Feedback is such a valuable tool for business and marketing. It helps you direct your focus and financial investment in marketing and promoting your work. There’s no point spending money on advertising that doesn’t bring you any business. And it’s also important to understand your client’s needs and experience, so that you can help give them the best customer experience possible.
I’ve met many frustrated business owners who have never taken the time to find out how and why their clients chose them – or not. I’ve also been one of these business owners in the past. It’s so easy to make all your own assumptions, but so often our assumptions can be false.
As my partner always reminds me “never ASSume anything, because it makes an ASS out of you and me.” Or something like that…
You can spend years trying to boost your business, getting frustrated by the lack of growth and as a result you can invest more and more energy and money into marketing that is completely ineffective. There’s no point knocking repeatedly on the wrong doors.
The most powerful way to understand the mystery of how you get business and what works well and not so well, is by asking the people who matter – your clients.
So the question you need to be asking them is: “How did you find me?”
Of course, you can use all kinds of online analytic data such as Google Analytics or your social media insights to track how people land on your website or social media account.
But I actually find that the simplest and best way to do it is to just ask your client.
Why is this better than your analytic data?
Analytic data is dry. It tells you things such as who landed on your site and how often, where from, using what device, how long they stayed and which pages they looked at etc.
But a client who has actually committed to your products or services can tell you their entire emotional and personal journey first hand. The information they share with you is so much richer and more meaningful.
It could save you lots of money
It is so easy to spend lots of money on paid advertising, especially on social media platforms, but you might find that you don’t need it – or at least as much of it as you think. If your clients find you in other ways, then there’s no point continuing to throw money down a channel that doesn’t actually bring any results to you. It’s better to focus your attention on what works.
When I first became self-employed many years ago, I thought I needed to put a lot of money into advertising and wasted a lot of money as a result. A year later I asked my clients for feedback and realised they hadn’t even seen my advertising. The next year I dropped all advertising and there were no adverse effects on my business.
Your client’s journey to you may reveal your own business strengths that you are not even aware of
I recently had a new client who booked my services and when we had our first call, as part of our “get to know each other” introductory conversation, she told me a little about herself. I naturally asked her how she found me. What she shared with me was a total revelation and drew my attention to the ways I am attracting clients that I wasn’t aware of.
I had assumed she had found me as a result of paid advertising I had just invested in, I even wondered if a friend had recommended her to me, but in fact it was an organic google search and my website that did it.
She voluntarily gave me a really detailed insight into her decision-making process that I would have never otherwise known. I immediately understood what it was that was important for her and why I stood out to her. It was a really valuable way for me to discover my natural business strengths.
I experienced the same in the early days of my business as a wedding photographer. I asked all my couples why they had booked me over everyone else. I had assumed that they must have booked me as a result of the advertising I did or my portfolio, but I was completely surprised to discover that they all said it was because of my personality.
They told me that when we first met, they felt relaxed in my company, like with a friend, that they felt they could trust me, and that was the kind of person they wanted to have around on such an important day in their lives. Once I realised they valued my personality so much, I stopped spending so much on unnecessary advertising and made the most of it.
Even though promoting myself as an individual made me feel uncomfortable back then, I understood why it was so important for my clients and it changed my entire approach to marketing and my entire customer service experience. If they wanted to know they could trust me, I needed to make sure they got the opportunity to find out — through my website design and by meeting or chatting with me before booking me.
Asking for client feedback in conversation is great for human connection and trust building.
Taking an interest in your client and listening to their feedback in real time is such a powerful means of connection. I have often found that these conversations actually result in people becoming my best repeat clients.
If you think about it, it makes sense. When a business takes an interest in their customers experience and needs, you feel like you matter to them. Many banks lost the trust of their customers when it all transferred to cash machines and call centres because customers are just treated as numbers in a queue. Compare that to a local business you shop at, who asks you how your day is and makes you feel really welcome as an individual.
When people feel heard and like they matter, you get connection and loyalty. It’s organic and it’s beautiful.
Hearing your clients’ feedback in conversation gives you the language to address the needs of future potential clients.
Whenever you are writing copy for your website, blog posts or advertising, you can speak directly to a potential customers’ needs by tapping into the insight your existing clients have already given you. Your clients have told you things that were important to them, and therefore likely very important and reassuring for potential future clients to hear. If they have a problem that needs solving, you can address it clearly in the language you use.
My client told me not only how she found me, but why she booked me. Having that emotional insight to the needs she felt I could address, equips me with the language to appeal to future clients.
If you are too overwhelmed or busy to do anything about marketing right now, then this is the most EFFORTLESS and useful thing you can do
What I’m suggesting takes almost zero effort on your part. It’s just a natural part of conversation. Just make sure it’s part of every first conversation you have with every new client.
“How are you today?” or “How can I help you today?”
“So how did you find me?”
It’s just a few seconds of your time to ask, and so infinitely valuable to listen to the response.
Try it out for yourself and let me know in the comments whether you get any juicy nuggets of insight from your clients.
In a future post I will also discuss the importance of asking for client feedback afterwards and how best to approach it.