We think we know everything we need to start crafting a message or pitch. But the obvious questions — who are you talking to, what’s the topic, etc. — aren’t the only ones. To really connect with a customer or audience, we need to know much more about them, what they already know, and what they do (and don’t) care about.

Try answering this list of 20 questions as you start to put together your next sales or marketing message. You’ll quickly find you know more than you think you do… or that you have some more work to do.


1. WHICH industry or market segment are we talking to? Or is it the overall market? (If overall, WHICH segments comprise the overall?)

2. WHO in that segment is our primary customer? (Role or title)

3. WHAT do we want them ultimately to buy or do? (Solution)

4. WHEN in their decision process do typically engage with them? (Early or late?)

5. HOW do they typically engage? (Inbound or outbound? Format?)


Thinking of your typical target customer in this segment…

6. What is their primary GOAL in their job? (What do they need/want to do/get?)

7. What DRIVES them toward that goal? (Why are they trying to achieve it? What motivations are in play?)


Thinking of your typical target customer in this segment…

8.   What is their overall PROBLEM, as they see it? (How do they typically phrase the problem you solve?)

9. What is their overall PROBLEM, as you see it? (Without naming your product or service, what issue – that you can solve – is keeping them from achieving their goal?)

10. What are the MANIFESTATIONS of the problem? (How does the problem show up? What are its symptoms? How does the customer or audience “feel” about the problem? Name 3 – 5. )

11. What are the CONSEQUENCES of those manifestations?


Thinking of your typical target customer in this segment…

12. Why HASN’T the customer solved this problem already?

13. What is the specific ACTION you want the customer to take? (What do you want them to do as an immediate result of this communication or message? Make sure that it immediately, or ultimately, helps them achieve their goal.)

14. What are the 3 – 5 most common objections to this action? (Why wouldn’t they do what you want?)

15. What ALTERNATIVES to this action does this customer have?

16. What are the PROS and CONS of each alternative your customer has?


17. Starting with the manifestations of the problem (Question 10), CIRCLE or STAR the answers that UNKNOWN to the audience.

18. What prior knowledge, beliefs, or experiences work AGAINST you?

19. What prior knowledge, beliefs, or experiences work IN YOUR FAVOR?

20. In general, how ready are they to take the ACTION you want them to take?

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Talk with one of our Oratium team members to see how we can help your business build and deliver a better message. To reach our Office directly, call (406) 272-4368.

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