Have you ever had the experience of sending an email to your list or posting something on social media only to get a reply with some “unsolicited feedback” from someone that completely throws you for a loop? It’s never a lot of fun, but it happens to the best of us. It come with the territory when you start marketing your business online.
I’d like to share with you something I talk about with my private clients as part of a strategy for how they handle unsolicited feedback and use it to improve their marketing, increase their confidence and generate more clients and more cash in their business.
I’ve always felt that every message you send to potential clients – emails to your list, social media updates and even blog posts – comes with 3 “flags” that your potential clients can pick up and wave in the air for you. Being able to recognize these flags and respond to them appropriately can completely reframe how you view negative, and positive, feedback from your subscribers and followers.
If you've been marketing your business online at all, you will likely have experienced the type of unsolicited feedback I am talking about. Sometimes it's someone replying to an e-mail that you sent, or commenting on a social media post letting you know that something that you shared inspired them, or a tip that you sent helped them in some way and they got some results from it.
When that happens it's incredibly gratifying. It’s the sort of feedback that belongs in your “highlight reel” for you to pull out and re-read when you have those days where you are frustrated and feeling like nothing is working. If you've never heard me talk about your highlight reel file, it is a file that I want you to start on your computer. I want you to save your testimonials and your positive feedback, your client success stories and everything else that makes you happy with your business. When you start to have those days that you're feeling a little down and your confidence is waning, I want you to open your highlight reel folder and read through it.
Unfortunately not all of the unsolicited feedback we get is positive. We tend to focus on the negative comments that people send.
If you have received one of these e-mails or social media messages or posts, congratulations!
It's considered a badge of honor in the internet marketing world and it means that you are getting your business and your message out there in a bigger way.
You're being more visible and noticed by more people, and when that happens you're bound to get some people who want to give you feedback on pretty much everything they think you're doing wrong. It never feels good to get that e-mail, but what I want you to understand is that most of the time what is happening is that the person who sent it is essentially picking up a flag and waving at you. The flag that they're waving says, “I am not your ideal client!” They are just drawing your attention to the fact that they aren’t the right fit for you and your business (or maybe they just aren’t the right fit right now).
Let me tell you one of my favorite stories about one of these interactions I’ve had in my business. Last spring I did a series of Facebook live video sessions where I shared Facebook ad tips. These tips were leading up to a paid training that I had coming up. Each day for 10 days I shared a tip or strategy and at the end I invited people watching to join me for the training. After several days I had a woman who sent me an e-mail to tell me everything she felt I had done wrong in them. It was her feeling that since I have said I’ve “been there, done that” and know what it feels like to not have enough clients or money in your business, that I should be more understanding and should offer this training for free from the goodness of my heart.
She felt the need to send me all of this information, and in this case it was almost comical because there were just too many things on her list, but you've probably received something similar. Maybe you’ve heard from someone who thought your fees were too high or that you weren’t “expert enough” to help them.
Entrepreneurship is tough on the best of days so it’s easy to let these sort of comments get under your skin. Before you get down on yourself and start doubting yourself, let me reframe the scenario for you.
This person is just waving the “I am not your ideal client” flag for you…and that is a GOOD thing.
Something is out of alignment and you are not the right person for them or they aren’t ready for help just yet. Remember, it’s not you, it’s them. Your email or post may have triggered something in them but it has nothing to do with you.
The truth of the matter is, you will not be the “right fit” expert for everyone. No matter how good you are at what you do, there are people who are going to click better with someone else. You are not their person, they are not your person, and that's okay. It's time to just bless and release them, and leave them free to go and find the person that is most effective for them to work with.
When you get one of these negative comments, take a moment to detach a little and consider the feedback. Sometimes there is a nugget of truth in there that can help you improve something. If there isn’t a lesson to be learned, just go ahead and bless and release that prospect. Delete them from your list and move on without a second thought. In the long run they did you a favor by waving that “I am not your ideal client” flag.
That's just one flag that they can pick up and wave. Let's talk about two others.
The second one is the “Love me up” flag. You'll know when someone picks up this flag and waves it at you when they reply to your e-mail and tell you that they love what you shared, that it inspired them, it helped them in some way or maybe they ask a simple follow-up question. Those are the people who are letting you know that they are feeling a connection with you and they are inviting you to deepen that relationship in some way. They resonate with what you have to say, and if you just take some time to love them up a little bit, there is a very good chance they will become a paid client down the road.
Take note of those people who are replying. Take the time to reply back to them and thank them for commenting. Take the time to comment to people who post something … post a comment on your blog. Reply to comments on your social media, and make note of who those people are and follow-up with them later.
If you sent an article on a specific topic, and you have someone who reaches out and tells you how much she found that helpful make note of that fact. The next time you publish something on that topic, go ahead and shoot her an e-mail and say “hey, I just wanted to let you know, it seemed like you were interested in this topic. I just posted another blog post on the same subject and I thought you might be interested in seeing it.”
Open the door for further conversation with them, and once that conversation has been initiated and the relationship is deepened a bit, if you feel that it's appropriate you can invite her to schedule to a get acquainted call or discovery session to chat some more. Just know that when people are reaching out to you most of the time they are asking to be loved up a little more in your business. Show them that you care. Show them that you are interested in them as a person, and not just as a potential sale.
Do this and you’ll start booking more sales conversations and closing more clients easily.
The third flag is the one that says, “I'm ready! Let’s do this!” They may not use those words, but they are letting you know they are primed and ready and are probably just looking for you to let them know how you can start to work together.
They are people who reach out to you asking for follow-up resources. They tell you that they've been following you for quite sometime and they have learned a lot from you. These are the people that you want to connect with and reach out to and offer your discovery sessions, or get acquainted calls, or strategy sessions; whatever it is that you do in your business.
If they aren’t ready to dive in right now, keep in touch with them regularly. Check in with them periodically to see how things are going and find out if they need some additional resources or help. Don’t be afraid to tell them you think you can help them and invite them to start working with you.
If you’ve been focusing mainly on the occasional negative feedback and you haven’t been following up, and preferably following up systematically, with those who are subtly letting you know that they are ready to take the next step, then you’ve definitely been leaving money on the table!
Consider any of the feedback that you may receive from your newsletter, your social media posts or your blog and pay attention to see if your audience is waving one of those flags at you. There are a dozen other flags, but those are the three that I want you focus on.
Let's focus more on the positive ones, on the “Love me up” flag, and the “I'm ready” flag. Look for those. Look for that active participation from your audience, but when you get the “I'm not your ideal client” flag, know that it's a good thing too. It's saving you both from frustration later on so go ahead and bless and release them. Don't feel bad about deleting them from your list and letting them move on.
I'd love to hear your experiences with unsolicited feedback in your business, and how you handled it. Did you turn it into opportunities, or did you let it derail you? Did you focus on loving up the people who are reaching out to you or have you just sent them a quick thank you and moved on without thinking about it?