Have you ever called a business you were interested in for their services only to have them communicate with you in an inefficient manner? If you’ve answered yes, you’re not riding solo. Over the last week, I spent a lot of time interacting with local businesses for one reason or another. These interactions weren’t linked to my business endeavors, which makes it even more worrying. Most of us like to assume that if we’ve established ourselves as credible sources in our industries, we know what we’re talking about. Well, that’s not always the case. I have been accused of being highly inquisitive and investigative when I research services I’m interested in. I, like many, believe that one should communicate in an articulate manner concerning her/his area of expertise so I’ve rarely hesitated to question extensively before I purchase a product/service.
Before speaking to these chosen businesses, I did my research in the industry and topic area and organized my questions appropriately. Many of my discussions resulted in confusion, poor communication, and chaotic messaging. I couldn’t fully understand why this occurred so many times that particular week so I began to analyze each situation. What I came to realize was that it wasn’t that the business owners didn’t know their area of expertise, but that many potential customers don’t typically ask such specific questions as one of the owners mentioned to me. In saying this, the business owners aren’t prepared to fully answer quite researched, specific questions. Being cognitively prepared as a business owner and credible source in your field is vital. You may have target customers who deviate from the norm of the ‘regular customer’ you usually encounter so you should always be prepared to adequately communicate your product and/or service, especially to an involved customer.
Another issue I faced in this realm was not receiving a clear answer. If you’re established as a business owner/authority figure in your field, surely you can answer questions within the discipline. The problem is that many business owners do not communicate the full extent and capacity of their products/services as they haven’t practiced that form of communication. Someone may be fiercely knowledgeable in their field, but still not capable of fully communicating what it encompasses in a way where every interested party understands. This is problematic as every business owner should utilize an effective communicative model in presenting their business to anyone.
Here are some useful tips in better communicating in this particular realm:
- Listen to what the potential customer is inquiring. What are they really asking you? Use your expertise in the field to decode what they’re really trying to figure out about your services and/or products.
- Always be prepared for someone who had done their research. Be grateful that someone would take the time to do so, and treat them accordingly as they are likely to buy if you pass their test.
- Be clear when answering someone’s question/s and don’t be hesitant to repeat what you think they’re asking in order to clarify if you’ve answered the question.
- If you don’t know an answer to a question, don’t be ashamed as that will decrease your credibility. Instead, admit that you’re unsure and don’t be afraid to get back to them after you’ve done your research.
- Complement a potential customer if you’re impressed with them. I promise they’ll stick around.
Communicating effectively when it comes to your business is key to developing solid relationships with your customers. It increases credibility, trust, respect, and professionalism. Finally, it better ensures a committed, loyal customer.