Ask : The counterintuitive online formula to discover exactly what your customers want to buy…create a mass of raving fans…and take any business to the next level by Ryan Levesque
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ask, as it should go without saying, is a marketing book. Not only is about marketing, but it’s also a large scale marketing effort for Levesque’s methodology and highly priced programmes.
And, let’s just say after the first half was a complete waste of my time, I’m really happy I got this book for free instead of spending the $13 to get it since it took me so long to get to the good stuff. Unless you want to read about how Levesque worked really hard under pressure, set his sights on something, then busted his ass to get it, then got his dream job early in life (but not as early as he wanted), got bored and disillusioned with it all, then burnt himself out trying to become an entrepreneur to the point of ignoring his health and nearly dying, just skip it. After all, I just gave you a synopsis of the first 62 pages of this book.
The only good message in the first part of the book, in fact, is that anyone with a brain shouldn’t trust a business person that hasn’t successfully owned their own business to consult you on any aspect of running your business. And, in today’s culture of consultants without any experiences, this is a valuable lesson to have so you don’t waste time, money, or any other resources.
The second half of the book is far more useful. It’s not earth-shattering, but it’s really useful for those that don’t know much about marketing and need to be a slave to numbers. (And, sometimes you need to measure and be a slave to the numbers in order to get more results.)
Levesque walks you through his marketing method. It can be summed up like this:
- Ask targeted questions in the form of a survey, segment out the results for the best sales message. Repeat process, asking them for their email and trying to sell to them at every step.
- Try to woo them with discounts that aren’t really discounts, since you price the product or service to factor in these discounts, but it makes the mark feel good about themselves.
- Set up a 12-part automated email series to continue to try to convince them of the awesome deal. First with stories, then with more surveys to segment them out further in case your original survey put them in the wrong “bucket”.
- Repeat process until you can’t figure out a way to get their money.
Yes, this seems a little harsh, but I believe in service first, not slaving away over data and segmenting out only those that I think I can make the most money out of and will buy. What I do like are the surveys and how they are structured to understand the market and audience, which can be useful for serving them more fully.
In the end, it’s a great method, but it’s the intent behind how you use it that will give you the results you are looking for. Read the book (starting with the methods) to see how you can use the Survey and Divide method for your needs. That is where the true impact of this method is going to be.
For example, with a science lab you might be focused on results of your clients. So, you start with that in mind, and your survey questions will be based around their greatest worries, needs, and goals. In a recent example from Insanitek, I asked people what held them back from making their own company. The number one reason was fear of failure. This is completely understandable, so in our business incubator programme I worked with my mentors to develop solutions and tactics to face these fears, learn from them, and move through them.
What I didn’t ask was “what is your income”. Fears should be faced whether you are low income or high income, so this is integrated in every part of our incubator programme, high or low priced.
In a purely lab solutions based business, you might ask your clients, “What do you hope will come out of this?” This would give you insight as to how muchÂ focus you should spend on educating people on how it works, as well as trying to reach those ideals if they are higher than what you can currently do.
Ask won’t answer all your questions, like giving you an exact list of questions to ask for what you goals are — that is why there is a shameless “what to do next” marketing chapter at the end that directs you to Levesque’s services. However, with a bit of intuition, a lot of patience and iterations, you can figure out how to use this method for your own ambitions. For that alone it is worth the $13+tax or a trip to the library to check out the book.