Don’t assume what your clients want
It is common to see service-based businesses start working with clients before they’ve done any market or client research. The reason can be the thought that research is a big costly thing. It can be. It also can be the alternative. Quality client research comes from asking people, directly, a set of questions. It’s how you develop relationships with those you serve and uncovering what your client really wants – the key to a business’s success.
Uncovering your client’s true problem
If you work with people for a living, knowing what questions to ask is how you uncover a client’s true problem, what’s working and everything in between. So it makes sense that knowing what to do with the answers helps to apply them in a practical and useful way. As business owners, we’re collecting data everywhere we go. From the statistics on our email marketing campaigns, to a casual phone conversation with a long-time client, to that first sit-down meeting with a potential buyer, to the survey you get people to fill out. The answers to what your client wants are there, just waiting to be discovered and finally put to good use! This is quality research.
The problem is, far too often business owners get really excited about the data collection process, but get stuck when it comes to taking the answers and putting them to good use.
While many of us see ourselves as complex, we really are predictable creatures. More often than not, we make it clear what we want and what we’re looking for. Except when it comes to business. Even clients struggle with articulating what they want. They often can explain the tasks they need completed, but it’s up to you to uncover what the end goal really is.
Listening after you’ve asked a question is a skill to master. Don’t feel rushed to jump into the next question until the one you asked has been thoroughly talked through.
As the person who is solving your client’s real problem, we first need to put your assumptions aside on what those answers might be. Think of research as a way to get to know your clients better. Don’t ask leading questions to get the answers YOU want.
Don’t keep precious data locked away in a file or in your notebook.
You’ve conducted surveys and asked a set of questions to your current or prospective clients. You’ve dedicated yourself to quality business-to-client (B2C) research, and you’re determined to find valuable insights in the answers you receive.
A great question is a really magical thing. It can trigger another person to give answers that are more honest, more in-depth, and really dive into the heart of their needs and desires. A great question also encourages a person to answer with vulnerability, without leaving them feeling like they’ve been exposed.
And when you’ve asked all of those great questions and received fantastic answers, that in itself is a victory. But the work is not done yet. While it might feel like you’ve got everything you need, and the research collection process is finally finished, the truth is you’re only halfway there. Now you need to apply your findings practically to your business and sales strategy in ways that will help you create a solution to their problem that resonates.
Dig deeper than the surface to find the real gems of the brand story
Not all data is created equal. Keep this top of mind when diving into your research and figuring out how to apply it to your business.
There are two very different types of data when looking at the answers you’ve collected: quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative deals with numbers, like the number of users clicking a button, bounce rates, time on site, etc.
Qualitative data describes information and cannot be measured or counted. It refers to the words or labels used to describe certain characteristics or traits.
You would turn to qualitative data to answer the “why?” or “how?” questions. Qualitative research does not simply help to collect data. It gives a chance to understand the trends and meanings of natural actions. It’s flexible and iterative.
The people who can really dig deep to ask the past-the-surface level questions and get the real honest answers are the ones who can develop and create the solution that addresses their need head-on. Why?
Because you’ve uncovered the raw pain points and you know what needs to happen to fix it. Sometimes we tend to shy away from honest data because it’s so complex and often uncomfortable. Basic questioning is easy, unthreatening, and safe.
As the person who wants to solve problems, going deeper than surface level with your questions is what will set you apart. Ask questions that show the client you are in their corner, wanting to deliver a viable and effective solution.
Take your researched data and turn it into tangible results.
Smartcat Marketing is all about helping you tap into real and authentic human connections with clients and buyers. You can’t afford to be afraid to dig into the brutally honest realities of your client’s business situation, no matter how ugly it may be. If you don’t have the right answers you won’t be able to deliver the right solution.
If you struggle with which questions to ask that will generate the right answers, I can help you with that. In one of the modules of the Smart Selling Masterclass, we’ll cover how to do one-on-one interviews with people so you get solid feedback that will actually help you define the solutions you offer. You’ll be able to recognize some of the patterns in your client’s language and the common denominators that tie everything together.
A successful business owner is a prepared one, and we will work together to make you ready to close sales and reach your financial goals.
So, the big takeaway is to stop assuming what your client needs and wants. Ask them directly, and with the right questions. Once you do, you can help them reach their goals, and as a result, you will reach your own.