Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
Your Raving Fans Help!
By Victoria Munro
Your raving fans—those loyal
customers you’ve enjoyed serving—have ideas
and answers to grow your business. And, chances are
they’d love to help you! So take
advantage of this priceless resource by throwing a Raving
We have organized these events for several clients
with very positive results. If the affair can’t
be held at your place of business, decide on an appropriate
location. Invite between 15 and 30 enthusiastic, loyal
customers, giving several date and time options. Because
of scheduling challenges, expect only 50 percent of
those invited to attend. We’ve found that 90 minutes
is enough time for an effective Raving Fans Party.
Make this a win for clients
attending by providing a pleasant environment and serving
yummy refreshments and beverages (appropriate to the
time of day). Give guests the opportunity to network
together and make new friends. Chat with them yourself
and introduce those who haven’t met before. This
should last approximately 30 minutes.
Call for quiet in the room, and start the formal part
of the event by welcoming your guests. Thank them for
taking time to attend and tell them how much you appreciate
their business. Also express your sincere commitment
to further improve the services and/or products you
provide. Explain anything they should know about where
your business is now and where you want to take it in
the future. Keep your introduction to five minutes or
less. Then, hand over the floor to your emcee, who will
facilitate the remainder of the meeting and conduct
a brainstorming session.
Your emcee should ideally be outgoing, upbeat and able
to make your guests feel at ease. Don’t attempt
to facilitate the event yourself. It’s awkward
and inappropriate for you to ask clients what they love
about doing business with you, etc. You’ll
gain more if you keep quiet, resist the temptation
to interrupt and just take notes. You can ask individuals
for clarification later if necessary.
Your emcee will address the guests and explain that
the purpose of the party is to thank them and ask for
their help. He or she will use a flip chart to make
note of guests’ ideas. You can also appoint a
second person (who can write clearly and fast) to take
notes on the flip chart during the brainstorming time.
The emcee will ask the following
1. What do you enjoy and appreciate
about our host and his or her business?
As guests give their answers, the appointed ‘scribe’
will write them on the flip chart. These comments can
later be used for testimonials on your website and in
print materials, but remember to get written permission
to use them as such. You might want to take notes of
who says what.
2. Realizing that no one is
perfect, how can our host further improve his or her
services and products? What could this company
do that would make doing business with them easier or
more profitable for you? Are there other services or
products that you would appreciate the company offering?
Questions should be tailored to fit your current need,
industry or profession. While guests are answering,
you may be tempted to interrupt or add an explanation.
Make careful notes of any useful ideas and who mentioned
them, and follow up later.
3. Our host would like to
grow this business, and wants to do so with the best
clients. How can he or she find more wonderful clients
like all of you? What suggestions do you have
to help him or her market the business? Brainstorm marketing
ideas. Make note of any referrals.
This part of the event should be kept moving fast,
and last between 45 and 50 minutes. The emcee or host
business owner should then conclude the meeting by thanking
everyone for attending and giving their helpful input.
Guests should be encouraged to enjoy the refreshments,
network and feel free to leave if necessary. You might
consider giving each participant a small gift as a token
of your appreciation—perhaps a book or gift certificate.
Follow up with guests, thank them and explain how you
plan to use their valuable suggestions.
© 2005-2007 Victoria Munro.
for printable version.
About the Author: Victoria Munro is
co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly®
LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for
small-business owners through creatively designed programs
and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different
businesses. To receive FREE business success articles
with tips to help you with your business, sign up for
their award-winning ezine, “In-Flight Refueling,”
and receive a free copy of the eBook, Get
More Done in Less Time: 101 Quick and Easy Time Tactics
You’re welcome to “reprint”
this article in your ezine, print publication
or on your website, as long as it remains complete and
unaltered (including the “about the author”
info at the end). Please send a copy of your reprint