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Putting The Customer In Control

You want to make your customers happy when they do business with you.  At least half of the reason people buy is that they have been put in a buying mood. You put them in a buying mood by showing customers that you care about them, making it clear that you are an expert, and putting the customer in control.

I care About You

There are three ways to show that you care about people. One is to be friendly and courteous, another is to make time with each customer, and the third is to be sure you listen to what customers tell you.

Be friendly and courteous

The biggest obstacle to courtesy is employees with a downbeat attitude. Most of the time this problem is caused by management, and if it isn’t, management can correct it. Here are five tips to keep employees upbeat:

Discourage negative comments like “I am tired” or “nobody has any money.” Tell employees things aren’t so bad and be positive.

Allow your employees to be flexible. Difficult circumstances will develop, and your employees will have to deal with them as best they can. Tying people up with too many rules is demotivating.

Don’t get upset by an employee’s mistake. If you give employees the room to be flexible, they will make mistakes. In the end, the benefits you’ll get from upbeat employees will outweigh the cost of any mistakes.

Don’t make employees to look to you for every answer. If employees can’t make decisions, they can’ care about customers.

Praise employees when they do something well. Keep reminding them of the things they do that help your business succeed.

Give customers time

Most people resent being constantly rushed. If you take just a little extra time with each customer, you’ll find that customers will buy more, and more often. Rushing customers is a fault that most industrial suppliers have. Most industrial companies get just a few large orders or inquiries per day. As a result, incoming calls are often treated as an intrusion rather than a source of income. This is especially true when incoming calls from prospects are outnumbered by calls from other companies’ sales forces.

Some of the ways you can make a little extra time for customers are:

Have your receptionist give the caller a warm, friendly greeting, ask for the caller’s name and company, then ask how he or she can help.

Have knowledgeable people to handle customer questions.Let your employees know who your important customers are so that they will recognize these customers when they call.

Have an incoming call tracking form so that you know what happens to a caller. This also emphasizes to employees that incoming calls are the lifeblood of a business.

Have coffee and doughnuts available so that you can take some time to talk to customers. For retailers, show customers in-store displays, posters, colour charts, or magazine reprints to take a little extra time.


The last thing you can do to show people you care is just to listen to them.It is recommended that anyone talking to a customer or prospect take notes. It shows that you care about what the person is saying. Try to ask many follow-up questions as you can to learn more about the customer. Simple questions work best. For example, if a company calls you about an accounting service, ask how the company is getting the work done now.

You Are The Expert

You want to protect your business as an expert when you explain purchase options to prospects in order to give these prospects confidence that they are making the right decision. Being an expert does not mean telling people what to do. What it means is that you, as an expert, will be reinforcing people in the belief that they are making the right purchase decision.

Establishing credibility

One way to show that you are an expert is to have outside documentation about your background and experience. Here are some tactics you can use.

Have publicity releases published about you, even if they are just published in a company’s newsletter.

Attend relevant courses in your field.

Document extensive work experience in your field.

Provide customer testimonials.

Have a publicity sheet showing various employees’ background.

Be a member of relevant associations.

A second way to show that you are an expert is to completely explain your position to customers. A maintenance manager took in some electronic testing equipment for repair. The service person told the manager that the machine needed to be overhauled. When the manager asked why he was told that the equipment was just due for an overhaul.

Well, electronic components don’t wear out like shoes, and the manager took his equipment to another shop. There, the service person showed the manager which parts were defective, then explained why it was easier just to replace the entire assembly. This service person sounded like an expert because he was willing to explain the action he recommended. Product knowledge is important, but a true expert also knows how to explain what he is doing and why it is important to customers.

Putting The Customer In Control

People like to feel they are making a smart purchase decision. Your job is to explain what options customers have and then let them choose which product to buy. You can actually do this several times during a sale.

Action Step

Have three or four people you know to contact your business. Have them start as prospects and go through all the steps to purchase. Then ask them to answer these questions.

Were people considerate?

Did people take the time to understand your needs?

Do you feel that people helped you choose the product that was best for you?

Bernard Taiwo
I am Management strategist, Editor and Publisher.