NYC 62: 10.23.13 Education – “”I like big BUTS”

“I like big BUTS and I can not lie”….is a quote from from
Sir-Mix-A-Lot that we as business owners should take to heart. For
it’s the big “BUTS” – that if properly explored and embraced – can
lead to better products and services. Today, I’d like to share my
personal “BUT” story with you…

A few years ago, I performed an operational review for a company

called Manhattan Closets. I did my due diligence, interviewed
stakeholders, took a lot of notes, and prepared my normal Powerpoint
deck with my findings. I’d done this dozens of times up to this point
and was comfortable and cool when I stood up in front of my audience
to expose my findings. I answered a few queries, was asked to go
deeper into some specifics, and eventually left confident that I
performed well.

A few days later, I wrote a follow up email – basically asking for a
Phase II implementation project. The response was pleasant and
complementary, “BUT”, because I didn’t provide a written report, they
couldn’t fully synthesize the information and weren’t ready to

That “BUT” left me very uncomfortable and awkward – after all, I had
been paid well in the past to deliver my probing Powerpoint
presentations. So… I quickly took a hold of my deck, massaged into a
PDF, and sent it off. I ultimately didn’t get that contract. What I
did get, however, was the feedback that I needed to create the
detailed report that my clients have praised me for over and over
again since. Getting my “BUT” out of that closet – which was, at first
uncomfortable and awkward – ultimately opened me up and allowed me to
relax and ease into personal and professional growth that I had
previously only dreamt of.

Both positive and negative feedback can be very rewarding to get from
your clients and you have to be willing to take it. Soliciting your
clients’ “BUTS” can be a touchy endeavour – and could even lead to
some sticky situations – but this solicitation can ultimately lead to
a very happy ending that could be very rewarding and fulfilling. Here
are two ideas of how get valuable feedback:

1) If you have the opportunity, take your client out to a meal or for
a casual coffee. Work into the conversation things like: “How am I
doing? Does my product or service fit well into your business? If not,
is there anything you’d like me to do more or less of?” You may be
pleasantly surprised at how willing your clients are to opening up.

2) Sometimes anonymous solicitation will do the trick, and one of the
best ways is to go online. Explore some of the many free or
inexpensive tools available to create a “How am I doing?” survey that
you can send out. Keep the questions short and sweet and you may find
that you’ll be able to quickly satisfy your needs without leaving the
comfort of your home or office.

Next week – if I’m asked to come back – I’ll explain how to create a
Fast Action Response Team, or F.A.R.T. for short, to handle the “BUTS”
that you may encounter along the way.

In the meantime the moral to today’s educational segment, my dear
friends, is this: If you take the time to probe your clients’ “BUTS”,
you may just find that one juicy golden nugget that could become a
valuable asset that transforms your business!

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