How do I approach potential clients to give me feedback on my product?

I have an idea and I'm trying to develop it, however when it comes to receiving feedback from companies, I am not getting a response. They don't even notice me. I know they need my product as I encountered this problem many times in the past with many websites. How should I approach them? How do I know if they would use my product or not?


I've worked for years in business to business sales and consulting.

You need to find out who works or makes decisions in a company in the area that your potential product could be useful, ie customer service. LinkedIn could be useful for this.

Call them on the telephone. Don't e-mail. Open the conversation by asking for help, 'Hi, I'm wondering if you could help me find the person who would be responsible for customer service? I'm looking to get feedback on an innovative new idea I'm considering developing that may be useful to your company.'

The most important thing you could ask them during the call is whether they've ever identified the problem that you're proposing to solve as an issue themselves. If they've never noticed, or don't care, then your new product will have a more challenging sales cycle since you'll have to do a lot of education. If they already know they have a problem, you'll need to act quickly because they may be already looking for a solution.

Best of luck.

David Barnett

Answered 7 years ago

I am a startup founder and have faced this exact scenario several times in the past. I have also advised dozens of other startups and given public talks on the subject of going from 'idea to revenue'.

The good news is that you are doing the right thing. Getting customer feedback is extremely important when validating your product.

I ran a Linkedin feedback campaign for our product that got a 51.22% response rate. Below, I have listed the process that I used, the results received and the exact template I used to break the ice.

1. Make a list of high-level executives at companies in your target market. High-level is important because some people at that level love to help up-and-coming entrepreneurs. They also sometimes refer you to someone below them in the company who will typically follow through with you because their boss said to.

2. Send an Inmail message (see example below) through Linkedin to each of them.
You must personalize the note with their first name & a short comment about their profile so they know it is not spam. I put << >> around what you should personalize.
Choose a subject of “Expertise Request” for the reason for contacting them. (Linkedin gives you this option when sending an Inmail message).

3. Once they responded I sent them a very short message thanking them and included a link to a one-page website explaining the product. I also asked them to fill out a google form with 5 questions. I sent 1 follow up message to each respondent if they did not fill out the form after 1 week.

-------- Example:

We are working on a new iPad application for security system integrators. <<You seem entrepreneurial>> and given your experience with security, I think your insight would be particularly helpful.

I certainly admire your immersion in the space and would love to get your general feedback on what we are doing. I would be grateful for your time.

Do you mind if I send you a link?

Thank you!



--------- Results:
Linkedin Messages Sent: 41
Message Replies: 21
Feedback forms completed: 5

I also followed up with the respondents and made 1 sale when the product was ready. I also got a high-level advisor from this campaign.

Good luck and let me know if I can answer any further questions on the subject.


Answered 7 years ago

The issue is the feedback is important and urgent to you, but not to your target market. They've been surviving to this point without your idea, so any requests go to the bottom of the pile. Plus "A million other people must be answering this" is the response people give to a bland mass email.

Information interviews are some of the most important things you can do, and I've written several posts about them here:

Finding out the truth of what your target market is really thinking is the number one thing you can do.

Don't leave it to email. Do it live; people will be more flattered than you might think to be asked their opinions--provided you ask on an individual basis rather than what looks like a mass message.

Answered 7 years ago

While you surely have made sure, that you are solving their #1 problem instead of #24 I'd suggest you check out Rob Fitzpatrick's book "The Mom Test" which will help you easily review your questions and strategy:

Answered 7 years ago

You've got several options, and what works best will depend on where your clients prefer to engage with you (ex. email, phone, social media, live chat, etc.).

We’ve all seen them: pop-up messages or slide-in CTAs that appear as we scroll through an article or open a new page. Why not put these tools to good use and ask your customers a question or encourage them to fill out a survey? You can even offer them an incentive to give feedback like a free downloadable whitepaper.

An even more instant option, live chats are a great way to get the conversation started in real time. While live chats are an ideal outlet for customers to ask you questions, you can also use this feature to send a few their way. Maybe the chat box pops up when they visit your site and asks how they found your business or what they are looking for. It’s like a two-for-one sale where you can improve their experience and collect feedback.

Here are more tips on how to ask for and use customer feedback:

Answered 6 years ago

Let us look at the customers of today, they are S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely when it comes to choosing a product that fulfils their goals, be it a pin or Porsche. Let us look at some of the ways in which you can draw feedback from these clients:
1. Send a follow-up email: The most frequently used method to request customer feedback is via email. The email is sent once a service has been provided or when a product was purchased and delivered to a customer. If you have ever shopped online or stayed at a hotel you've undoubtedly received a request to rate your experience. Various providers can assist companies with automating this process, and many of them will ensure that reviews are distributed amongst the most important portals, like Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor, and Yelp.
2. Initiate SMS surveys: Not to be underestimated, SMS is one of the most powerful channels to request feedback from customers. In an age when consumers are always a few feet away from their phones, SMS is still a great way to communicate with your customers. With higher open rates than email, they're a strong alternative to use when only a phone number is known.
3. Add feedback surveys into your Wi-Fi Network: Cafes, bars, hotels and even stores are now choosing to provide free Wi-Fi to attract more customers to their locations. While this is great for the customers, it also presents valuable opportunities to gain feedback from them.
You can require customers to create a free account to access the Wi-Fi, then use the captured email address to request feedback shortly thereafter. Or you can simply ask how their experience is while they are online. No matter which option you choose, exploiting free customer Wi-Fi to ask for feedback can be a fair value trade for both business and customer.
4. Create paper feedback cards: Some companies still prefer to do things the old-fashioned way, by using simple, pen and paper feedback questionnaires. While this is undoubtedly the most cost-effective manner to collect reviews, it can also have a lot of hidden costs when it comes to collating and understanding the feedback given. To be able to extract meaningful actions from the feedback, the responses often need to be tabulated in a spreadsheet and then analysed -- requiring both significant time and effort. Factoring the salary of a junior staff member that spends only 10 minutes each day to enter responses, this can easily exceed $500 per year.
5. Send surveys via a mobile beacon: Although beacons have not really taken off like the hype predicted, they are still an interesting technology to use when gathering customer feedback. If you are lucky enough to have a mobile app, beacons can serve a push-notification to users once they arrive in the vicinity of the deployed beacon. This can be a great way to ask users to leave feedback about their in-store experience while they are still there.
6. Review live chat transcripts: On-site live chat tools are becoming more frequently for customer support as well as service. Reviewing transcripts of the chats and categorizing any feedback points into categories can help you identify inefficiencies in your business. Frequently mentioned topics tend to be problem areas for your business which can be improved. This not only helps with customer satisfaction but it also reduces the required resources for customer support. Although qualitative chat transcripts can be cumbersome to review, they tend to be the most direct feedback from customers that you can receive.
7. Conduct customer interviews: Interviewing customers does not need to be exclusive to major retailers or market research companies who have big budgets. Frequent and loyal customers are generally incredibly happy to give feedback if you simply ask them. After all, they are the ones who are most invested in your product or service.
Try finding several segments which interest you and select various customers who fit these profiles. To increase your potential for success, ensure that the customer is being contacted by a real person as this will not only make them feel like a VIP (and become even more loyal), but will increase your chances that they will provide valuable feedback.
8. Analyse recorded sales calls: If you have an outbound sales team, it's likely that they're making hundreds of calls every day. These logs can be invaluable for not only training purposes, but also as feedback to your product. While they may not be customers (yet) these leads tend to give the most direct feedback to your product since they have no vested interest. Even if they have not completed a trial of your product, listening to what their feedback is on your presentation can help you overcome any hurdles that may be putting off other potential customers.
9. Record website visitor session replays: Want to know how people are using your website and why they are not converting? Then session replays could be the way to gather the feedback required to overcome these hurdles. Providers such as Hotjar and Yandex record user interaction with your website so you can easily see what they are viewing, clicking on and interacting with. While this may sound creepy, this type of feedback is invaluable and can really help you see the website from your visitor's viewpoint and see issues which you may not otherwise have noticed.
10. Monitor social media channels: Social media has become an inexpensive and efficient way to communicate with your target audience. Customers are already actively participating in communities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and it doesn’t cost your business anything to join in on their conversations. Respond to comments, send direct messages, and engage with your audience to see how people really feel about your company.
When your team encounters negative reviews, be sure to respond to them quickly. Active social media users are expecting a fast response, so it is important that you dedicate a resource to each channel. Closely monitoring your social buzz is a great way to track trends and events that can influence your business.
11. Offer incentives for feedback: Going through a survey takes away valuable time from a customer’s busy schedule. One way to make your surveys worth the investment is to offer a reward for their completion. This makes for a simple, yet highly effective transaction approach to obtaining feedback. While money or discounts are great, keep in my mind that the reward doesn’t have to be cash either. You can incentivize customers using free content that is useful to their workflow. This could be an e-book, in-house study, or educational pamphlet that helps them achieve their goals.
12. Adopt Net Promoter Score: Net Promoter Score or NPS® is one of the best ways to obtain and measure customer feedback. It uses a scale of 1-10 to determine whether your customers would recommend your company to other customers. Scores from 0-6 are negative responses, or “detractors.” Scores between 7-8 are neutral, or “passive.” Finally, scores of nine and ten symbolize positive experiences and are called “promoters.”The best part of NPS is that it is efficient for both the customer and the company. The survey uses only one question which makes it easy to record and analyse results. It does not require a lengthy time investment from the customer, and you have a better chance of receiving thoughtful feedback.
13. Include post-purchase feedback: If you are running an e-commerce website, it’s important that you find out how your customers feel about their user experience. However, sometimes this can be tricky to do because a survey can distract customers from making a purchase. You don’t want to lose a potential sale because a survey took the lead away from their shopping cart.
You can avoid this by displaying your feedback options after a purchase is made. Once the sale is finalized, the customer will be less distracted and will be more interested in providing feedback. This especially comes in handy with sales that involve higher amounts of emotional investment, like buying a large appliance.
14. Delay asking for feedback: While getting immediate feedback is great, it is more useful when the feedback is thoughtful and accurate. Sometimes it takes time for the customer to develop a complete perspective on their buying experience. If you ask for feedback immediately, you are only getting their initial feelings on their experience and not how the product or service impacted them over time. If you are noticing customer feedback seems inaccurate, try waiting a week or two before surveying your customers. You may find that the roadblocks challenging them are long term problems that occur over the continued use of your product or service.
15. Use feedback monitoring sites: Instead of directly asking for feedback, you can monitor what people are posting about your company using third-party sites and apps. For example, tools like Google Alerts and Yext can notify you whenever a review is posted about your company on any website. This can help you discover feedback that may be posted in online-communities that your customer service team is unaware of. With new internet communities popping up every day, it is important to have a radar that can monitor your company’s online buzz.
16. Set up a survey kiosk: If your company is hosting or attending an event, that is an excellent opportunity to ask customers for feedback. Survey kiosks are less intrusive than walking up to a customer and asking them to fill out a form. Instead, customers can simply approach the kiosk, fill out the survey on the tablet, then continue their day without having to interact with a service rep. This gives customers the privacy to provide candid feedback without feeling pressured by one of your employees who may be eagerly awaiting their response.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 2 years ago

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