Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies

By Beacon Staff

One of the most critical things you can do as a business owner is to regularly ask your clients how they feel about the work you did for them, the products you sell and the services you provide.

Recently I was reviewing a client’s evaluation/feedback form. His form had areas for various aspects of the work, as well as how the project went. Communication, Quality, stuff like that.

Forms like these serve many purposes, but not nearly enough people use them in a manner that really makes them valuable.

The biggest mistake about feedback forms is that not enough businesses use them.

Other than that, what I see most often is someone trying to reduce the feedback to numbers. Numbers really don’t help you.

Here’s why: It’s morning and your spouse stumbles into the kitchen after their shower, pours a cup of coffee, puts a hand on your shoulder, kisses you gently on the cheek, then sits down at the table and says something about your performance.

Would you rather your spouse said “Honey, you were a perfect 10 last night.”, or “Honey, you were amazing last night. You made me feel like a newlywed again. It’s too bad we both have to go to work, I’m not sure I can wait till tonight.”

So lets translate that to business-speak:

Would you rather a client commented about your product/service like this:

“10”, or “8.2”, or “7”

or like this:

“Jessica, your work was on-time and on budget. Even though we were sure you were qualified to complete this project, the results you delivered were far better than we expected and showed a surprising understanding of our business that most consultants don’t grasp. No doubt that we’ll hire you again, and next time, we’ll be sure to call you well ahead of time so we can get you right when we need you.”

That’s the difference between feedback that feels good but doesn’t help you, and feel-good feedback that you can do something with.

Getting a “10” doesn’t help you because you can’t say “Widget Industries says we’re a 10” in your marketing, unless you want to bore them to death. On the other hand, “Widget Industries said we were ‘on-time and on budget, qualified, far better than we expected…understood what most consultants dont grasp’ – what are you missing out on?”. While that’s a really lame headline for a marketing piece (it is a start…), you get the idea.

Tangible, actionable feedback. Even better, tangible actionable feedback that addresses common sales objections and makes a great testimonial – that’s a home run piece of feedback.

So how do you translate a zero thru ten scale to words? Simple. You don’t. Wasn’t that easy?

Instead, you ask questions that will produce something other than a yes/no, 0 to 10 answer.

You ask questions that expose your strengths and weaknesses – and require elaboration.
You ask questions that result in answers about things that most clients wouldn’t think to ask when they’re a prospect.
You ask questions that become testimonials – if they’re good answers. Bad ones become things you need to focus on – stuff you’d never get from a form with numbers unless it was far more detailed.
You ask questions that address common sales objections, such as “Before we worked for you, I got the impression that you felt our prices were high. How do you feel about that now that we’ve completed the work?”

The answer to that question is a perfect response to price objections, for example. Or to comments like “Dannnnnng, boy. Your prices are ridiculous, who do you think you are?”

One final key – make sure your forms note that feedback will be used for marketing purposes unless they ask you not to use their comments. You want other people to see their words – the good ones at least.

Got a business or marketing question you’d like Mark to write about or just want more info about him? See Mark’s site or contact him at [email protected].

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