“Was this helpful?”
“Was this helpful?”
I always end every client call, customer meeting AND sales call with that question. People aren’t used to being asked that. There is always a pause of bewilderment before their response.
I ask this question because it occurred to me that just because the meeting happened and we have next steps and I thought it was a good meeting doesn’t mean everyone else did.
I believe that when people commit their valuable time to a meeting, I have a responsibility to making sure they get value for that time and the best way to find out is to simply ask; “Was this meeting helpful?”
Whenever I ask this question, and after the brief pause of bewilderment, I almost always encounter an honest reflection. I can see their eyes dart to the upper right as they evaluate their experience and whether or not it was helpful or valuable. (If it’s on the phone, I can always hear them pause as they think about the meeting and what they got out of it.)
Asking if the meeting was helpful is a fantastic gauge. I’ve never had someone come right out and say “no.” But, you can always tell if you didn’t deliver by their reaction. When you killed it, they use words like absolutely, definitely, this was great, it was very helpful, I learned a lot, it was definitely worth our time, etc. When I miss the mark they say things like; yes it was or just yes. Typically, these yes’s come with a depressed, mono tone. The verbal and visual cues are present. When that happens, I simply take control and say; “It feels like we left some things unresolved or you could have gotten more out of this. Tell me, what can we do to make sure you get more value from this meeting?”
The door is now open, and I have the opportunity to insert more value into the engagement. I can provide more information, answer more questions, provide alternative solutions, be clearer, etc. By asking, “Was this helpful?” I minimize the chance of someone leaving an engagement with getting value.
At the end of your next meeting or client call, end it with, “Was this meeting/call helpful?” Then, just listen.
You’ll learn everything you need to know.