When you begin talking to interested customers, consult with someone for the first time - consider these 5 tips:
Congratulations! Maybe you have your first customer, a new inquiry message, or a scheduled consultation call - whatever excited step is coming up with a new person, you might be feeling a mix of emotions! Elated, excited, nervous, confident, shy... whatever you're feeling, it's good practice to get comfortable with initial conversations.
When you're first starting out with a new customers, it's important to listen and set expectations. Whether you're an experienced small business and this is your 100th customer, or you're starting fresh and this is one of your first, treat them all with the same care and positive experience.
Try answering these 5 questions as you start speaking with customers, creating social media content, or crafting emails.
1) What service or knowledge do you have that people hire you for?
So… what do you do? What is your offering? Here are two exercises to craft a concise explanation of you and your business:
- Write 3 sentences about what you help people with.
- Write 1 sentence about the topic you know the most about (if you have a niche interest, speciality certification, or something you love)
- Write 2 sentences about your value - what will customers leave each class or session with?
2) What are questions that people ask you to explain or help with?
When talking to a potential customer, what are you providing answers to that your customers can’t understand or do themselves? Try this exercise to drill down the expectations you want to set up for yourself to complete:
- Come up with a list of these questions and answer them over and over again.
- Run those answers by a trusted friend or family member to see if it makes sense to them.
3) What frustrates your customer base?
What about the service you provide frustrates your customer? Be it, the process itself, self motivation, or not seeing results they like. What are ways that leave a customer dissatisfied? Which of these do you have control over? Knowing what you can mange, and what you cannot will allow you to be clear with expectations to your customers about what you do and don't do.
- Make a list of things that you have control over (timely communication, access to additional resources, etc)
- Make a list of things that you don't have control over (a customer showing up to a class or session, their full participation, customer's practicing or completing tasks in between appointments)
4) If your customers don’t hire you, what are they doing instead?
If you’re don’t end up being chosen for work, what are their other options? Is it another person or tool that they can use instead? What is the reason a customer won't work with you - cost, motivation, misunderstanding? Ask for feedback. It’s the only way to do better.
- Take time to research your competition. Get acquainted with what else is out there.
- Don't be afraid to ask people what they're hesitant about, if you know what is stopping them, you can always tweak a price or ease anxiety depending on the reason.
5) What happens when they’re not a customer any more?
Even though we're talking about new and first customers, every conversation can be a potential for a referral! Inevitably, customers grow and change, and at some point a person you work with today may not be someone you work with tomorrow. Think about how to exit relationships with customers gracefully and positively. Referrals are such an excellent way to get new business - so do what you can to keep the lines of communications open.
- Ask customers for a review or testimonial.
- Encourage existing, happy customers to refer friends or family.
Our best piece of advice though, is to share what you know. It can be a little nerve wrecking to work with new people, but if you feel confident in your knowledge, your ability to deliver, and you genuinely love what you do - then most of this should come naturally.
Having people reach out to you for your services is incredibly exciting and motivating. Take the time to do a bit of thinking about what happens next and later too!