Saqui Research

The Three Golden Questions: What you need to ask TODAY

You really need to get yourself in this situation as soon as possible.

Put yourself in a room with 6 people in your target market and ask them these three questions:

target market questions

  1. What are your top three challenges?
  2. To whom do you go for help with these challenges?
  3. If you could solve these problems, what would the outcome or benefit be?


This was exactly what I was able to do the other night.  It helped my business tremendously.

Why are these the three golden questions?

“What are your top three challenges?”  This first question lets me quickly know which problems are top-of-mind for my prospective clients.  I don’t have to guess.  It also helps me form a hypothesis about what I could possibly do to help them with these problems.  On the other hand, it may validate that I am on the right track with what I am currently offering.  Finally, asking them “What are your top three challenges?” gives me their problems in their own language.  I could be thinking that one of their problems is lack of a revenue model but to my prospective client it may be inconsistent cash flow. “Revenue model” may not even be part of their vocabulary but “cash flow” is.  Understanding a customer’s problems in the customer’s language is GOLDEN when it comes to connecting to their problem definition and engaging them in a product or service that you can provide.

“To whom do you go for help with these challenges?”  This question is extremely important because it tells me who they see as their confidante, their trusted advisor, their guru.  Is it a friend, a family member, a business colleague, a mentor, a psychic?  It also gives me clues about potential marketing channels.  Do they get this help face to face through casual conversation, through a coaching session or formal mentoring meeting?  Do they read a blog, a book, buy a product, or go to a seminar or workshop?  Understanding what source a prospect is turning to in order to solve his or her problem is GOLDEN because it tells me where I need to be.  For example, I was surprised to learn that none of these six people regularly turns to a blog or other online resource for help.  It made me realize that just because I read several blogs religiously for advice, my target audience may not do the same thing.  (Tip: Be careful about self-referencing.)  In addition, it refocused my strategy to include more of the other places they did say they turned to for help.

“If you could solve these problems, what would the outcome or benefit be?”  The answers to this question gives me the ROI, the return on investment, from the client’s perspective in the client’s own language.  Most clients I work with can’t specifically tell me what benefits they provide much less from the client’s perspective.  (They are very good at telling me about features but not benefits.)  Other times, we have found out that what the provider thought she was giving to her clients wasn’t what the clients found the most important.  For example, a consultant client of mine thought she was providing content expertise and help setting and achieving goals.  However, her clients identified the benefit as being accountability.  Now is accountability part of setting and achieving goals?  Of course it is.  However, it is GOLDEN when you speak the customer’s language when describing benefits because he is more likely to feel that you “get” him, understand what he needs or wants, and a connection is formed.

Three questions…that’s all.  Try it and let me know what you learn.

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Ursula Saqui is an academic and psychotherapist turned entrepreneur. Works with individuals and organizations that are willing, curious, and brave enough to intensely focus and work on their brand, customers, and competitive advantage. When she is not working, she is spending time with her family, reading, playing soccer, or eating steak. Connect with Ursula via , Twitter, LinkedIn, or on Facebook.
  1. Betty

    Great topic! The blog is full of valuable information that can be operationalized with many target markets, including mine.
    Thank you for this golden nugget!

    • Ursula Saqui

      You are welcome Betty! Try it and let me know how it works for you. It can also be done one-on-one instead of in a group setting. I just happened to have the group in front of me.