Written by: Jane Parmel, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
“When I worked for a big company, I had no trouble charging the customer and explaining terms and conditions of the sale, but as a small business owner, I never have that conversation – I’m just not comfortable.”
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard that sentiment from colleagues and competitors alike, whether they have been in business for themselves a short time or for decades. And it is a scary thought for someone to have in their heads.
Confidence in business is so important. Human nature includes haggling and negotiation – both feed off fear, which many small business owners “let show” even when they think they are not. Fear comes in the worry which you express and don’t even realize it. That worry is multi-leveled:
What if this customer walks away?
Then I lose a sale.
Then I lose a referral.
Then I could get a bad review.
Then I lose other customers.
Then I’ll have to layoff staff.
I won’t be able to handle the work I do have.
Customers will be more upset.
The customers will all leave.
I’ll be out of business.
Welcome to the world of "Spiraling Out of Controlled Business"!!
Not the place you want to be. It’s doomsday thinking, and it has no place in a growing business.
So here are a few tips to remind you of your greatness:
1. It’s one customer. Not every person you speak with is your ideal customer.
2. Don’t assume that the customer that chooses not to work with you actually ever gives a
referral any time – for you or anyone else – EVER!
3. Bad reviews can be counterbalanced with good reviews, so make sure you actively pursue those customers who have told you VERBALLY that they love you, and you have done a great job. It is out of many people’s comfort zone to do this but ASK for a written review. It is an honor for some people to see their name after a recommendation so give it a try!
4. One customer does not make for a “death spiral.” Leave it in its place – don’t let it affect the rest of the work or the staff.
5. Use social media or your blog to let people know what you are about – your vision, your mission, why you do what you do. Be personable and let them know you as the person behind the business – stories personalize otherwise uninteresting interactions. Tell yours!
Whatever you do, remember that you have a reason for doing it, and some days will be better than others. Keep your chin up. Let people know what you really represent and how you wish to serve them in business. Tell your story, widen your audience, and be heard!
Jane Parmel, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Jane Parmel, the creator of "The Profit Project," helps women to powerfully transform their businesses by up-leveling their money mindset, signature system, and pricing to recognize their value and create a more profitable business through authentic marketing and efficient operations. She makes your bottom line the high point of your business! Jane is also the NY Global Business Connector for the Women Speakers Association, hosting events connecting women with resources to amplify their role as a “Phenomenal Message Maker” – clarifying their message, increasing their visibility, and growing their audience.