Tuned in

Be prepared

So what if you don’t want a brand strategist talking to your customers? What if you want to do it yourself?

Laura Sheridan says make sure you’re asking questions that will lead to actionable answers.

“I see often where somebody will say, ‘Well, why don’t we ask this question?’ because they are curious,” says Sheridan, founder and president of Viva La Brand LLC. “But a good researcher will say, ‘OK, let’s say we ask this question. What are the two most obvious or likely answers? What are we going to do with that information?’

“If you just get a bunch of information that you can’t act upon, it’s worthless.”

Start with very general, open-ended questions.

“I like to start these dialogues with questions like, ‘When I say X, the brand name of the company name or the product, what comes to mind?’ Then I’m a big believer in letting the customer or prospect talk. Don’t do a follow-up question when there is just one second of silence. People like to fill silence. It’s amazing how when you let them talk, how much more valuable information you can get.”

However you proceed with your conversation, one of the keys is to be respectful of your customers’ time.

“Communicate to the customers that you really want to improve and offer better products and service and that the customer will really benefit if they are upfront and share,” Sheridan says.

How to reach: Viva La Brand LLC, (216) 548-6780 or www.vivalabrand.com