Who is responsible of your customer understanding what he or she is buying? You are. What if delivering the message fails and the customer feels she didn’t get what she came for? You better hope it’s not your fault and try to relieve your customer’s disappointment, because there’s no worse customer than a one who is shouting ‘They won’t deliver what they offer!’.
It’s sometimes hard to buy things you don’t really understand; for example, you may sometimes need help in choosing which computer suits best for your needs, what’s the best marketing plan for your company or what CMS to use when putting up a new website. These are united by the fact that they are often things when you need someone professional to help you with the facts you need to decide what you are eventually buying.
You, as a professional or as a sales person [who should know what he or she is selling], have a huge responsibility, but also a potential business benefit. You have to do everything in your powers, so that the client truly understands what is that you are offering; what is your product and what it is not.
This ultimately affects how the customer sees the end product and how satisfied he is. If he feels he got the thing he originally was buying, it raises the customer satisfaction level. But if he feels you didn’t deliver what was offered in the first place, it all may end up in a feeling where he thinks he has been betrayed. Even if there’s nothing wrong with the end product, merely he understood differently what you were presenting.
So here’s a couple of pointers trying to emphasize the importance of crystal clear communication in a situation where you are explaining what is that you are offering [well wasn’t this a crystal clear sentence]:
- Make sure that YOU understand your product. Talk with your granny about it. If she understands it as you explained it to her in five minutes, you just may understand what you are talking about. Remember; if the communication can fail, it probably will. -Yes, a cliche, but also a cold fact.
- Determine what you speak about the product. No need to go so deep. Customer needs to know the overall picture, not how your cool XML works with the API and reduces the download speed 143 kB [or something]. Of course if the customer is someone who needs to know that, you can tell this. Otherwise: deliver a message suited for the need and the context of the client.
- Show some real life examples, they tell more than just words. Show how your product has relieved the life of others, what is does and how it will eventually look like.
- Ask if they understood. Most times people have questions in their head, but won’t ask them. You take the initiative. Make them talk.
- Summarize the concept/the product/the deal [in written] and set clear guidelines what it includes and also if possible, what it doesn’t. It is a painful situation if your client suddenly starts asking more features than you originally sold him, and you have to do them overtime and free. This may end up in many more hours that your originally designed for, just because you weren’t paying attention and didn’t take the time to write things up.
- Always try to better and invent new ways of crystallizing your message and getting it through with an increasing rate.
- Ask for feedback on how you and/or your team worked. Process it. Learn from it.
Overall, one should always remember: Communication is a two [or more] way thing. You deliver something and you get response to it. Many times the lack of understanding occurs because of people presuming too much. Don’t presume, better to know for sure.