Our Customers Know
Have you noticed? Everything about setting up a business requires clean decisionmaking that comes from both heart and head. In other words, to do it well, we have to know who we are.
My friend, Dawud Miracle, and I take that idea seriously. We don’t just discuss it in the one2one conversations on our blogs. We talk about it on the telephone and via email whenever the need strikes, which is often enough.
A few weeks ago, I asked Dawud how I might help a client get to his core offer and together we decided a survey might be one way to go. If you’re feeling a bit the same way, let’s see how a survey would help.
A Survey to Focus Your Business
The single greatest value that I bring to a client relationship is the truthful perception of someone who is not them. I stand outside their business and tell them what a naive, intelligent customer sees.
Getting focus means seeing who we are and what we do well. If the picture is too foggy, it’s helpful to have several points of view against which to test our perceptions of ourselves.
An informal survey can gather those points of view.
A Survey to Focus Your Business
Let’s start with the survey itself. Here are some survey questions to make this happen for you. You’ll notice a blank for your name or the name of your business.
- What kind of work does _____ love doing? Why do you think so?
- What successes can you point to that _____ has had in the past? What does _____ do better than almost everyone else?
- If you were to recommend _____ to a close friend, what would you say?
- Do you see any disconnects in what _____ loves doing and does well, and what _____ could be doing to serve customers?
- What do you think _____ can promise to deliver that people really need? Are you confident that _____ would keep that promise? What makes you think so?
- Would you count on _____ to deliver on that promise? What makes you think as you do?
Only six questions, but use them well and they’ll get some critical information.
Putting the Survey to Work for You
Sometimes the key is asking questions. Sometimes the key is having someone ask for you. To get a true picture of how folks see your business, I recommend that you allow them to talk a friend anonymously rather than having them write to you.
People often say the best things about us when we’re not listening.
Let’s get this survey rolling.
- Ask a friend to be an interviewer.
- Provide the interviewer with no more than 7 questions. Use the ones above to get you started. Ask interviewer to help you word any additional questions so that they leave room for explanation.
- Identify no fewer than 5 people who are familiar with your business or your performance at businesslike tasks. Have the interviewer help you choose folks who can give an informed response. Work toward a list that represents the customers you want.
- Discuss with the interviewer the best way to introduce the interview to each person on your list. Make it a goal together to set up a high-trust situation so that each respondent can answer freely.
- Have the interviewer contact the people on the list and conduct the interviews.
- Ask the interviewer to compile the constructive information into a summary or a bulleted list for each question. Respect respondent’s privacy. You’ll want to survey them again.
- Discuss a plan of action with the interviewer. He or she was heard the responses and so can say whether your reaction is the right size for the information gathered. He or she knows whether you need to find out more on some points.
- Use what you found with what you know about yourself and your business to
- Decide what businesslike thing you love doing.
- Choose your ideal customer.
- What you can promise and deliver to the ideal customer you want to serve.
Information from people who know us is the most valuable data we can find. When we put it with what we know about ourselves and what we do well, we can make incredible things happen.
How might you use a survey to improve your business?
To follow the entire series: Liz Strauss’ Inside-Out Thinking to Building a Solid Business, see the Successful Series Page.