Selling by Question in Blog Content Marketing

Thirty years ago, D. Forbes Ley was teaching sales professionals the advantages of the questioning technique.  While blogs are closer – or at least should be – to advertorials than direct selling mechanisms, this week my Say It For You blog posts are devoted to some of the gems in Ley’s book “The Best Seller”. While blog marketing wasn’t even a gleam in the eye when that book came out, it’s amazing how relevant the ideas are for blog content writers today.

 I tell new Indianapolis blog content writers that, in creating content for SEO marketing blogs, we need to keep in mind that people are online searching for answers to questions they have and for solutions for dilemmas they're facing. But even if those searchers haven’t specifically formulated their question, I suggest we can do that for them by presenting a question in the blog post itself!

Ley taught salespeople that asking questions has a number of advantages in the selling process:

  • Answering questions satisfies the prospect’s need to “dominate” (control the situation). Online readers DO dominate, using their mouse to “bounce” to another website if they feel their needs are not being addressed.
  • Questions allow the salesperson to guide the direction of the meeting. For blog writers, then, that means making our point of view clear, making sure it’s relevant to a current conversation or trend, and that the point of view differentiated enough to stand out.
  • By answering questions, Prospects confirm their needs.
  • Prospect feels understood
  • Salesperson can fan an existing desire rather than work to create a new one
  • The question relieves the pressure that could otherwise become an objection (by stating the prospect’s viewpoint)

“We don’t sell products and markets, we sell people,” says Ley, adding that the good thing about that is that people are more uniform and predictable than “markets”.


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