Absorbing tough feedback is a key skill for product creators

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2015-03-05-1425588258-4436213-redflagThis summer, I’ve been doing something new and scary (for me): building a sales funnel for Getting2Alpha.  As I ramp up and field more inquiries, I’m learning how to spot the telltale signs that someone will be either 1) a problem client I wish I’d turned down, or 2) a “tire-kicker” with many questions and requests – but unlikely to convert.

I’m a straightforward, incisive person – I don’t pull punches or mince words. The people who LOVE working with me enjoy my cut-to-the-chase style, because it means that we’ll be doing efficient, high-quality work together — free from hidden agendas and polite platitudes.

Occasionally, I run across someone who is eager to work with me – and clearly needs my help and expertise – but isn’t able to handle raw, honest feedback. That’s a big red flag – because absorbing tough feedback is a key skill for product creators.

I’ve noticed that clients who bristle at tough feedback ALWAYS have trouble absorbing real customer feedback on their product offering. And nothing derails your path to success faster than ignoring feedback from early, passionate customers.

So now, when I’m qualifying potential clients, I make a point of sharing at least one bit of honest, challenging and useful feedback on their project. This gives them a feel for my work style – and gives me information about their receptivity to feedback.

All of our fruitful & successful working relationships were forged in the fire of honest feedback and hard decisions that we made together.  Slowly but surely, I’m learning to trust my instincts, engage my pattern-matching radar, and gracefully route around people who aren’t a good fit for our services. It’s a great place to be.