I’m not sure who first created a frequently asked questions document or page, but I hope I get the opportunity to thank her someday. (And yes, I’m pretty confident that it was a “her,” given the innate male reluctance to pose questions.)

For marketers and other communicators, the FAQ is one of the most powerful tools you can use. It can strengthen your sales efforts, overcome resistance, minimize misunderstandings, and boost customer satisfaction.

Well-crafted websites, brochures, and other communications tools take the place of one of your employees. You can’t have salespeople hovering around your customers all the time (because that’s called “stalking”), but a thorough FAQ page or document is almost as good.

A customer who is considering a purchase may be hesitant. She’ll ask herself, “Well, what about …?,” and that question will create enough uncertainty to stop her from buying. But if she drifts over to your FAQ and sees her question there, you’ve instantly addressed and removed that hesitancy. You’ve turned a browser into a buyer.

If you kept track of the questions you receive from prospects or customers, you’d mostly likely determine that there were a dozen or so you heard again and again. In fact, you’re probably so tired of hearing those questions that your answer sounds bored. Those are exactly the questions that should end up in your FAQ. And, as customers and prospects spring new questions on you, you can add them to the FAQ, so it becomes even more effective over time.