There’s only one reason to ask a buyer, “How are we doing?”

And it’s not to find out how you’re doing.

If you don’t already know how you’re doing, you’re taking a huge risk. You might hear you’re doing great. But if you hear anything else – from “terrible” to “okay,” you’ve just created a huge – and unnecessary – problem for yourself. You’ve invited the buyer to judge you when you weren’t ready to be judged.

The only reason to ask a buyer, “How are we doing?” is so the buyer can tell you what a fantastic job you’re doing. Not to make you feel good. To make your buyer feel good about you.

For good or bad, the simple act of saying it out loud crystallizes the buyer’s opinion. Which is why you have to be absolutely sure that the opinion is favorable.

Of course, to do that fantastic job, you need feedback from your customer. But until you’re ready to be judged, ask for facts, not judgments: “Did we meet the deadline? Did the product perform as expected? Did I address all of your concerns?”

The answers to those kinds of questions will tell you what you need to do, so that when you do finally pop the big question, there can be only one possible answer: “You’re doing great!”

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