We bought a puppy this weekend!

For those of you who haven’t been through this process (I hadn’t), something you learn quickly is there are a lot of scammers posing as breeders. It becomes difficult to distinguish between those who are caring for your potential new best friend and those who are melting your heart with pictures of puppies they’ve never met in an effort to steal your deposit.

This isn’t really about that. The point is…the breeder we chose had to do a lot of extra work to make us comfortable and confident with our decision, and it was all part of her process. She was also working to be comfortable with us as her customer, and every interaction strengthened the growing relationship.

It got me thinking… What extra work do you do to make your customers feel comfortable? Do you find yourself battling stigmas or industry horror stories? Have your customers had a bad experience with another company? Acknowledging these negative perceptions and concerns, and actively setting yourself apart, will win over potential customers.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Outline your general sales process. Start-to-finish, what’s involved? What do you say? What do you provide? What information and/or fees do you request, and how do you accept them?
  2. Identify the common complaints potential customers have from prior experiences. What are their fears? What negative actions have they heard of or experienced? What are the industry stereotypes (think used-car salesman)?
  3. Add elements to your sales and operational processes to proactively address and alleviate any discomfort. This is your chance to stand apart, even from the other “good guys.” Address those common complaints up front! If people fear projects that don’t start or end on time, discuss the steps your company takes to make sure you meet timelines. If people complain about messy job sites, explain your daily cleanup checklist.
  4. Don’t forget the people. The more information you share about your company and the people who work there, the more trustworthy you become. Employee pictures and bios are also effective, especially of those employees with whom the customer will be interacting. References and testimonials are also helpful.

Of course, making customers comfortable should go beyond the initial sale. Look for opportunities to create positive interactions at every step of your sales and delivery/production process. Does your company require a deposit? A handwritten thank you card expressing your excitement for the job ahead may be a nice touch between deposit and the project starting.

Taking these steps will not only set the gears in motion for a smooth sale, it will also lead to happier customers overall.