How to Handle Negative Feedback

How to Handle Negative FeedbackToday’s topic is something we all struggle with. I’m always encouraging people to go out and get feedback. We need to know that what we’re doing is what our audience wants from us. We need to make sure that we are positioning our products and services in such a way that they are easiest and most compelling for our target audience to buy. After all, if we’re not focused on the interests of our potential customers, they’re not going to buy what we’re selling. If they’re not going to buy it, you’re not going to make money. If you don’t make money, you don’t get to stay in business. And so we need feedback to keep us on track. It can be difficult though to hear that we’re barking up the wrong tree. It is a natural human reaction to fall in love with the things that you create. It just is. In fact, we often refer to our businesses, products, services and ideas as our “babies.” We get very attached to them. They are our creation. They are an extension of who we are.

So it just goes to follow that if you are asking for honest feedback, sometimes you’re going to get feedback you don’t want to hear. And it might hurt. So let’s figure out how to handle this because this feedback, both the good and the bad, is valuable and important. Sometimes you need to take it to heart… but sometimes you need to ignore it. Here’s how to tell the difference.

First off, consider the source. In the same way that you wouldn’t ask your plumber what he thinks of your new hairstyle, you don’t necessarily need to ask all your Facebook friends what they think of your new product pitch. Here are some important criteria to help you evaluate when considering the source:

1. Is the feedback coming from your target audience? If not, ignore away! Your target audience is able to give you the most constructive and useful feedback because they know what they want. These are definitely the people to listen to.

2. Is the feedback coming from a champion or hater? There are plenty of people out there, target audience or not, who talk just because they like the sound of their own voices. Feel free to ignore those who don’t have your best in mind. You can tell when negative feedback is coming from a supporter because they will generally be uncomfortable being critical with you. As hard as it is to hear, this may be some of the best feedback you’ll ever get, so take it to heart!

So if you’ve considered the source, next you need to consider the message. We are all tempted to hear “Your price is too high” as “You suck.” Here are a couple of helpful hints when deciphering the message behind the feedback:

1. Don’t hear what someone is not saying. It is true that as mompreneurs we are often our own worst critics. Chances are we are way harder on ourselves than anybody else. Listen to the facts and act on feedback as necessary. If you’re hearing from supporters in your target audience, don’t take their feedback as a personal attack. Look at it as an opportunity to be even better than you already are!

2. Dig deeper. We talk a lot about communication around here and this is no exception to the rule. Clarify what someone means when they critique a product or service. Ask for a comparison. Ask for details. Ask for examples. This helps you get inside the heads of your potential customers and work to meet their needs.

The point here is that you’re already a rockstar and you know it! Feedback—positive or negative—is that edge you need to be even better and that guarantee that what you’re creating and spending time and effort on is worthwhile because your target audience is going to love it.

I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment!

Can you think of a time you took to heart feedback that you should have ignored?
How has listening to the right feedback been beneficial to your business?

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