“The quality of the data is directly related to the quality of the question.”

-Ryan Levesque

Do you think you know what your customers want? Have you sent them surveys? Most business owners either assume that they know what their customers want, or don’t know the right questions to ask to get the most impactful answers.

Today Ryan Levesque, creator of the Ask Method and national best-selling author of Ask, joins us to talk about why you shouldn’t assume you know what your clients want, and how to formulate the questions to find out what they need so you can best serve them. He also explains why segmented opportunities will produce better results for your marketing efforts on this edition of Grow My Revenue.

Listen to this episode and discover:

  • What is the key to unlocking the full potential of your business?
  • What is the second biggest mistake people make when trying to find out what their customers want?
  • Where should you start when sending out a survey?
  • What does SMIQ stand for?
  • What are micro-commitments and how do you use them effectively?
  • And so much more!

Episode Overview

Ryan Levesque is a software entrepreneur and the creator of the Ask Method. His book Ask, which was written based on his method, was named the #1 marketing book of 2015 by Inc. magazine, and Entrepreneur magazine listed it as the #2 must-read for budding entrepreneurs. And those accolades are well-founded: he has used the Ask Method to help build multi-million dollar businesses in 23 different industries and generated over $100 million in sales in the process.

When he joined me on the show, I asked him to talk about the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to surveys, and his response was simple: people assume and assume they know. He says whenever he brings up the idea of surveying customers to get to know them better and find out what they want, what they need, and what they’ll buy, his suggestion is met with resistance by the business owner.

Business owners inevitably tell him they know what their clients want. But the key to unlocking the potential in any business is to have a beginner’s mind. Approach your business as though you know nothing about your customers. Pretend you are a scientist about to start an experiment, and go in with no bias or preconceived ideas. As you experiment, you let the data, the feedback, and your market tell you the truth.

Once you do that and you are open to getting the data and the feedback, you must know the right types of questions to ask. This is the second place where people fall down, they ask the wrong questions. They send out surveys to their customers asking them what they want and what they need help with.

Ryan says this doesn’t work because people don’t always know what they want. But people do know what they don’t want; that is a question they can accurately answer. You can get those answers by using something Ryan calls the Single Most Important Question method (or SMIQ).

You use SMIQ by thinking about how to frame your questions. You can say something like: “When it comes to X, what is the biggest challenge, frustration, obstacle, or hurdle you run into?” In this example, “X” stands for the thing you intend to help people with. Ask your clients to be as detailed as possible in their responses.

On this episode, Ryan also explains the myth of the FAQ by sharing a story of his experience in the orchid care market. His company successfully entered the orchid care market using the Ask Method. He had no knowledge and no experience in that market, other than the fact that he and his wife bought a bunch of orchids and killed them!

So they went into the market and asked questions like: “When it comes to caring for your orchid, what is the single biggest challenge/frustration/question you are running into right now?”

The biggest response that came up, above all others, was watering. People wanted to know how and when to water their orchids – things like that. Being the entrepreneur he is, he took that info and built a product on watering your orchid. Then he reached out to the same list he asked the question of, and promptly sold zero copies to them.

Seeing his results as feedback, he looked at the data again and a realization hit him: there was a group he entirely ignored. There were four groups, smaller in size, but they responded with long, detailed, and passionate answers. He shifted his focus to serving that segment of the market, ignoring everyone else, and took the orchid care business from zero to $25k a month in 18 months, and then to half a million dollars a year.

The lesson? The depth of response is far more important than the frequency of response. Hear more about that lesson, and other gems from Ryan on this episode of Grow My Revenue!


Ryan Levesque’s web site
Ask by Ryan Levesque
Ryan Levesque on Facebook

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Check out John Ruhlin’s new book Giftology. John is a brilliant guy, and his book is sure to be an instant bestseller.


If you enjoyed this session with Ryan Levesque let him know by clicking on the link below to send him a quick message on LinkedIn:

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What’s On Your Mind

As always, this episode provides inspiration, entertainment, and especially an actionable message that can drive remarkable results – and if you have any questions for a future episode, contact me.