“Psst…Your Clients Are Over There:” a Quick Tip on Market Research

And this is so easy, even a Six-Week Wonder can do it! Funny thing is, the best marketing tips are usually the no-brainers.

Every dancer who is serious about “selling” her craft should perform basic market research. And while I think a lot of dancers are genuinely interested in exploring how they deliver against their clients’ needs, desires, and motivations, it would also seem that many of us are asking the wrong people. When was the last time you asked another dancer (in person or on Bhuz) for feedback on your website, your photos, or your customer service approach? And when was the last time you asked a prospective customer or a current client?

While it’s not always easy to glean valuable insight from your customers, chances are, it’s also not as difficult as you think. Your clients will speak up if you give them a chance! It’s up to you to ask the right questions, take notes carefully, and interpret their “sound bites” wisely.

Here are a couple of my favorite ways to gather consumer insight:

  • The Pre-Booking Questionaire: After I’ve closed a pending gig, I like to ask my client where they found me and what made them pick me. This is so simple, and so valuable, yet so many of us neglect to ask these important questions. If anything, you’ll find out which advertising platforms are most effective for you, and what your marketable strengths are. If you’re lucky, the client might even share additional insights. It’s a great way to open up the discussion and it doesn’t have to feel intrusive if you do it quickly, casually and politely.
  • Keep Your Ears Open After the Show: Everyone knows it’s uber-tacky to actively solicit feedback after your show. So for the love of all things sparkly….now’s not the appropriate time to ask. However, people will often approach you on their own accord. So listen carefully to them and take mental notes.
  • Write Everything Down….I Mean, Everything: Try to keep a log, either in a notebook or a spreadsheet, of customer feedback. I even like to write silly stuff down, like “Thank goodness I finally got a human being on the phone!” or “You’re the first dancer I’ve seen who wasn’t ____, ______, or ______.”
  • Take the Bad With the Good: Minor complaints and grievances can be twice as helpful as compliments! The other day, a client told me, “We almost didn’t hire you because you didn’t have any videos on your website. But based on the strength of your photos, we knew you were the one.” As soon as I got off the phone, I started scouring through my footage to see what I can put on my website: God knows what other gigs I might have lost due to a lack of video clips! For this reason, I was thrilled that this client shared his biggest reservation.
  • Ask People Who Didn’t Hire You: This one’s not always appropriate in all situations, so tread delicately. The worst they will do is offer their brutal $0.02 – and you can interpret this as you wish. But 9 times out of 10, they won’t answer. It’s still worth a shot.
  • It’s All in Interpretation: After you’ve done enough research, go over your notes. What do clients like best about you? Where do you consistently score high? What do they complain about? Can you do anything to fix that? Look for trends. Address the negatives and keep developing your strengths.

Good luck!

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