64 Point of View Revealing Questions

(this began as 24 questions and ‘sentence stems’ but has slowly expanded over time)

The heart of marketing is this: “You have ______ problem, and want _______ result.” Does that make sense? You’re basically asking them to trust you. You’re asking them to follow your lead, to trust in your product or service, to trust the process you will be taking them through. And that can be scary for people – especially around certain problems.

This was driven home to me by Lois Kelly‘s amazing book on word of mouth marketing, “Beyond Buzz” (most of the questions below – the first 24 I think – are taken directly from her book). I’ve added a few of my own at the end too.

Once you’ve established the basic relevance clearly, once people see that what you’re offering is a fit, that it’s designed for people like them, you need to go about building some credibility by telling them about past results, and how you do what you do. But there’s a level most people ignore which is sharing why you do your work the way you do it. Sharing the ‘point of view’ or ‘philosophy’ that guides your work. It’s surprisingly powerful to give people the bigger picture, the context that you see yourself working in. Like showing people not only the best route from Grand Central Station to Central Park – but breaking out the whole map of Manhattan and explaining why you chose that route. There’s something about this that is enormously reassuring and can allow people to really relax into your guidance.

As you look out at all of the options that your target market has to solve the problems you work to solve, what do you notice? What is your point of view and perspective on what you see? What is your opinion about your industry? What is your take on the issues and trends in your industry? Look at the questions below and complete as many of them as you can without repeating yourself. Do at least seven of them (but the more the merrier).

Here are Lois Kelly‘s most excellent point of view questions and ‘sentence stems’ (with a few add ons).

1.    We believe that…

2.    Our take on ________ situation is that…

3.    The narrow slice of the issue that more people should understand is…

4.    The one thing that matters the most in this issue/trend is…

5.    People are wasting too much time talking about…

6.    The thing that should worry people is…

7.    Conventional thinking says ___________, but we think it’s really…

8.    The area where too much money and time is wasted in this industry is…

9.    Overcoming this one obstacle would change the game…

10.    To make a big difference in this area we should focus on just this one thing…

11.    We never want to be associated with…

12.    To make customers believers they need to understand this one thing…

13.    If you had a crystal ball, what changes would you predict for our industry over the next two years?

14.    What gets me most excited about our industry/business is…

15.    What makes people anxious about this issue/trend?

16.    If we were to look at our business/organization as a cause, what would it be?

17.    What most surprises people about this issue?

18.    What makes you angry about perceptions of our business/industry?

19.    Our product/industry/company matters more/less today because…

20.    Why is our industry/service especially relevant at this point in time?

21.    The biggest risk in this industry is (…) and no one wants to talk about it because…

22.    People would be very surprised if they knew this about our industry/organization…

23.    I’m hopeful that one day our industry will…

24.    What is your diagnosis and understanding of why they can’t seem to handle this problem? Are there institutional barriers? Mental barriers? Have they been raised believing certain lies? Are there certain principles they fail to understand? How would you explain to someone who was totally open and non-defensive about why they’re struggling so much?

25.    At its heart – my work is really about . . .

26.    When I look at my target market, what I most want for them more than anything in the world is . . .

27.    When I look at my target market, what I most see going on for them that I don’t think they even see themselves is . . .

28.    What books or magazines or blogs best capture and articulate what your business is about.

29.    What’s missing in the conversation about __________ is __________.

30.    I take a strong stand for _________ in my industry.

31.     I take a strong stand for _________ in my community.

32.    I believe that the three most critical elements to the journey from _______ to ________ are …

33.    When I look at my clients, the three biggest patterns I notice are …

34.    My clients often feel alone – like they’re the only person who is going through …

35.    The three biggest blunders I see people making over and over again that cause them to fail to get the results they want are …

36.    The three biggest myths people have about making the journey are …

37.     The three most common myths about my industry are …

38.    What have you been thinking about with your industry, craft etc. that you haven’t shared with anyone? (these often help to reveal your next place/step)

39.    What are leaders in your industry talking about? Is there anything that doesn’t feel true about this? Where do you differ from them? Where do you agree?

40.    What are your competitors talking about? Is there anything that doesn’t feel true about this? Where do you differ from them? Where do you agree?

41.     What are the top three things that trouble you about your industry? Grosses you out? Upsets you? Frustrates you?

42.     I think the three most important principles of a successful journey are …

43.     To successfully make the journey, you need to understand the difference between _________ and _________.

44.     Before people set out on their jouney, they should appreciate the genuine dangers of …

45.     What are people self diagnosing themselves with that’s wrong? They say to themselves, “I need ______ (often the quick fix/magic bullet they got sold (e.g. social media))” when they really need _________.” They think their real problem is ______ but you think it’s actually _________.

46.     What are your clients trying to ‘prove’ to the world – who are they trying to make wrong?

47.     Who are your clients secretly trying to impress?

48.     What are your clients (perhaps even unconsciously) in reaction to?

49.     What do your clients REALLY want and what is it they THINK they need to have in place in order to let themselves have it?

50.     What do the experts say about making the journey that you most disagree with?

51.     What do you see as the top three approaches people typically tend to take to making this journey and the strengths and weaknesses of them all (and why is your approach better/different?).

52.     What are the three biggest reasons that it’s not their fault that they’re struggling with the problems you help them with? What are the external factors that make having this problem likely and perhaps almost inevitable?

53.    What are the top three reasons this journey is so hard for people?

54.    What are the top three ways that people unknowingly and unwittingly self limit themselves in this area? and why do you think they do this?

55.    What are the top three things people are told they need to make this journey that they don’t need?

56.    What are your top three tips that can make the most immediate, tangible difference to someone going through this journey? What are three simple tools, tactics, approaches or ideas that can make this journey smoother, faster, more enjoyable and less risky?

57.     Besides what you offer, what are the top three complimentary approaches for people on this journey?

58.    What are the typical phases people predictably go through on this journey? If their journey were a book – what would be the typical chapter titles?

59.     What are three places or ways people feel ashamed of having their problems?

60.     In your opinion, if someone were to go to someone else who was offering what you offer, what is it that people need to see or hear in order to feel confident they’re getting a good deal? What questions should they ask and what answers should they expect?

61.     What are the top three things people should consider before embarking on the journey to make sure it’s really the right time for them?

62.     What supports are most important for people to have in place as they make this journey?

63.     What are the top three lies people are told about themselves on this journey?

64.     What are the top three lies people are told about the journey itself and how to get the results they want?


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About Tad

  • http://www.facebook.com/LissaBoles Lissa Boles

    So singing my song on this one, Tad. I’ve occasionally been called to the mat by the odd peer for the ‘slower’ strategies I feel right living in my business because my first focus is on establishing and building trusting relationship (emphasis on relationship), and real relationships take real time. As does real trust. For me being in a place to build real relationship from starts with slowing down to help myself build it from the start, starting with clarity about my point of view. Without doing that, IMHO I’ve don’t really have much business asking anyone for their time and attention, much less their trust…

  • http://marketingforhippies.com Tad Hargrave

    lissa! would you be up for writing a post for my blog on this longer road to real trust and the role you see POV taking in that? i love it!

  • Lissa

    I’d love to Tad. And kudo’s on all these additions. It occurs to me that you’ve written a road-map to ‘WHY’ clarity AND an outline of the top 64 blog posts/articles to write and publish when starting or launching a new/reimagined biz. How freakin’ cool a resource is THAT! 

    Pssst. The woman who’s book you mention in this post? She’s this weekend’s special Mystery Guest at The Jupiter Midas Effect, but don’t tell anyone I told you…

  • http://marketingforhippies.com Tad Hargrave

    i’m going to see if i can hit 100 of these. and what do you mean by ‘WHY’ clarity. what’s your take on that? but YES! it’s totally like each one of these could be a post hey? you got any you want to add to this? and nice work on getting her as your guest! exciting news!

  • http://jasonfonceca.com JasonFonceca

    I also LOVE this resource, what a brilliant contribution. So glad to go through this exercise. I thought I was clear before, but as Lissa said, the clarity I gained through these questions was brilliant, and besides, I love being asked thoughtful questions.

    I’d liked to add a couple questions:

    65. What are the 3 primary FEELINGS dominates your niche?

    66. What are the 3 primary FEELINGS you deliver to your niche?

    Keep rockin’ Tad!

  • http://www.socialmediarealized.com Craig Filek


  • http://www.kitchentablewisdom.com/ktw_blog/ Lorraine

    I’d add these 6 from you ask to help identify Island C

    What do you know is possible that most people don’t?

    What’s the secret you know?

    What is the possibility you want to wake up in the heart of the world?

    What is a result or reality you currently enjoy in your life or in
    your projects that most people would never even imagine is possible?

    Thinking of your potential clients, complete this sentence, ‘you might be intrigued by the possibility of . . .’

    Most of my clients want __________ but they don’t realize they could have __________.

  • http://twitter.com/jameswelchseo James Welch, SEO

    Hi Tad

    What an excellent post. I have added a list of around half of them on my company website homepage (http://onlineventuresgroup.co.uk).

    It took my a while to go through them, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, so thank you for the experience. But my brain and fingers now hurt, so I’m going for a lie down :)


  • http://marketingforhippies.com Tad Hargrave

    ha! so glad it was useful. and great job with the answers! such a great example.