PT’s Pointers: Small Talk is losing you clients!
Small talk with customers feels comfortable and easy but its business talk that keeps the lights on and feeds the kids.
Now how do you keep the current clients coming back satisfied?
Just build on the steps you used to acquire them!
Follow up your previous research. Through scouting yourself you know what you can do and through scouting them you know what they need. You can always learn more and you should! When it comes to your customers you can choose to find out their favourite footy teams, their choice in wine or what’s affecting their bottom line.
I personally find, and it seems to be an Australian thing, turned off from personal research. No one gets offended when you ask about work, industry news and business. Not only that but knowing about their business is 100% more profitable than knowing their favourite team. Furthermore you can come across as creepy when you try and learn about their personal life over their business life, and no one does business with creeps! Wait for them to invite you into talking about personal information, people have their own filters and will let you know when they feel comfortable.
But when you talk about your customers' business, you come across as someone who's genuinely interested. If you find it uncomfortable to jump straight into business talk might I suggest breaking your conversation into these percentages.
45% his business
50% is listening!
Once you feel comfortable, you should try to remove the 5% fluff.
Firstly, the majority of the time you're interacting with your clients is when you’re both working. Don’t waste their time or your time on the clock by having a long yarn about snapper season. It might feel good but if you want to start a profitable conversation, talk about their industry and their place in it.
Secondly, no one likes a know-it-all. Especially when they’re talking about something you do for a career. Now people love it when you’re curious about their interests, particularly if they’ve done their research. The difference between someone who’s curious and wants to learn and someone who comes across as a know-it-all is questions and interruptions. A curious person will not interrupt and ask questions once the other person is finished speaking, a know it all will interrupt to question the speaker and often provide the answer. That's why in my breakdown fifty percent is listening. After all you never learn something good about someone else when you’re the one talking!
A great way to learn about your customer is ask about their preferences, for instance what courier they use and why? Your client might have had a bad experience with one delivery company that didn’t take care of a vital package. For you that's just another postal service, for them it's the careless people who ruined an important delivery.
If you do a little bit of research and make the right adjustments, your customer will think so much more of you.
In practice it does work. One of our customers had a dispute with a state government. When we last put up signs at their local depot, we talked about their discussions on whether their new plant would be approved and not the weekend’s football scores. How profitable was this as opposed to some footy banter? As a result of our install and interest in their concerns we are doing the signage for the new plant that just received the green light.
Not bad and all it took was a little talk about our customers issues. Afterall you can’t provide solutions to your customers if you don’t know their problems!
Small talk is easy because anyone can do it, business talk shows you care. And care keeps customers. So next time you speak to a loyal client remember to keep your fluff to a minimum, your talk about their business and I cannot stress this enough LISTEN! It’s a simple formula but you would be surprised by how few people do it and how effective it is.