Feedback. It’s the breakfast of champions.
But asking scares the pants off many people. They’re scared of what they’ll be told. How they’ll cope with negativity.
It’s ironic, because that almost never happens.
Over the years we’ve interviewed literally hundreds of our clients’ customers. In 99.9% of cases the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. And if not, it’s a mechanism for improvement.
Asking people for feedback and help has a number of benefits.
It makes them feel valued. That you took the trouble and possible risk to ask them for their opinion and feedback. As clients, it validates their reasons for working with you and reminds them of your value. Often they place more orders and refer you on.
You appreciate the value you bring to the table.
It’s surprising how many successful people have a deep, irrational fear that “one day they’ll be found out”. That people will twig that they’re not the expert they claim to be.
Receiving positive, often glowing feedback provides you with external validation, building your self-belief. You stop hiding your light under a bushel and confidently communicate that you can help your market with what you provide.
There are practical marketing applications as well.
There is nothing more powerful than having other people proclaim your expertise.
Turning the feedback into third party testimonials and case studies means other people do your promotion for you.
It’s called the Third Party Rule.
A prospect is much more likely to believe an unrelated third party’s opinion over one proclaimed by you.
You use the feedback in your marketing and sales collateral. On your website, in social media, and written communication. You include it in tender and proposal documents. Anywhere social proof will help convince a potential buyer you can deliver.
There is another crucial reason for asking for feedback from your clients.
Every business needs to differentiate itself from its competition.
By asking, you discover your uniqueness in their eyes. Why they chose you over your competition. What you really do for them in their eyes. What’s important to them. What isn’t. And it may not be what you think.
Which is why we insist on interviewing our clients’ customers. We find out what’s working, where they may need to improve and what makes them unique in their client’s eyes.
For example last week an interviewee told me our client, an expert in fire safety systems stood out because he is proactive.
When he finds an issue in regular maintenance checks he immediately phones and lets her know rather than burying it in a long report which risks getting overlooked. He prioritises issues into important and urgent without crying wolf.
Years ago another client thanked us for saving their business. They knew they had issues with their largest customer, but didn’t know the extent. Finding out allowed them to take appropriate action.
Today they have well over 50% market share in that industry and have successfully branched out into green field areas.
So if you’re not asking for feedback and then incorporating what you learn, you’re missing out on crucial intelligence which will help you grow, both personally and in your business.
And yes, we do provide an external service to do just this. You can read about it here.