As some of you know, Sophie & I are taking the summer to undergo some growth and changes with our business. We've shared a little on our Instagram feed about some new products that we're working on, as well as prepping for a new photo shoot, new website, and new marketing collateral to tie everything together.
With that, the most important steps that we've taken over the past few weeks hasn't been a website wireframe, or a kick-off meeting with a photographer. It hasn't even been putting ourself through our own Brand Plan process. The most important thing that we've done over the last few weeks is talk to our customers.
These last few weeks we took some time to sit down with our customers, ask them a couple of questions, and then just really listen to what they had to say. It was enlightening, surprising, and more helpful than I had anticipated.
QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD BE ASKING YOUR CLIENTS
During our interviews we've found that vague questions gives vague answers; really specific questions can help give you much more valuable data about what is working and what isn't.
Here are some of the questions that we asked our clients, and ones that you should consider asking yours:
- Before coming to Prim'd Marketing, what were you looking to accomplish? How did you plan to measure this goal?
This question is a way for you better understand how your products or services solve problems. When you can use specific examples, you raise your chances of connecting with potential customers.
- What was the hardest part of the problem you were having? Or asked a different way, what was the core question you wanted answered or solved?
This question is a way to asses your customer's "pain points." Listen carefully to the words they use. You will want to take their exact phrases and use them on your website and marketing materials.
- What fears did you have before starting the project with us? What were you worried would go wrong? What were you worried you wouldn't get out of the experience with us?This question is hugely helpful in educating you about your customers sale objections. If you can understand what they're afraid of right before they make a decision, you can proactively help address that in your proposal phase. Customers want to know their in good hands, and if you can specifically understand what that looks like to them, and speak their language about those fears, you can help assure them that they're making a sound decision.
- What was the most surprising part of working with us? What was pleasantly unexpected during your process?
This question is designed to help show you your own missed opportunities. We all have "blind spots" — things we do so well we don't even think to mention them. But these are often the biggest selling points of working with you. Having your customers define what was unexpected can help you get even more clear in your messaging.
- How has the work you've done with us informed any of your business decisions or growth? Or asked another way, what decisions (or changes to your business) have you been able to make since working with us?
Take these two statements: "I help save businesses money" or "Each business that I worked with last year saved an average of 27%" You want to work with whoever was behind the second statement, correct? This question is to help you answer the ever-important "proof is in the pudding" question. Again, you might know your method is helping save businesses left and right, but if you can put metrics behind it, you become that much more specific about exactly how you help, which will in turn, help you customers make that decision to work with you.
- What next steps did you take immediately after working with us?
This is the question that can help with product improvements. If you find that 85% of your customers move onto a specific action or process after working with you, you can add that into your packages.
Customer insights in action
Going into these phone calls, I thought I knew what I was going to hear. But I was surprised by all of the insights we gained by just taking some time to listen.
One of the most surprising revelations that came from these interviews was what our customers did after working with us. One of our dream clients surprised us by telling us that she immediately went home and created a set of Action Items based on the concepts and discovery items that we'd presented to her.
"What I really want? I really need to be managed. Some one to send me calendar reminders of when what I should be doing and when."
Based on this idea, we've added a new step to the end of our Brand Plans. We now have the option to continue working with us, and through our favorite project management software, Basecamp, we're plugging clients into a custom check list of tasks they can complete and deadlines to complete them. It's something we'd never really thought to add, but by making specific time to ask and listen, we got really great feedback about how to be most helpful.
We've had several different ideas about how to structure the schedule of fees associated with our products. We've done 50% up 50% back, we've done payments by milestone, as well as broken out over months. Each structure has benefits and draw backs, to us and to the clients. But in these interviews we got really specific about how our clients want to pay us — and we were able to add more options to include flexibility that would work for a range of clients.
The impact of our work
This was probably my favorite part of the interviews that we conducted. It's fairly normal for business owners to take for granted exactly the impact of their knowledge and expertise. Listening to our clients these past few weeks was a real confidence booster. We heard great things about what our clients have been able to do as a result of working with us:
"You focused our attention and got us moving in the right direction."
"Business is so good, we were able to open a second location."
"You gave us comfort and clarity around what we should be doing online."
"You gave me specific ways to help me get hired more easily."
"I am more confident on how to leverage my blog and social media, and use them to get hired."
This feedback wasn't just nice to hear — it's teaching Sophie and I the language of our customers. It's teaching us how to speak about what our clients can expect to gain from working with us, and do it with complete confidence. That alone is worth making time for at least one customer interview each and every month!
More about The BRand Plan
The Brand Plan is our new, signature product. It's a 6-week process is designed to put words and plans to all of the business concerns and ideas bouncing around in your brain. We flush out and filter your ideas based on your passions, personality and business savvy. Then we distill those ideas into one 20-Page plan that helps with so many parts of your business, you just might carry it around in your computer bag.
Your custom guide book can help you:
- Help you make business decisions, based on visions and growth plans
- Teach you about your customers: what their pains points are, why they buy, and how to talk to them
- Understand the nuances of what make your brand unique from others in your marketplace
- Take your real-life personality and passions, and show you how to fuse them into your business and online presence
- Define the things that are important to you, making sure that you’re staying true to the heart of your business.
We're in the process of re-vamping our website (so at this exact moment in time, it's not on our website!), but that doesn't mean that we can't share information with you. If you want to hear more about our favorite new product, The Brand Plan — get in touch with us!
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