Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Asking potential clients what they think

Have you ever considered hiring an outside person to survey potential clients about you and how they perceive you? I know I've written previously about the idea of a perception audit, but this is different.

I met yesterday with a researcher who has his own business, who recently rebranded and refocused what he does. He talked about having spent nearly a year figuring it all out (and I'm not even at half a year, so I guess I'm doing okay). As part of his investigation of what he wants to be when he grows up (still the way I think of all this!), he actually hired an outside researcher to talk to CEOs at companies with whom he wants to work someday, as well as some of his past clients, to find out what they think of him and his skills. It all turned out okay for him, but that must have been really hard to do. Not only do you put yourself out there, but imagine hearing things you don't want to, like maybe you're not perceived the way you want to be, or that they think you're not as good at certain things as you thought, or that they wouldn't contract you at all.

I don't think I'm courageous enough to take that kind of step, but it does bear thinking about. Would you get an outsider to research your prospects?

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