By Ana Loiselle, Milady
Did you know that more technicians lose money because of a lack of conversational and communications skills than because of an inferior product or service? The way that you talk with your clients can heavily influence their attitude and respect toward you. Here are three simple guidelines for having great client conversations:
1. Start with basic politeness. It is important to greet each and every client, each and every time. Greet them warmly and with a smile, and speak to them with respect. Politeness is the oil that keeps the machinery of business running smoothly.
2. Personal conversations create bonds. It is natural and healthy to discuss family, weekend activities, sports, health concerns, etc., with clients. These personal conversations create a bond of loyalty that strengthens mutual trust. However your client should be doing more of the sharing than you do. It is their time; they are paying to be listened to.
The best way to deflect personal questions you don’t want to answer without being rude is to keep things light. Try making a joke, then immediately turn the conversation back to the client. A joke will make it less strange that you didn’t answer the client’s question and just changed the subject. Fortunately, people also love talking about themselves so unless they’re hell-bent on getting the details, a few breezy jokes and conversational turns should do the trick just fine.
3. Technical conversations are vital. A wise technician uses a series of questions to assess her client’s needs. She also needs to tell her client “what to, how to, and why to.” This means explaining your goals and sharing what products you are using, how you are using them, and why.
Many technicians overlook this part of the client relationship, but it is a vitally important and necessary form of business communication. Indeed, it is the type of conversation that is critical for making clients feel cared about and significant. Mastering this area of the client conversation will make all the difference in whether you are able to efficiently grow and keep your client base.