Thinking of Inviting Prospects to Your Customer Meeting? Don’t

Bringing prospects into your customer advisory board meeting comes with some inherent issues — so many it’s not a good idea to do so. Here’s why.

While customer advisory boards (CABs), by their very definition, are intended to consist of your company’s customers, we are often asked whether inviting a few prospects to the program or next meeting is a good idea.

We can understand the desire to develop a deeper connection with a company and potential buyer or user that you hope to convert to a customer. After all, CABs are ideal mediums to build relationships, bring your customers into your “inner sanctum,” address shared challenges and expand your business with them.

However, bringing prospects into your CAB comes with some inherent issues.

Why You Shouldn’t Invite Prospects to Your CAB Meeting

Here are the top reasons why it’s likely not a good idea to invite prospects to your net CAB meeting:

They’ll Have Limited Ability to Guide Your Company

Prospects do not (yet, hopefully) have experience with using your product, not to mention going through the purchase, implementation, training and support processes that your other customers have. As such, they don’t make good advisors as they simply don’t have the knowledge of your products and services to provide any helpful feedback, insights and guidance.

Related Article: Do’s and Don’ts Sharing Customer Advisory Board Updates With Your Executive Team

Much of the Meeting Will Not Apply to Them

As strong CAB programs often involve reviewing product capabilities and roadmaps, your prospects will have no frame of reference on which to provide insights and suggestions. Worse, their basic or uniformed questions may hold back the meeting for your other seasoned and advanced customers who have some valuable guidance to contribute.

They May See Some Negative Aspects

As CABs are forums for honest feedback, there may naturally be some aspects of your company your customers are not as happy about or would like to see some improvements. If, for example, they had a less-than-ideal experience with a product capability, user interface or your support team (either real or perceived), they may (and should) communicate this as part of the discussion.

However, one of these issues may be a critical or sensitive “red flag” for your prospect, leading them to not want to purchase your product based on this single opinion — and their presence at your CAB meeting completely backfiring.

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