Lastly, the use of segmentation questions will help you to group your prospects into different buckets. This should not aim to consider demographics but instead target their challenges. Thus, people with similar challenges would be grouped together. To group them according to their difficulties you can simply ask your question and provide them with options to choose from for example you can ask “What stops you from exercising?” and you can have answer options such as too little time or no energy after work. The answers your customers choose will give you further information about your customer’s specific issues.

With the deep-dive survey, you were able to create your buckets and with the Micro-Commitment Bucket Survey, you will be able to fill and refine these buckets. The combination of these two surveys has now provided you with important information for any future promotions or campaigns that you have.  Not only do you know who to contact but also what marketing language you can use with each group. 

Key lesson 3: The Diagnosis 

After submitting their survey, prospects should be directed to a Post- Survey page that includes a diagnosis of their problem and a solution. This page should only consist of a headline and a video offering your personalized feedback to your prospects. This would be based on the difficulties they’ve shared through the survey. The goal here is to make your prospects feel like you have used their survey answers to truly understand their problems and get them to ask you what they should do. This is when your sales pitch begins. 

Just like your landing page, your sales pitch should have a video where it is preferred to use the Problem, Agitate, Solution formula. Here is where you reinforce your prospect’s problem and explain its importance then you provide a solution. Name the diagnosis creatively – this will get their attention and ignite their curiosity to learn more. Then explain the diagnosis in a way that shows that you understand their issues and emphasize why they need to take care of them as soon as possible. This is also where you let them know that you also care about the outcome. Lastly, use your solution to transform knowledge into an offer. This means that you let them know how what you are offering benefits them, the discount they stand to receive and why they need to purchase it now. 

Key lesson 4: Making the most of new conversations 

With the previous steps of the Ask Formula, you will begin to get purchases from your Post-Survey page. However, this is not where the work ends. You have to be prepared to drive future sales as well. Once you have turned a prospect into a customer, you have t work to maintain that customer over time. That is where the real benefit will come from. You have to think about your Profit Maximization Upsell sequence. This is where you can offer more deals to a customer. It is especially effective after a purchase as the customer is already in a buying mindset. Once a customer purchases an item you can offer the customer more related items and you can throw in some deals like a 2 for 1 special, for example. Lastly,  you can share awareness of possible problems that your customer could face in the future as well as provide solutions, for example, investments, here you can offer your customer crash courses to assist. 

Another important factor to consider is that after the first round of surveys, only about 10 per cent of visitors will become customers. Do not be discouraged. In fact, there are methods that you can use to persuade the reluctant 90 per cent. The Ask Formula recommends follow-up emails and further communication thereby working on the Email Follow-Up Feedback Loop. 

There are two types of emails. The first one is to non-buyers. These emails need to be extremely engaging to grasp your prospects attention, to gain a non-buyer you can offer discounts as well as specials that would not just tempt your prospect but make them purchase an item. Another strategy is to imply urgency, stating that the offer is only valid for a certain period. Your last option is to allow them to start the Ask Formula cycle again but change the focus to a different product. The second type is to buyers. You can use a similar process to keep your customers engaged, you just have to use the joy they received after their first purchase as an added attraction.  

The key takeaway from Ask is:

To know what your customers want, you have to ask them. More important than that, you have to know how to ask them. The Ask Formula has been developed with exactly this in mind. By showing business owners how to develop surveys and ask the right questions, they are in an excellent position to make their business a success.

How can I implement the lessons learned in Ask:

Never make the mistake of assuming that the customer knows what they want. You have to carefully construct your questions in a way that makes them realise what they truly want. In this manner, you get the answers you need and they realise something that they had not before.

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