Customers make most of their judgments about you and your business within the first few minutes of meeting you or your business representative.
Team members should always be properly dressed – establish clear guidelines as to what is acceptable, even if your company does not have a specific dress code. Customers have expectations as to how a representative of a particular business or profession should be dressed – this one factor is of disproportionate importance, remember, it’s always easier to dress down than it is to dress up.
There’s no substitute for enthusiasm. A customer wants to know that you and your team are 100% committed to your products and services. Train your team members so that when they are asked what they do, they respond with – “I work for the best __________in town/in the ________ industry. For example, “I work for the best consulting firm in the forest products industry.”
This is achieved when members of your team demonstrate:
- Product and service knowledge
- Acceptance of responsibility
- Active listening
- Keeping promises
At this point, it may be advisable to do an overall “image audit” of your company. Here’s a checklist:
- Team member dress
- Business cards (everyone should have one)
- Company branding
- Physical appearance of the business
- Product packaging
- Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Be a Good Listener!
When you meet with a customer or prospective customer (particularly if you haven’t met them before):
- Ask them if they are happy to answer some questions
- Ask “open questions”, i.e. those that require more than a yes/no answer
- Ask for clarification or elaboration of a customer’s statement
- Ask if it’s OK to take written notes – this tells the customer that what he/she is saying is important
- Don’t interrupt
- Don’t argue or contradict
- Repeat back the customer’s goals, issues or concerns to reinforce and clarify