Have you ever heard the old expression “You can’t see the forest for the trees!”? According to a query of urbandictionary.com, “It means that if you look at things one at a time, you might not realize that a branch of separate “trees” go together to make a “forest”. When you are too close to a situation you need to step back and get a little perspective. When you do you will notice there was a whole forest you couldn’t see before because you were too close, and focusing on the trees. Simply that you have focused on the many details and have failed to see the overall view, impression or key point.”

This expression was the basis for our company to create our GTC Focus Group concept. We recognized that we, and our clients, At least once a month we invite a list of friends, business and networking professionals, and entrepreneurs to participate in the Focus Group. We then select one our existing clients to have their business be the subject of the group. In fact, we have used the concept with our own company as the focal point twice with tremendously valuable feedback from the group. Many of their suggestions were implemented immediately.

So how, you may ask, does the concept work? Basically, it works like this…

We invite representatives of the subject business to join us for lunch with our invited guests in our company’s conference room. After a brief social period, all participants are seated and asked to introduce themselves and their business affiliation. Then, a lunch of sandwiches and soft drinks is made available.

Using our audio/visual equipment and internet connection, the subject business website is displayed on our large screen monitor.

Using an “open forum” format, participants are asked to critique the homepage layout by providing their personal opinions of the strengths and weaknesses of the page. Typically, negative comments and feedback may include: lack of differentiators, difficult to read font selection, lack of H1 headers and descriptions, misuse of background colors or background graphics, poor quality photography or graphics, grammatical or spelling errors, failure to state a call to action, lack of content of product or services description, and a myriad of others. On the positive side, participants are always quick to acknowledge good content, pleasing use of color, quality photography and graphics, easy and effective navigation between pages, well-designed logos, and an effective message explaining how your business positively differs from competitors (differentiators). The group then reviews the other pages in a similar manner.

Throughout the forum, notes are taken by several staff members of GTC. These notes are then compiled, summarized, and made available to the subject representatives attending the session.

So, now that the review process has been explained to you, please feel free to adapt the format and put it to use in your business. Regardless of your particular business and industry, an external review of your website can be a very effective tool in your sales effort. The guests that you invite to review the effectiveness your website site will appreciate the show of trust that you provided to them, friendships will be deepened, and the “open forum” format is a gift from you that they may adapt and use to enhance their sales efforts.

In summary, it is extremely advantageous to see how others view the effectiveness of your presentation of your business. Face the fact; you may be standing to close to your own tree to see the forest!