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The more bold, authentic, and concise your personal brand is, the more easily you’ll attract those you’re meant to work with. That’s how a personal brand works–it defines you, but first you must define it.

The key is to get at the core at what’s truly important to you. This is why I start with an interview of your key peers and mentors. The answers to these questions provide tremendous insights, as I want to get beyond, “I think you’re great.”

1. What made you decide to work with me in the first place?
This is a good baseline question for your marketing. You might learn about the personal connection or culture that felt right in this question.

2. What’s one thing I do better than others you do business with? In this question, you are trying to discover something that you can work with as a true differentiator. This is probably the question you’ll need to work hardest at getting specifics. You want to look for words and phrases and actual experiences that keep coming up over and over again, no matter how insignificant they may seem to you. If your customers are explaining what they value about what you do, you may want to consider making that the core marketing message for your business.

3. What’s the one thing I could do to create a better experience for you?
On the surface this question could be looked at as a customer service improvement question, and it may be, but the true gold in this question is when your customers can identify an innovation. Sometimes we go along doing what we’ve always done and then out of the blue a customer says something like, “I sure wish it came like this,” and all of a sudden it’s painfully clear how you can create a meaningful innovation to your products, services and processes. Push your customers to describe the perfect experience buying what you sell.

4. Would you refer me, and if so, why? Why haven’t you referred me? Yes. This will be scary. But just ask it… and sit there and wait for a response. This is the one thing that if you do it, it will liberate you in so many other areas. This is the ultimate question of satisfaction because a truthful answer means your customer likes experience of working with you. Try to find the exact words and phrases your client might use when describing to a friend why they like to work with you.

5. What would you Google to find a service like mine? What words do they type in the search bar for you? Critical question. Understanding what this answer implies is very important. If you want to get very, very good at being found online, around the world or around the town, you have to know everything you can about the actual terms and phrases your customers use when they go looking for services like yours. Far too often, businesses optimize their web sites around industry jargon and technical terms when people really search for “stuff to make my life better.”