The Secret of Conversation is to Ask Questions
Your prospects and customers can give you important feedback, both directly and indirectly, but perhaps there is another great way to find out how you are doing.
This is a blast from my past.
After addressing a group of sales contest winners in Hawaii, I was on the shuttle bus headed for the airport. My best education and content for my speeches comes from asking questions. As I was the only passenger, I leaned forward and commented to the driver, “I bet your passengers tell you what they really think about their stays at these fancy resorts because they know you don’t work for any of them.”
“Oh, yes,” he replied. “In fact, once a month, the general manager of the hotel where you stayed comes to the depot with a big box of donuts and has coffee with the drivers. While we eat his donuts, we tell him everything we’ve overheard about his hotel and about his competitors’ hotels.”
That is what I call Box-of-Donuts’ consulting.
The hotel manager could have paid large fees to a research firm to contact 1,000 guests and ask what they liked and didn’t like. That information, however, couldn’t possibly be as up-to-date or as honest as the feedback of those drivers, nor would it give him valuable information about his competition.
Do you get, keep, and deserve your customers by finding out what they really want from you? Yes. In addition, I suggest an additional, frequently overlooked low-tech method of talking to others who talk to your customers and have no personal stake in their opinions
I challenge you to find ways to use Box-of-Donuts’ consulting. Yes, you can also use bagels or muffins.
My friend, copywriting authority David Garfinkel, says there are five important answers you need to know from your customers, directly or indirectly:
- What do you like about buying from us?
- Why did you buy from us in the first place?
- What problems did you have before you bought from us?
- How did we help you solve those problems?
- How is your business better for you now?
“That last answer,” says David, “is very important. It’s what a positive result looks like to a real customer, and it’s going to look the same to your other customers and prospects when you tell them about it.”
Remember, exceed your customers’ expectations or one of your competitors will.
Ask and you will receive. No, I am not claiming that is an original Frippicism.
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