Put on a Happy Face: Confidence is the Key!By: Alvin Apple
Every time you turn on a radio or TV these days, you hear doom-and-gloom news about the US economy. As a businessperson, it's hard not to get discouraged. However, we need to do exactly that if we want to keep our businesses thriving.
Even if you have been hard hit by recent events (and who hasn't, one way or another?), it is still important that you put forth a confident image to your customers. In fact, it is part of our job as business owners to make sure that our customers don't lose hope. If you are confident in your business, your customers will follow suit.
The first step to creating confidence in your customers is to be confident yourself and focus on the positive. Don't dwell on the problems you might have -- you can talk about your problems, but think of them as obstacles that have been overcome, rather than as disasters. For instance, don't say to your customers, "Slow sales have caused us to discontinue some of our items." Instead, say, "Recent events have given us the opportunity to reevaluate our product line and focus on the products that are the most important to you." Look at the opportunities that a situation provides, rather than the problems it causes.
You can also help reassure nervous customers by giving them concrete examples of success. For some reason, real-life examples are much more reassuring than just giving hypothetical "here's what you could do" examples. That means that you should not skimp on your real-life testimonials. Give your customers plenty of stories of people who love your product or who succeeded after joining your opportunity. If possible, give the customers a way of contacting one or two of your satisfied customers -- talking to a real "success story" will do a great job of calming shaky nerves.
A third way to create customer confidence is to simply "be there" for them. Here's a little story to illustrate my point: I used to be afraid to go into my grandparents' basement alone, but if I was with someone, I was fine. Having someone else with me reduced my nervousness.
You should try to be that person for your customers. By providing good customer service, keeping in touch with your clients, or providing community building services like newsletters or discussion boards, your customers will know that they are not alone in their purchase -- they have someone to turn to if they have concerns or questions. This is very reassuring.
Just remember that your customers are people -- which means that will get scared from time to time. What we have to do is remain calm and try our best to pass that feeling of calm along to our customers. If we can do that, then, in no time at all, we will all realize that the problems weren't nearly as bad as they seemed.
© 2001, Alvin Apple
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