CEO of The ASK Method, Co-founder of Bucket.io®
Ryan Levesque is a software entrepreneur and the author of the #1 National Best-Selling book, Ask – as featured by Inc. Magazine as the #1 Marketing Book of 2015 and by Entrepreneur Magazine as the #2 Must-Read Book for Budding Entrepreneurs.
Today, in addition to offering training, certification, and live events for entrepreneurs looking to launch and grow their business using the Ask Method, Ryan is also an investor in Bucket.io – the segmentation software entrepreneurs are using to implement the Ask Method in their business.
My Deep Dive Survey Method That Earned $100 Million
My book “Ask” came out in 2015, but it was actually back in 2006 when I was on a trip to Malaysia with my wife that I had found a book that changed my life.
That book was the “4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris. Up until this point in my life, I had been a corporate wage slave! Boy, did 4HWW rock my world.
Tactic that has had the biggest impact on Ryan’s success
Specifically asking questions to better determine clear next steps
Result if you follow the steps in Ryan’s session
Ask better questions to your customers and receive answers that reveal deep insights as to what they want and need for your business
Full session with video, notes, audio and discussion inside EHQ Club. Learn more
Expert session snapshot
Ask method is all about using a very specific series of surveys online to find out exactly what it is that your customers want to buy before even they know what they want to buy themselves. And it’s a counterintuitive methodology.
And the reason why I say that is whenever I bring up this idea of asking, right, ask people what they want, people think, is it as simple as you just ask people what they want and give it to them? The answer is not quite. And whenever I bring up this idea of the Ask method, inevitably someone will bring up a quote that’s attributed to Henry Ford.
And Henry Ford is famous for saying, if I’ve asked people what they wanted, they would have told me faster horses. Steve Jobs recently is famous for saying you can’t ask people what they want. People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
And so this idea of just asking people what it is that they want, and giving it to them is not the answer. Instead, the types of questions that you need to ask are counterintuitive.
And so this gets into one of the questions I know you and I wanted to talk about, which is, so what are some of the mistakes that people make when they use surveys to figure out is there demand in the market? What do people want to buy? What language should I use to describe my products and services? What segments exist in my market?
Well, the first big mistake that people make is they ask the wrong types of questions. They just ask the wrong types of questions that yield misleading data. And I’ll give you an example.
So at the end of the day, there’s really only two types of information that someone your customer can give you an accurate answer for. And it has to do with two things.
Number one is past behavior. So if you ask your customer, what did you do yesterday? Right? What products have you purchased in the past? People are really good at answering past behavior. If I said, Ma’am, what do you have for lunch today or for breakfast or dinner last night, right? You can think back and you can remember what it is that you had for dinner.
People are not good at projecting into the future. They’re not good whenever you ask someone, what is it that you want? Like what do you want to have for dinner tonight? You have to think about what you might want and we’re not good at guessing that what ends up happening is we try to think what it is we might want and you don’t get an accurate answer.
So asking people what they want is not the answer. But past behaviors.
The second type of thing that people are really good at telling you an accurate answer for is where their biggest challenge or frustration has been. So if you ask someone you know when it comes to losing weight when it comes to you know, getting your iPhone to work the way you want to get my iPhone right here when it comes to you know, you know finding sparkling water that you really enjoy drinking, what’s the biggest challenge or frustration that you run into?
People are really good at telling you their challenge or the frustration. And the reason for that is because you’re asking them to access a part of their brain that is talking about past behavior. So challenges frustration by nature is something that they’ve already experienced.
So the first big mistake that people make with this Ask method is asking the wrong questions. You want to focus on past behavior and frustrations, and avoid asking what it is that people want.
Do you do you have a couple of examples of like great questions to ask?
Yes, totally. So there’s something that I teach in our in our training, Liam, that I call the specificity sweet spot.
Now, what I mean by that is when it comes to asking questions, you want to ask questions that are specific enough that you can orient people’s minds to a you know, something specific, but at the same time, not too specific that it’s, you know, you’re, you know, you’re under the microscope, and you’re asking a question that only five people in the world are going to be able to give you an answer for.
So give me an example of this. So the framework that I like to use for something we call the SMIQ, the single most important question. Single most important question follows this pattern. When it comes to x, x being the problem that you solve in your business, what you help people with, when it comes to x, what’s the single biggest challenge or frustration that you’re facing right here right now?
So for example, if you help people grow their online business, through podcasts, when it comes to using your podcast to grow your online business, what’s the single biggest challenge or frustration that you’re having right now? Okay, that’s a perfect example.
Now let’s talk a moment about that specificity sweet spot. Talking about the same mistake asking the wrong questions.
One of the things that people do here with this framework is they say, Okay, let’s pretend they’re in the weight loss business. So they’ll ask a question that sounds like this, hey, when it comes to losing weight, what’s your biggest challenge or problem with that?
It’s a very broad question. The types of responses that you’re going to get are going to range from everything from, oh gosh, I have a knee injury that I sustained three years ago and I can’t get to the gym, to, gosh, I’ve got three kids and I don’t have the time to, you know, to work out because of all the demands, you’re gonna get stuff all over the board, right?
So instead, what you want to do is ask a question that’s more specific, in a way that orients people to a very precise problem. So that would sound like this. Instead of saying when it comes to losing weight, what’s your single biggest challenge, you would say, when it comes to eliminating the cellulite on the back of your thighs, what’s the single biggest challenge or frustration that you have right now?
See that difference? See when you ask someone to lose weight, their head is all over the place. They could talk about diet, their kids, a knee injury, getting to the gym, being bored with workouts, it’s everything.
But when we say when it comes to eliminating the cellulite on the back of your thighs immediately, if we’re targeting women, men, the woman is thinking very specifically oriented to a very specific part of her body and is very focused in the response that she’s going to give you. So that would be an example of a very good question to ask.