In business, the ability to project competence is essential to win over new customers and keep existing ones. People will look closely at your actions to assess your integrity, skills, and trustworthiness.
Everything you do, such as the way you react in certain situations, says a lot about who you are as a business owner. It has often been said that actions speak louder than words, and you'll find more success if you can show who you are through good habits.
People's perception of your competence lies in your ability to say and do the right things at the right time. Here are six ways you can communicate your competence to others.
Ask good questions
Knowing how to ask good questions distinguishes knowledgeable business owners from average ones. It shows that you are eager to learn more about the client's thoughts and needs.
More importantly, asking questions also helps you uncover information that may help you generate better solutions.
Let's say a prospective customer is talking about their experience with their previous service provider. Asking "Did you like their services?" barely scratches the surface and doesn't provide any valuable information.
Ask open-ended questions to probe for insight. For instance, you can ask, "Where do you think they failed?" The client's answers will give you a better idea of what they need and what is important to them.
Always take notes when meeting with a client. Note-taking is an underrated habit that keeps you alert and helps you organize your thoughts. It also shows to the client that you care about the details.
You lose a lot of information if you don't take notes. Memory can be a fickle thing, and you're bound to forget one or two things unless you have a written record.
When people are speaking they can go off on a tangent or lose their train of thought while speaking. Note-taking helps you keep things on point and focussed.
One quality that can tip the scales in your favor is self-confidence. You'll more likely deliver a successful pitch or persuade a person to make a decision if you are confident in your abilities and your solution.
Being confident means knowing your worth and effectively communicating the value you offer. This will also help reinforce the value for the rates you are charging.
Confidence doesn't come out of thin air. While you can choose to be more confident in your actions, you also need to back it up with substance. You need to put in the time and energy to improve your skills and build your brand.
Ensure that you can clearly articulate your value and overcome any objections. If you get stumped on a question, be frank, admit that you don’t know the answer, and commit to finding out.
Respect people's time
Time is a precious resource that must be spent wisely. Busy people typically don’t have the time to do everything they want so they prioritize.
The time a customer provides you is a privilege and that means you need to give the respect they deserve.
Showing respect for your client's time means showing up on time and prepared. If you have 30 minutes with a client, use it wisely and strategically. And finally, make sure to end the meeting on time. If you try to stretch things you risk being like the guest who never seems to leave. Don’t be that guy.
Know your values
Your core values help shape your company's culture. They are guiding principles that help you make better decisions and differentiate your business from your competitors.
Make it a point to tell your client what your business is about. Help them understand why your company is different. For instance, you could talk about how a commitment to reliability has helped you deliver better results for your clients.
Admit when you don't know something
Success business owners know the limits of their knowledge and value the insight of others. They're honest about what they know and don't know and aren't afraid to ask for help.
Don't be afraid to admit if you don't know the answer.
If the question can be researched, then you can offer to find out. If the thing is not in your area of expertise, then say so. If you went to your family doctor for a heart issue, they would refer you to a specialist. That doesn't make them any less of a doctor.
A final word
Projecting competence is about putting out the absolute best version of you. Always express your authentic goals, ideas, and values.
Keep these six habits in mind to project competence with your clients;
- Ask good questions
- Take notes
- Be confident
- Respect people's time
- Know your values
- Admit when you don't know something
Do you need help developing your competence? Let's talk.
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