For every client we take on, regardless of what they come to us for, we do a survey of their employees, some of their clients, and if possible, a couple of their prospects. There is no better way to find out a whole lot of information quickly, including:
- Strengths and weaknesses of the company and its products/services
- How the company is viewed in the market place
- Information about the buying process (questions they had, the steps they took, competitors they looked at, why they selected my client as their vendor) and insight into other products and services they would like to see provided by our client
- If they are willing to be referrals, provide testimonials and/or do a case study
- And so much more!
In our experience, very few companies carry out this exercise. Even worse, most CEOs or VPs of Marketing or Sales think they know the answer to these questions when, in fact, what they think they know to be true, and the reality from their client’s perspective, are very often two completely different things. Validation of what you think you know never hurt anyone – and this is one of the best ways a company can validate, learn and grow.
There is no substitute for hiring a neutral, experienced third party to do this, but if you don’t have the money, you can still do it yourself. To help you, we created a free checklist and list of questions.
From these conversations you will get solid data to help you understand where to improve, additional products or services you can offer, client success stories/testimonials and your differentiators or what makes you stand out. Powerful stuff.
Make 2013 the year you get to know what your prospect and clients really think about you.