What is the most valuable, and and yet underutilized resource in your business?
For most small businesses, it is your customers – and what they will tell you if you ask them properly.
If you believe this to be true – as I do, then the challenge is determining the best questions to ask them (and then doing so).
The Easy Questions to Ask Your Customers
- Are you pleased with our service?
- How can we serve you better?
- Is it alright if I get back to you on that?
- Why do you do business with us?
- What would it look like if we hit the ball out of the park for you on this project?
We’ve all asked these questions. Why? There’s very little risk – and naturally, very little reward too.
The Tough Questions to Ask Your Customers
- Would you pay more for a better product?
- What do our competitors do better than us?
- What would you do differently if you were the owner of my business?
- How are we really doing?
- If you couldn’t work with our company, who would be your next choice?
- Have you ever considered doing so? Why? When?
- Is there anything else?
If you really want to make the most of these tough questions, you have to be prepared to wait for the answers – being completely silent while your customer prepares, and then finally delivers the equally tough response.
Your Best Customers Will Tell You The Truth
Your best customers want you to succeed – both for their benefit and yours. So why aren’t you taking advantage of the opportunity by asking them the tough questions that will give you the information for accomplishing that?
#1 – You don’t have the guts. This is understandable and a personal decision. It’s also one that is preventing you from learning what you need to know for moving your business forward.
#2 – You know they may not give you the truth. This is also understandable. However, if you ask the right questions in a personal, face-to-face situation, you can read the body language to get much of the truth.
#3 – You will indeed get the truth! All the more reason to ask.
People are smart – both you and your customers. However, our society conditions us to play safe. That’s a surefire formula for mediocrity – and possibly failure.
You’ve heard it before: “You won’t know unless you ask.”
So, why aren’t you asking?
About the Author: Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.