When Jack entered the bank, he knew he needed a loan. He knew that starting up his business would be easier if he had that working capital to get things going. At this point, that’s all he knew.
Jack was anxious; he didn’t know what to expect in the process, and he didn’t know if he’d get a loan. If he got it, he didn’t know how much funding he’d get, or what the terms would be, or by when he’d have to pay it back in full to the bank.
Enter the bank officer. . .
Sherrie was about to deal with a potential customer in Jack, and she didn’t know him, his needs, or whether she could fulfill the needs. But Sherrie knew her job. She knew her paperwork, policies, and procedures. She knew the process.
While Sherrie was dealing with data, facts, and figures, she was also dealing with a person – Jack. She was also dealing with his emotions. She was also addressing what could be a lifetime customer for the very first time.
We often find ourselves in situations similar to Sherrie’s. We know our “stuff,” but we don’t know. . .well. . .Jack. But if we ask the customer enough questions, if we listen to what he says and how he says it, we can begin to understand his emotions.
And oftentimes with prospective customers, there’s apprehension. There’s a fear of the unknown. There’s uncertainty. Where we can change the uncertainty to certainty, where we can convey some hope, we can then begin to build rapport and the customer’s confidence.
Sherrie could not convey certainty about the outcome – she didn’t know if he’d get a loan, how much he would get, and what terms might be involved – but she could convey certainty about the process, about the steps, about what had worked in the past with other clients, and about the attitude and responsiveness she’d convey in her dealings with Jack.
Difficult emotions from new customers, in particular, (such as anxiety, nervousness, and fear) can be addressed by conveying certainty and hope.
Convey certainty to calm the customer’s fears.