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You know that feeling when you are talking to someone and as you are explaining something to them you sense they have a question… you begin to notice their body language change, there is something hanging unsaid in the air.

Normally you will clarify and answer the question (if you have a good idea what it might be) or invite them to ask the question, but it is not always that easy to help them over the hurdle.

Websites make this more difficult, the reason being, the website is giving the pitch to every visitor that comes past, but the website does not have your intuition as to when there is a silent question in the buyers mind.

This puts you at a disadvantage. The challenge is to identify and answer them.

HOW DO I KNOW WHAT THE SILENT QUESTIONS ARE?

1: Experience – If you have been in business for a while you will probably know much of what your clients want to know because you have been asked over and over and over again.

2: Your inbox will tell you – What are the questions you most often find in your inbox? This is a good indication of what is lacking on your site.

3: Qualitative Research – Setup live chat (like purechat) so your customers can talk to you directly in a non-threatening setting. The transcripts of these conversations will be very helpful in the search.

You can also perform usertesting. Sit down with people from your target market, get them to explore your website, then you can ask them direct questions as they perform the tasks. By doing this with a number of people you can gain a fairly accurate understanding of all the major silent questions.

HOW DO I ANSWER THEM?

There is no absolute answer to this question. Some set up a FAQ page, and this is probably the simplest way to answer the questions, but if you can weave the answers into your sales copy you will find the results are better in most cases, due to the fact the questions are answered before they even come to mind.

You don’t need to be a sales copy genius, but if you do insert it into the copy, make sure it still has a nice flow and conversational tone (don’t try to write in Q&A style).

WHAT NEXT?

Pull out your pad and pen, and write down the questions that your customers ask you every day, then check if they are adequately answered on your website. This is the first and easiest step to take, once you have done that, you can start looking at other research techniques.

Do you have any unanswered questions? Please tell me about them in the comments below.