“Best car?”

It’s a simple question, right? The chances are that something crossed your mind. If you are into fast cars you perhaps considered some super expensive sports cars. Maybe you like a touch of luxury, so you considered all the fancy, technically wonderful features of another high cost vehicle.

But think about your response for a second. Your response – as the person answering the question – is really about you, not the person asking the question.

Here’s another question.

“What’s the best car for someone with a budget of $20,000 and with a short commute?”

There’s a good chance you have a completely different car in mind. No…we mean TOTALLY different.

And something else happened too. Are you thinking about you…or the person who asked the question now?

Small changes for a totally different answer

Of course, we’re playing with you a little here and it’s a simple example. But can you see how adding 12 little words and maybe spending about 10 extra seconds utterly and totally changes the dynamic?

Why do we mention this? What’s our point?

Never, ever ask “Best…?”

Across Facebook groups, forums and other channels, we regularly see questions of the form “What’s the best….?”. The focus of the question will vary, but common examples include the best eMail provider, best hosting, best page builder, best CRM and so on.

For the record, the questions we like least of all is “Best page builder. Go!”. That speaks a little to the expectations – and attitude – of the person asking the question and requesting help from others! But we digress…

So, what’s the problem? We all want to use the “best”, right? Why is it a problem to simply ask?

We’re going to respectfully suggest you don’t fall to the level of expecting important, pivotal information to be all wrapped up in a nice little bow for you.

Do some thinking of your own, perhaps little research and, most important of all, practice “precision questioning”.

Let us explain.

Information-for-all vs. a need for speed

We live in a hugely connected world where access to information (accurate or otherwise!) is incredibly easy. Along with facts, opinions flow as quickly and as far as ever before. The reliability, credibility and authority of our sources is a modern-day challenge for us all, but among the “fake news” and questionable product reviews, we do indeed have access to a tremendous amount of data.

And yet, even with all these resources available, the one resource we value as highly as any other…is time. Our collective attention span seems to decline with every passing year and so we seek immediate, instant gratitude in so much of what we do and expect.

In fact, we do that to the point where we can’t even be bothered to spend just a few more seconds clarifying our question.

This is particularly evident when it comes to technology. When choosing software, for example, we want to quickly assess rich, complex information – without delay and with the presumption of credibility.

Seeking “the best”

These decisions can be far-reaching and long-standing.

  • The web designer asks about “the best page builder”, with which s/he will spend hundreds of hours crafting web sites
  • The entreprenuer asks about the “best host”, on which a business will show its online face 24 hours a day, every day of the year
  • The Internet Marketer asks about “the best eMail marketing platform”, from which hundreds of thousands of eMails – and perhaps many customer relationships – will be launched

See the trend? We all want to know “the best” because the decisions we make are hugely important.

But does “best” mean exactly? Best for who? Best by what standard?

And how much of your time can you justify finding the so-called best “x” for your needs?

The value of precision questioning

Take a look at these two questions.

“Best email platform?”

“Best email platform for a business sending a mixture of sales and transactional eMails, totaling around 30,000 per month?”

A few extra words and a few extra second changes everything.

First, you are filtering responses (hopefully) to folks who have some awareness of eMail platforms that address these needs.

But – very importantly – you just switched the focus to you. Even those folks who have very different eMail needs may have some insightful comments, but are likely now thinking about YOUR stated needs, not theirs.

Oh..one more thing. The first question above has one (dubious) “advantage”. Because human nature is to assume that anyone using something different to what we use is making a mistake, the first form (“Best eMail platform”) just becomes a survey. You end up getting responses that are merely based on who uses what…rather than anything to do with what you need.

Help others to help you

Do us all a favor including yourself.

Don’t be lazy.

Don’t just ask for the “Best…”.

Ask for the best-with-context. Otherwise you just get a vote, rather than useful information!