- What don’t you like about my company/product/business?
The question may seem counterintuitive and a subject you feel you should avoid completely. After all, why would you want to bring up “negative” topics? It may also feel awkward to ask, especially for someone starting out in business, since people have a bad relationship with feedback in general. When you begin to see feedback as the foundation for building a strong business and career, your growth will skyrocket. It can be a challenge though. Jay M. Jackman and Myra H. Strober stated that “Fears and assumptions about feedback often manifest themselves in psychologically maladaptive behaviors such as procrastination, denial, brooding, jealousy, and self-sabotage.”
A major mistake is to assume that this type of feedback will automatically be shared; people will not always share this information without being prompted.
- If you know they don’t like the price; now you have an opportunity to develop a better proposal.
- If you know they don’t like a feature; now you have an opportunity to tell them about the roadmap item you didn’t plan on talking about initially.
- If you know they don’t think you can handle their business; you can focus on the right case studies that prove you can.
It is also essential for you to create an environment that makes it easy for people to share this type of feedback. Make sure you practice active listening (see: Become a Better Listener: Active Listening). This includes not building a rebuttal in your mind while the other person is talking and quickly jumping into a counterpoint. Let the conversation flow, make a joke or even let them know you will get back to them. Do what it takes to create the right atmosphere.