What Kind of Questions Do You Ask?

by 50 comments
You know, of all the people new to Internet Marketing who come here, I think I can predict who will experience some success relatively quickly and who will struggle for a long time.

How?

By the kinds of questions they ask.

Some people get what it takes even though they don't yet know what it takes. What that means is they understand that they have a lot to learn, they have a desire to learn, and they ask thoughtful questions that lead to the kind of answers that further their knowledge and take them closer to their goal of a successful online business.

Then there's the other kind of newbie. They ask questions that don't further their understanding of Internet Marketing. They ask what I'd call "cocktail party" questions. They are conversation starters and nothing more. They do not lead to the kind of answers that take them closer to their goals, if they have goals.

If you want to succeed - in anything - you have to ask good questions. I've seen quite a few "cocktail party" questions lately. Questions that really don't belong in this forum, they belong in the off topic forum. But this isn't a rant about that, it's just a wee bit of advice from someone whose been around the block quite a few times...

If you want more success, ask better questions.

If you ask silly questions you get back friendly banter that doesn't help you earn money. If you ask better questions you get back answers that help further your knowledge base and move you one step closer to your goal.

Your choice. Which do you want, success...or an online cocktail party?
#internet marketing #kind #questions
  • Profile picture of the author George Wright
    What does friendly banter mean?

    George Wright
  • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
    You're absolutely right, Dennis. A smart guy once told
    me that successful people aren't the ones who have all
    the right answers... they're the ones who have all the
    right questions.

    Tsnyder
    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by George Wright View Post

      What does friendly banter mean?
      Small talk.

      Originally Posted by Tsnyder View Post

      You're absolutely right, Dennis. A smart guy once told
      me that successful people aren't the ones who have all
      the right answers... they're the ones who have all the
      right questions.
      That's an excellent point. It reminds me of another smart guy who made a similar comment about leaders. Leaders don't have all the answers, but they know where to find them.
  • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
    I came to this thread because I saw someone wrote "cocktail party" and brought my martini shaker......

    In all seriousness, I tend to agree with you Dennis. When someone asks a very specific question, you can usually tell that they're taking action and trying to implement something as opposed to someone who asks a question like "what do you think about guru A using this tactic?" or "what's more important traffic or sales copy?".

    One of my favorite chapters in AWAKEN THE GIANT WITHIN is the one on asking better questions. When one asks better questions they tend to come up with better answers. Now, I've got a question.....where in the heck did I put my 144 oz. coffee mug?

    RoD
  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    I'm really digging all your mindset advice lately, Dennis. You're nailing it with this one. I notice myself picking out newer faces here all the time and I tend to categorize by "gets it" or "is clueless." And I don't mean their level of knowledge at all. As you say, it's about the quality of their questions and what those questions say about the person's priorities and their mindset. Great post!

    John
  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    RoD, you left your mug at the last cocktail party. If you sign up to my mailing list I can get it back to you for just $29.95 for shipping and handling. Mostly handling.

    I've been meaning to read Awaken the Giant Within for a long time. I actually checked the audio version out of the library a few months ago after being on a waiting list to get it, only to have my CD player crap out when it did come in. I've got a new player, but now I'm on a big waiting list again.

    And yes, those are representative of the type of questions I was talking about. I actually started to post a similar reply in one of those threads and decided better of it, not wanting to single any one person out.

    @ John - ...and as I'm sure you've also noticed, it's a lot easier to help the ones that get it.
  • Profile picture of the author mikemcmillan
    Dennis said,
    Your choice. Which do you want, success...or an online cocktail party?

    I'll have a Harvey Wallbanger light on the Galliano .

    Seriously Dennis, you nailed it as usual.

    When I was teaching, after the lecture (we used to lecture in the old days) students would come up and say, "I don't know how to do this problem."

    I would say, "What is your question?" Some would turn around and walk away. Some would stare at me like a deer caught in the headlights. Some would think for a minute and actually ask a question. As time went by they caught on.

    I wasn't there to solve their problems. I was there to help them learn to ask the right questions. Sometimes it worked.

    So Dennis, rather than standing here like one of those dumb ass deer caught in the headlights , (which is my normal going-through-life state) let me ask you a question.

    I'm coming to you as a complete newbie who wants to begin in affiliate marketing. In no more than 20 words, what is the single biggest mistake I am likely to make?

    Second part, where's my Harvey Wallbanger guy?
    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by mikemcmillan View Post


      So Dennis, rather than standing here like one of those dumb ass deer caught in the headlights , (which is my normal going-through-life state) let me ask you a question.

      I'm coming to you as a complete newbie who wants to begin in affiliate marketing. In no more than 20 words, what is the single biggest mistake I am likely to make?

      Second part, where's my Harvey Wallbanger guy?
      How about...asking me for advice!

      Oh, you were serious? OK. First let me say that I mostly market my own products. Affiliate products are a secondary income for me. Second, I can think of several likely mistakes. Third, 20 words isn't much to work with, but I like a good challenge, so... Fourth, I'm going to sum it up in a one-word answer:
      Research
      Most newbies fail to do useful research on several levels. They don't research keywords, products, reputations, sales copy, sales page leaks, their own list or website visitor's likes, dislikes, interests and tendencies, etc. Nor do they research the best ways to lead people to their affiliate links. That's partly the merchants fault. So very many only offer a some stinking graphics or text links, few offer any training.

      I made the same mistake most merchants do when I first started an affiliate program. Didn't have a lot of success with it. When I relaunch my affiliate program it will be way different from what most merchants do. There will be training, better sales material including brandable free reports, courses, and ebooks to give away, and so on.

      In other words, my first failure at running an affiliate program was treated as feedback. I've learned from it, and will improve it greatly the next time around. I've even bought a separate domain just for affiliate training.

      That's my story and I'm sticking to it. How'd I do, teach? Speaking of teaching, I wish I'd have had a teacher like you when I was in school. Not a one taught me to think, at least not in a way I understood it as such. I'd have probably been one of your students that just stares at you like a deer in the headlights. The thing is, I'd have kept staring at you until you gave me a clue or ran me over. I did learn how to memorize what they wanted to hear though. Yay rah.

      Oh, lastly, will you settle for a Miller Lite? I've got a cold one here for you any time.

      Originally Posted by Matt M View Post

      One of the hardest things to get across is when you try to get someone to realize that they are asking the wrong questions.

      They often feel as though we are trying to tear down their attempts to carry out an ingenious plan.

      Usually leads to those "veterans against the newbies" discussions.

      Only a handful get that their plan was built on faulty assumptions and a shaky foundation after doing a little listening.
      Some truth to that, Matt, but they need to hear what they need to hear. Some just need to hear it a few more times than others do.
  • Profile picture of the author Matt Bard
    One of the hardest things to get across is when you try to get someone to realize that they are asking the wrong questions.

    They often feel as though we are trying to tear down their attempts to carry out an ingenious plan.

    Usually leads to those "veterans against the newbies" discussions.

    Only a handful get that their plan was built on faulty assumptions and a shaky foundation after doing a little listening.

    ...what is the single biggest mistake I am likely to make?
    Mike, can I take a stab at it?

    Not matching the right offer to the right market. Failure to understand that not all traffic is the same. (19)
  • Profile picture of the author Kella Bella
    Here's my thoughts on this. I hope btw I exemplify this thought! This forum has some great information. Better information than I have ever paid for before. I respect that so most of my questions come from trying to learn more about ideas that are presented and while doing research needing some clarification. Someone mentioned something a few days ago about people wanting the "secret". To me, the secrets are all over the forum but imo if I am too lazy to even look for them and do my due diligence for getting information then who am I to ask anyone anything?

    I would like to add though that I'm bringing olive juice cause I be likin my martinis super dirty! I wanna be successful and have good cocktail parties-is that too much for a girl to ask for? hehe
  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    Kelly, one of the things I've noticed about you is that you're eager to learn and you ask the specific kind of questions that demonstrate you're taking action. That means most of the time you're probably going to get the kind of answers that help lead you to success.
    • Profile picture of the author Kella Bella
      Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

      Kelly, one of the things I've noticed about you is that you're eager to learn and you ask the specific kind of questions that demonstrate you're taking action. That means most of the time you're probably going to get the kind of answers that help lead you to success.

      Thanks Dennis that's a nice compliment. And I hope you are right about the success part!
  • Profile picture of the author mikemcmillan
    I'm going to sum it up in a one-word answer: Research

    Was hoping you said that Dennis. Thank you!
    The Miller Lite? Don't open it yet, but keep it cold!

    Since Dennis cheaped out on his answer to my original question with a one-word answer I want to get even with him. Click on his "Almost A Newsletter" link in his sig file and look for his free
    "Keyword Basics" ebook on his site. He told you the key was in research--so learn how to do the research with his ebook. Let's burn up his bandwidth with downloads. It really is good--I'd grab it for free before he comes to his senses. --Mike
    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by mikemcmillan View Post

      I'm going to sum it up in a one-word answer: Research

      Was hoping you said that Dennis. Thank you!
      The Miller Lite? Don't open it yet, but keep it cold!

      Since Dennis cheaped out on his answer to my original question with a one-word answer I want to get even with him. Click on his "Almost A Newsletter" link in his sig file and look for his free
      "Keyword Basics" ebook on his site. He told you the key was in research--so learn how to do the research with his ebook. Let's burn up his bandwidth with downloads. It really is good--I'd grab it for free before he comes to his senses. --Mike
      Actually I kind of explained why that was my answer, it wasn't a complete cheap-out!

      Just wanted to add that the ebook you referred to is listed in the first bullet point so anyone that wants it won't have to hunt. It will be there for another 2-3 days until the next issue goes up, then it's going to be offered as a special report for $10.00. So the "free" availability is about over.

      PS - I'm keeping the beer cold for you, but after 30 days that service goes to $17.00 a month.
  • Profile picture of the author DogScout
    I haven't had a question a search didn't answer...

    Wonder what that means?
    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by DogScout View Post

      I haven't had a question a search didn't answer...

      Wonder what that means?
      In your case it means you're self-reliant, know how to frame your searches, and know how to ask questions that give you the answers you need. If everyone were like that, posts like my OP wouldn't be needed.
    • Profile picture of the author bocephus
      Thanks Dennis. A great common sense post.

      As an IM newbie I read this forum and marvel at two things:

      1. The lack of patience demonstrated by many novices. This seems to be generally accompanied by a propensity to flit from one "sure-fire" idea to another with the hope that something will happen fast.

      2. The lousy advice some non-novices are willing to dish out for the sake of another click on their signature.

      Gotta love the "3 Things All Newbies Need..." type posts.

      If a novice clearly has no idea how to do keyword research, they probably don't need to build a squeeze page, or add more affiliate links to their poorly performing page.

      Anyway... thanks for the good post. Nice to read stuff not full of B.S.

      Michelob Golden Draft ... tall.
  • Profile picture of the author webfighter
    i ask 1 question daily in this forum and i get good answers to further succeed in IM, and yes i ask IM questions only,
  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    The biggest problem I see for the newbie is that when you ask the "good" questions, you don't get "good" answers.

    For example, Dennis, you say the biggest problem is research. What does that mean?

    Let's boil it down to just a LITTLE part of the problem. A newbie doesn't do keyword research well enough. How can he do it better?

    "Um, well, you have to, um, there's this buying keyword thing... you have to examine commercial intent... you find the keywords that, um, the numbers should look like this... you'll get the hang of it eventually..."

    WTF? How do I find them? It sounds like the answer I just got was a bunch of smoke blown up my arse about "just keep doing whatever you're doing and eventually you'll magically figure out that you're doing it wrong and fix it."

    What are the good questions? Well, the ones that get answered with "download my viral ebook" or "opt-in to my list" or "buy my product" or "join my coaching program" - those are the good ones.

    I suggest that the people who are going to succeed in IM aren't necessarily the ones who ask the good questions, but the ones who stop asking questions altogether once they see enough answers from the community at large.
  • Profile picture of the author EvanScott
    This post has created a lot of friendly banter
    • Profile picture of the author jennypitts
      Originally Posted by mikemcmillan View Post


      I would say, "What is your question?" Some would turn around and walk away. Some would stare at me like a deer caught in the headlights. Some would think for a minute and actually ask a question. As time went by they caught on.

      I wasn't there to solve their problems. I was there to help them learn to ask the right questions. Sometimes it worked.
      Mike I could not agree more. I used to do the exact same things to my students when I taught in public schools. And I STILL do it with my girls and homework. If I give them the answer they'll never learn, I can provide the means for them to find the answer, but I will never solve their problems. And that is one of the biggest mistakes most newbies face, they want others to solve their problems.

      Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

      I made the same mistake most merchants do when I first started an affiliate program. Didn't have a lot of success with it. When I relaunch my affiliate program it will be way different from what most merchants do. There will be training, better sales material including brandable free reports, courses, and ebooks to give away, and so on.

      In other words, my first failure at running an affiliate program was treated as feedback. I've learned from it, and will improve it greatly the next time around. I've even bought a separate domain just for affiliate training.

      That's my story and I'm sticking to it. How'd I do, teach? Speaking of teaching, I wish I'd have had a teacher like you when I was in school. Not a one taught me to think, at least not in a way I understood it as such. I'd have probably been one of your students that just stares at you like a deer in the headlights. The thing is, I'd have kept staring at you until you gave me a clue or ran me over. I did learn how to memorize what they wanted to hear though. Yay rah.

      Oh, lastly, will you settle for a Miller Lite? I've got a cold one here for you any time.
      I think those of us who last through the initial trial stage of IM learn from our mistakes and actually try NOT to make them again. Most beginners will fail and settle for the failure. Now Dennis, you probably would have liked my class as well. : ) Actually, since it was public school you probably would have been the only one liking my class.

      Hey, being a girl I like the girly beers like Michelob Ultra. Or if my husband joins me then we'll settle for imported Perroni.

      Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

      In your case it means you're self-reliant, know how to frame your searches, and know how to ask questions that give you the answers you need. If everyone were like that, posts like my OP wouldn't be needed.

      AGREED... Dennis if you notice, everyone that has commented on your post has been around for a while. And the two or three newbies that have commented are like Kelly, who ask questions with content and substance.
  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    Caliban, if you'd seen the questions I read that prompted me to start this thread, you'd understand why I did. Some of the questions aren't even IM related. I don't want to single anyone out as a "bad" example, but they go something like this:
    Which is more important, working or relaxing?
    Asking questions like that isn't going to get you closer to your IM goals.

    On the other hand, some newbies ask very specific questions. You can tell by their questions they are taking action, they are trying to help themselves first, and are stuck at a specific place. They ask specific questions and they get answers that are directly related to their problem.

    You make a good point, but your example represents a general question that gets a general answer. The question can be broken down in more specific questions that will yield more specific answers. If you ask me, a person that is asking general questions isn't doing much to help themselves first, before they ask. Go Google "keyword research" and get a background, then come back and ask specific questions.

    It just isn't that hard to get a decent background on any IM topic by using a search engine. Then come back here ask specific questions about what you don't understand.

    Help is available, but they have to try to help themselves as well. No one is going to hold their hand and walk them through every step of everything they need to know. That's the problem for a lot of newbies, they want all the answers handed to them and aren't doing much to help themselves.

    In this business, if you're waiting for all the answers to be given to you, you'll be waiting a long, long time. It's not a business for the lazy. Don't expect others to help when you're doing little to help yourself.
    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

      If you ask me, a person that is asking general questions isn't doing much to help themselves first, before they ask.
      Why should they?

      Imagine that I have a question. You're standing nearby, and chances are very good that you know the answer. Why would I go out and try to answer my own question, when I can just ask you?

      After all, I have other things to do. If I am designing a website's graphics, and then I will need to write articles, and before I write articles I need to do keyword research... why not send out an email or forum post asking how to do better keyword research?

      When I am done with the graphics, I can check for answers, and it took me no time at all. I have saved all that research time for writing the articles. I outsourced the research to the forum, and paid nothing for it. Nobody had to respond; they volunteered. If nobody volunteers, I'm no worse off than I was, and I can go do the research.

      This may not be the way you like to work, but that doesn't make it wrong.
    • Profile picture of the author bocephus
      Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

      I don't want to single anyone out as a "bad" example, but they go something like this:
      Which is more important, working or relaxing?
      Shoot. Well, there goes my next topic:

      "Can anyone here prove that the square root of 2 is irrational without using proof by contradiction?"
  • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
    It's funny Dennis - I get many requests for help each week and I know right away by the type of questions whether I should work with that person or not.

    One thing I look for to know if someone will really use the help I would give them is to see if the questions they are asking are "Action-oriented" questions. If I get many questions about high-level things, then I most likely have a dreamer, but not a do'er and that person will be no farther ahead 6-months from now than they are right now - not matter what information they get.

    Other questions are more specific showing evidence of trying different things - that is the type of person I don't mind helping because I know they are not adverse to digging in and trying things out for themselve.

    Jeff
    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by jbsmith View Post

      It's funny Dennis - I get many requests for help each week and I know right away by the type of questions whether I should work with that person or not.

      One thing I look for to know if someone will really use the help I would give them is to see if the questions they are asking are "Action-oriented" questions. If I get many questions about high-level things, then I most likely have a dreamer, but not a do'er and that person will be no farther ahead 6-months from now than they are right now - not matter what information they get.

      Other questions are more specific showing evidence of trying different things - that is the type of person I don't mind helping because I know they are not adverse to digging in and trying things out for themselve.

      Jeff
      Couldn't agree more, Jeff. Show me you're willing to help yourself and I'll be more willing to help you.
  • Profile picture of the author Richard Tunnah
    Good thread Dennis. The kind of questions I never understand is like the one I saw posted today - 'How much can I make from a product launch?'. Sorry no offence to guys posting these questions but I really not sure if you expect some specific magical numbers posted in reply.

    Rich
  • Profile picture of the author TheGuruHub
    Hi Dennis,

    Good point. The only thing I would add is to start DOING something. People that succeed don't wait for all the answers before beginning, they dive in the deep end and learn to swim.

    Make it a first priority to have "something" for sale within the first thirty days. Keep to a time limit and put something out there by then. It might be perfect, it might not, but you will get a huge boost the first time someone pays you five bucks for a ten page ebook and that will motivate you to do it again and better and on a larger scale.

    Ask great questions, get good answers.... and get going! (yes, I spent the first six months wondering if what I was doing was good enough...what time I wasted...never again!)

    Best -
    Gregg
  • Profile picture of the author ContentArticleWriter
    GREAT THREAD Dennis. This is what you call Warrior brains expressing themselves. Well I happen to be a Newbie, but I have the benefit of having an IMer husband, and I said it once here, he warned me before I joined by saying: "Don't ask stupid or silly questions, I can answer those." So when in doubt i turn to him!!!

    I try to add comments that help others and I am learning as I go. After years working in the Media, this is all very new to me, but I am enjoying it. SO, I will continue listening to my husband and TRY never to ask a stupid and vague question...
    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by ContentArticleWriter View Post

      GREAT THREAD Dennis. This is what you call Warrior brains expressing themselves. Well I happen to be a Newbie, but I have the benefit of having an IMer husband, and I said it once here, he warned me before I joined by saying: "Don't ask stupid or silly questions, I can answer those." So when in doubt i turn to him!!!

      I try to add comments that help others and I am learning as I go. After years working in the Media, this is all very new to me, but I am enjoying it. SO, I will continue listening to my husband and TRY never to ask a stupid and vague question...
      Thanks.

      Let me make one thing clear...anyone can ask any question they want. I've never said any questions were off limits. All I've been saying is if you're not getting the kind of answers you want, try coming up with better questions. It helps.

      The whole point was to get people to realize that when they ask better questions, they will usually get better feedback. That's not a new concept. Albert Einstein and many others have said the same thing in different ways over the course of the last century or more.
  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

    If you want more success, ask better questions.
    Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

    People generally do the best they can. If that's not good enough for you, that's not really their problem, it's yours.
    Physician, heal thyself.

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