Before the announcement call, ask the impression question again and send a cheat sheet highlighting what they said their big takeaways were if you are going to use them as a press reference. That way they are more likely to say what they said after the pitch (we get a lot of pitches and it is really easy to forget what was learned or to mix up presentations) far easier to get this right the first time than to fix a flub.
I’ve seen a lot of folks avoid asking these questions because they are afraid of the answers, but better to get them off-the-record than to explain to a manager why they are in ink after the fact.
Analysts are one-person focus groups
Part of what makes a good analyst or public relations rep better is their ability to build relationships. Not only does this help understand what the analyst likes, but it makes it far harder for the analyst to go negative (we really don’t like getting people we like in trouble).
Now one of the secret values of an analyst is that if you have a product, strategy or plan you know sucks, but no one is listening to you, they will listen to the analyst and giving them a heads up quietly about your concerns can get an offering killed that would otherwise fail in market. Executives often kind of know that what the firm is planning on doing is stupid but they think they are the only one and don’t want to risk being wrong. It’s kind of an emperor’s new clothes kind of thing, but we are pretty good at pointing out what should be obvious mistakes.
Used right we can be one hell of an asset, used wrong an equally powerful liability because we are force multipliers. So my last piece of advice: Before you go to analysts in general, find one you trust and use them to message test. Some of us not only message test, but will formally review a product before it is released and in confidence so you can either make adjustments to the pitch and product packet or hold back the product before it belly flops in market.
Think of us as one-person focus groups. Anyway let me know if you found this useful and have a great week.
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