Here's the quick set up: I have a client that sends out a monthly online survey to all closed sales for the month, both "Wins" and "Losses." We track how well the sales process went and if their needs were met during the sales process. The goal is to find out what it is that makes a Win a Win, and what made a Loss a Loss, and how can we learn from it to get better in the sales process?
Here's the story:
I got an email yesterday from a Managing Director of a national company that said, "I don’t want to do a survey. I started it and frankly could not get the issues that I thought were relevant into your survey. So I stopped. If you want to call, I’ll chat for a few minutes."
First, how lucky was I this guy didn't just close the survey and move on? He actually took the time to email me to tell me my questions weren't relevant to him.
Second, yeah, I'll call you! Within 10 minutes of sending me that email before he has a chance to change his mind.
Here's what I found out. He was looking at my client's company and a competitor. Both had solutions that met his needs, both would have worked to solve his problems. And quite honestly, my client's company is the market leader in this space and has better features that the competitor's company. So why did he pick the competitor? Because during the sales process the competitive company presented themselves like a partnership, they made him feel valued, important, and gave him confidence in how they'd work together in the future. My client's company? They positioned themselves as the expert that tells you what best practices are rather than helping you get there on your own. The competitive company did a better at making this guy feel important, valued and confident.
I'd like to protect my ego and defend the online survey (but I won't). Honestly, the only way we got this level of really valuable feedback is by asking the right question, in the right way with someone willing to give the real story.
Oh, and I did send him a $50 Amazon e-card as a thank you. But the value of what questions to ask going forward is beyond a $50 thank you. Don't you think?