Golden Questions

Estimated reading time: 2 min

A “Golden Question” is one in which the answer tells you more than the question itself would imply.

Useful for research, discovery and us biz dev types who need to quickly assess new prospects and whether they will buy from us.

I learnt about it from Don Peppers who integrated it into his CRM method (Identify:Differentiate:Interact and learn: Customise).  His classic was to find out whether a customer had a high propensity to buy premium brand pet food.  The question was “Do you buy your pet a christmas present?”.  Neat, isn’t it?  Those who do, are more likely to lavish spend on their animals than those who don’t.  Simple.
And so how have I used it with my clients?  They are mainly working in B2B areas and so the question set needs revising depending on your particular positioning and needs.

#1 Digital Agency selling high end technology back-end services

Julian wanted to be able to find out whether a prospect wanted a simple web site or one with higher functionality.  Working with him, I developed two questions to help him quickly filter people:

Question 1: What was the date of your first website?

Question 2: How many times since then have you re-launched or substantially revised it?

Why does this work? With the first quesiton, he can tell if your company is an early adopter or late arrival for the new web technologies.   And with the second, he can assess your likely sophistication as a web user for marketing.  Each time you re-launch a website the functionality is improved. Relaunching every 2 years means you are more likley to be interested in moving to leading edge features.

So, how does your company stack up against his questions?

#2 Agency working with start-up web businesses

These lads want to be able to find out how far down the road you are to getting your website functional.  THey also need to find out the degree of technological sophistication of the person they are talking to.  Pitching yourself too “techy” and you’ll quickly lose the interest of a punter but being too simplistic has the same effect.  Similarly their services vary depending on the stage of the business and how close to launch the start-up business is.

Question 1: Have you got your requirements document written?

Question 2: Are you happy with your user numbers?

The first establishes business stage and sophistication and the second devines the success of the marketing support put into an already functioning site.

Now what golden questions are right for your business?  Can you use them to shorten your prospecting time frame and more quickly find prospects who have the potential to become customers?

13 replies
  1. Henry Porter
    Henry Porter says:

    This is a seriously good idea that I can (and need to) apply immediately!

    Btw, I’ve found that questions about approval process, project budgets and success metrics quickly separate those who want to accomplish something good from those who are just noodling around.

    Reply
  2. Henry Porter
    Henry Porter says:

    This is a seriously good idea that I can (and need to) apply immediately!

    Btw, I’ve found that questions about approval process, project budgets and success metrics quickly separate those who want to accomplish something good from those who are just noodling around.

    Reply
  3. rebecca
    rebecca says:

    Henry, thanks for being the first comment EVER on this blog! How did you find it?

    And thanks for your words of praise. Golden Questions are marvellous!

    You are right too about your sales-oriented questions too. I find they are good to use at a later stage in the sales process – after the project is scoped.

    I sometimes add in ones about “How is your job success measured?” Because if you can re-work your proposal in order to get your client to win his bonus…. how much will he love you?

    Rebecca

    Reply
  4. rebecca
    rebecca says:

    Henry, thanks for being the first comment EVER on this blog! How did you find it?

    And thanks for your words of praise. Golden Questions are marvellous!

    You are right too about your sales-oriented questions too. I find they are good to use at a later stage in the sales process – after the project is scoped.

    I sometimes add in ones about “How is your job success measured?” Because if you can re-work your proposal in order to get your client to win his bonus…. how much will he love you?

    Rebecca

    Reply
  5. Bob
    Bob says:

    Seriously interesting. I would like to use some of this in my newsletter (goes to about 200 web designers in london). Not verbatum of course, but some of the ideas. Hope this OK – I will include a link back to this.

    Reply
  6. Bob
    Bob says:

    Seriously interesting. I would like to use some of this in my newsletter (goes to about 200 web designers in london). Not verbatum of course, but some of the ideas. Hope this OK – I will include a link back to this.

    Reply
  7. rebecca
    rebecca says:

    Bob, again, please take up any of the ideas you read here. I am happy for you to quote verbatim – just give a link credit back to Rebecca Caroe and the Creative Agency Secrets blog.

    Rebecca

    Reply
  8. rebecca
    rebecca says:

    Bob, again, please take up any of the ideas you read here. I am happy for you to quote verbatim – just give a link credit back to Rebecca Caroe and the Creative Agency Secrets blog.

    Rebecca

    Reply

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