A new take on the FAQ

Alan Belniakbusiness, content, Marketing1 Comment

Frequently Asked Questions - F.A.Q - FAQs on Keyboardphoto © 2011 photosteve101 | more info (via: Wylio)

The FAQ.  Fack.  Frequently-asked questions.  It started out exactly as that.  People could point back to it every time a question came up so they didn’t have to type the same damned answer all over again.  Then people got smarter.  They even said, “Go read the FAQ first, and then come over here and join the conversation.”  There’s a bit of self service in that model.  Learn a bit.  Listen (ok, read, but you get the idea) first, talk second.  Good.

The subtle transition started happening.  The FAQs didn’t really seem like FAQs anymore.  How frequently were some of these questions being asked?  As an example, how frequently was that brand-new, just launched start-up getting asked about billing?  The answer is they weren’t.  But what they were doing was creating content with a headline that had keywords in it, and content that answered it. It’s as if the company was interviewing itself.  A good move to get content out there.

I think the FAQ can be taken a step further.  Over at Inside the Third Tribe, I recall someone saying the following: ‘Every question is an objection.’  Put another way: in an ideal sales pitch, you pitch, they buy.  No friction.  No hurdles.  If they ask a question, it’s an objection.  It could be a real objection, a no-way-in-hell-am-I-going-to-buy-this objection.  Or, it could be that they simply need more information.  An I-think-like-this-but-tell-me-more-first objection.

So why not convert your FAQ into an FRO… Frequently Raised Objections (don’t title it that, jack).  Grab your sales force and buy them some lunch.  Ask them to tell you what questions were raised on the last three sales calls they were on.  Write them down on a white board.  (Bonus points if someone else in the room can answer!) Now move the words around a bit, get a thesaurus and swap out some other words, drop the sales and marketing speak..  boom.  Now you’ve got a list of questions that reads like someone might ask them in a real conversation about your product or service.  Now go answer them.  Publish this content. (Bonus points if you create it using text, audio, and video, and not just text alone) Maybe put it below the regular FAQ, and call it the ‘even more FAQ’ – or something.  Get creative.

Tell your sales force that these are externally visible.  They should know these answers cold.  If any of your prospects are Internet-savvy enough to Google these phrases, your site comes up in the search, and it appears as a solution to their problem.  When you think about it, these really are the frequently-asked questions, but they’re the deeper questions, the questions that happen during the pitch and potential close…  not “do you have it in medium?”

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