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My Competitor is Already Succeeding with They Ask, You Answer — Should I Change My Approach?

By Marcus Sheridan

My Competitor is Already Succeeding with They Ask, You Answer — Should I Change My Approach?

For years, I’ve been getting on stages all around the world with a simple message: To grow your business, you need to build trust with your potential buyers.

I’ve urged businesses to obsess over all of the fears, worries, and concerns they’ve ever heard from customers — and then address them all in blog articles, videos, social posts, podcasts, and any other medium that reaches their audience. 

I’ve called this framework They Ask, You Answer

And I’ve told business leaders they should strive to be the most trusted voice in the industry.

And now, as this movement continues to spread, I keep hearing the same objection: Marcus, someone in my industry is already succeeding with They Ask, You Answer. Should I still try it myself? 


When I hear this, I say, very clearly: If you're asking this question you’re completely missing the point!

They Ask, You Answer isn’t a winner-take-all approach. Instead, it’s a big tent with room for everyone because the principles are bigger than any one business or any one industry. 

Let me explain.

The true purpose of They Ask, You Answer

So a business (or businesses) in your industry is already using They Ask, You Answer to generate leads and shorten their sales cycle. 

So, someone else got there first. It happens. Is that really a good reason to not get there at all? Twenty years ago, did you look at billboards and think, “man, one of my competitors already put a billboard up. No sense in me trying”? 

Did you see someone else in your industry make a website and think, “well, no sense in us making one too”?

Of course not. 

If you’re living the core values of They Ask, You Answer, it will help your business — regardless of where you rank in search results.

Businesses should obsess over their customers’ questions

Imagine this: you’re at a trade show and someone comes up and asks a question. Are you going to send them over to your competitor’s booth to get the answer? 

Again, of course not.

Just because someone else is answering customer questions doesn’t mean that you should answer them too.


And when you do, you should bring your company’s personality and expertise to it. After all, that’s what sets you apart.

And you should answer them better than the other guy does. 

Educated buyers become happy customers

Because here’s the thing: They Ask, You Answer is really a sales initiative first and foremost. The whole framework sprang from the process we call assignment selling. It works like this: Ahead of a meeting, a sales rep can send (or “assign”) resources to a prospect to address common questions ahead of time. 


This way, the conversation can focus more on the unique needs of each specific buyer, not the same general questions that sales reps answer over and over.

When you use honest, unbiased content this way in the sales process, you increase your win rate and decrease the length of your sales cycle. 

This is the greatest impact They Ask, You Answer can have on your business — and it has nothing to do with keywords and search ranking.

And, unlike most things in content marketing, it can start delivering results as soon as your salespeople start using it. 

When you’ve got that warm lead entering your sales process, do you want to hand them sales enablement materials that your competitor wrote?

One more time, of course not.

We are all in the business of trust

I strongly believe that trust is the true currency of all business. People won’t buy from you unless they trust you — and the quickest way to prove that you’re trustworthy is to show that you have nothing to hide. 

This means addressing every buyer concern and worry, even the ones that you’d rather not talk about. When you’re open about price, about the potential shortcomings of what you sell, about who is not a good fit to buy from you — this is when you build trust with your audience. 


Unless you are prepared to surrender all of your business to your competitors, then you should get yourself focused on trust as soon as possible. 

The original They Ask, You Answer case study

They Ask, You Answer began many years ago during the Great Recession. When the markets turned and the economy soured, my swimming pool company teetered on the brink. River Pools was in danger of closing its doors as client after client withdrew their deposits. 

To save my company, I focused on creating content to make it easier to buy from us — the very same trust-building content we teach clients to produce today.

Little by little, we got back in the black and started to grow. 

Today, River Pools' website is the most trafficked pool website in the world. The company has grown into a franchise with locations in more than a dozen states, and our story has inspired businesses around the world to commit to buyer education. 

It’s quite a story, I’ll admit. 

So, with that in mind, it would be easy to think that other pool companies should steer clear and find a different way to go to market. After all, River Pools was the original They Ask, You Answer case study. There's no way anyone can compete with such a well-established force, right?


Other pool companies have used They Ask, You Answer to grow. A handful are actually IMPACT clients. They're using the same tactics — in the same industry — and finding tremendous success. 

Set your own course — not just the one your competitors followed

Should you do They Ask, You Answer? Yes, you should.

You should commit to building trust and educating your audience.

But should you do it in the same way as your competitors? Absolutely not.

The way people consume content is constantly changing. Some buyers want blogs and ebooks. Some buyers want TikToks and podcasts. To know what they want, test, track, and repeat. 

Even better, ask them. 


Look at top content creators on various platforms — especially those from OUTSIDE your industry — and get inspired. 

Remember that the principles of They Ask, You Answer are broad so they apply to every industry. Figure out the best way you can use content to help your prospects become customers. Spend your time focused there, not on what your competitors have done in the past. 

If you need help or want to learn more about the exciting ways to apply this framework to your unique needs, join one of our free consulting sessions to talk with our They Ask, You Answer coaches.  

Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.


Getting Started with They Ask, You Answer
Advanced They Ask, You Answer
Published on February 22, 2023

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