Normally, I would argue that there’s no such thing as bad feedback. Because whether it’s positive or negative, feedback is an opportunity to learn, grow, be better, or make the necessary changes that will make everyone happy.
But I think, being the forever optimistic that I am, I had omitted unsolicited feedback based on preconceived ideas, uneducated opinions, rudeness, and anyone who owns a keyboard and thinks they can barge in with some opinion that’s not necessarily helpful. They know better and can do better than you. Apparently. Hindsight and all that.
As I write this, I also realise that I sometimes pull people up for their spelling, even if they didn’t ask me to spell check (oh dear). But I’d always point it out so apologetically and tell them that as I have noticed a typo with my eyes just passing their words, I can’t just NOT say anything. Because if someone else ever noticed any mistake with my writing, I’d love to know so I can correct it. Or maybe it’s just me.
But also because we are all humans, and we do make mistakes. So if a second pair of eyes can help, then so be it.
But this is not the unsolicited feedback I will cover in this post.
Suffocating unsolicited feedback from someone who likes to micro-manage – AKA the control freak
It’s always good to be open to others’ points of view, right?
But what if it’s constant feedback about every single little detail of your work? When the person is quite pushy and constantly trying to impose their ideas because they think it’s the best way, well actually the ONLY way to do things where they come from. I can hear you gasp for air.
So, if you get on well and are not afraid of the occasional discord. Good. Otherwise. Run.
Tried and tested tip – Get ready to dive into analytics and get the data to back up your recommendations and opinions. And if something that has always been done the same way is plodding along, be bold and suggest testing new ways of working. As long as you can produce data to analyse whether it works or not.
Differences of opinion can be really productive when all of them are considered. Like in a brainstorming session. But it won’t work if it’s always a power struggle with the same person trying to control the situation all the time.
Unsolicited feedback from someone that has been in the ‘same’ situation
It’s all relative. When do situations really are exactly the same? That would also consider that the persons involved in the situation are all the same too. Even if you are in the same industry, what’s right for one person and one business is not necessarily right for another. Stand your ground. You know where you see your business go and what you want from it.
And when it comes to working with a client, you’ll know where their business is heading and what needs to be done.
I am not advising you not to listen to other people’s stories, however. Because hearing someone else’s struggles and solutions will help tremendously. There will be golden nuggets of knowledge you can apply or transfer to your situation.
Tried and tested tip – Keep talking with people, whether they are in a similar situation or industry or something completely different. It’s never going to be the exact same situation anyway, but knowledge, experience and bits of advice are always transferable. And get some comfort knowing you’re not alone.
The passive-aggressive unsolicited feedback from the opinionated person that would never buy your product or service anyway
Completely useless feedback.
They stumbled across your content, and because they have an opinion about everything and everybody, they felt that they had to say something. Obviously, they disagree with whatever you’re selling or saying. They’re quite possibly offended, too, even if they can’t really justify their take on things. Or worst, they use an anecdotal experience to back up their view.
This unsolicited feedback is of no use to you and your business. They’ll likely be set in their way, and nothing you could say will make any difference. Don’t get sucked into an argument. Agreeing to disagree is your best policy here.
Tried and tested tip – Save yourself a headache. You can’t please everyone. Let it go.
Unsolicited feedback from your existing client
I would not usually categorise feedback from an ongoing client as unsolicited.
So that one sounds legit, I’m afraid – Or does it?
Feedback regarding your ways of working that don’t align with your client might be, in a way, a cry for help. And an opportunity to improve and ensure you manage your client’s expectations.
But when feedback is directly aimed at your area of expertise, which is essentially why you are hired, because your client doesn’t have that expertise, then things can turn sour.
Tried and tested tip – Stand your ground on how you will achieve results for your clients and how you will measure the results. Maybe you need to review and clarify your client’s expectations and reassure them that they will be met. Sometimes clients get swayed by other pushy sales emails or calls promising quick amazing results, usually someone promising an important increase in followers. But are these followers qualified and going to generate enough extra business for your client? Probably not.
Your go-to when it comes to selecting clients
An interesting exercise to do is to define who your ideal client is. Aim high and then gradually compromise if you need to.
Go from your perfect client to what you’re willing to put up with at a push to what you will absolutely not accept. And stick to it.
Then learn how to spot the ‘wanted’ and ‘not wanted’ early in the prospect qualification process.
Be crystal clear about the services you will provide for whatever money they are prepared to pay. I didn’t even dare to mention the word budget here. Sometimes they won’t be honest about their budget or do not even know what their budget is. This could be another blog post just for that subject.
So even as feedback can be turned into reviews. It doesn’t mean you should put up with everything that’s being said.
Unless you’re a scammer or you’re really rubbish, then do one.
Whatever you do…
Consider the feedback and take time to assess whether it’s founded. Or if you can take something valuable from it. How you will respond if you even need to. And when you respond to unsolicited feedback, try not to take it personally. Be bold but kind, and reiterate your business values and how you apply them. You can’t please everyone, but by sticking to your guns, your message will gain authority with your audience.
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