Sometimes you confuse the hell out of everyone, and you don’t even know it. For example, you’re trying to sell to someone or you’re working with someone, but you’re not doing a good enough job of actually explaining what people have to do or how things work. You are not predictable, and that lack of predictability confuses them. Sometimes they’re too polite, or they just don’t care enough to tell you that this is something that you need to fix now.
In business, predictability is important in everything that you do—from giving good customer service to dealing with prospects and sales. You have to make every single step completely clear. When people understand what’s expected of them, they feel comfortable, they feel safe, and they feel like you are guiding them through the process. I think we can all agree that it comes down to trust. People need to trust you. You need to be your authentic self. You need to have credibility so that they can buy into what you’re doing.
What erodes trust the most is lack of clarity, lack of understanding, and being super vague. Nothing erodes our confidence in someone more than not having an answer to a question. We have them saying one thing and then, a little bit later, saying something else that kind of contradicts what they just said. Nothing erodes your trust more than that. This destroys businesses of all levels.
You call up your internet service company, and you ask for something. You don’t really know how the process works. You don’t know whether they’re going to send someone out to fix it or you have to do it yourself. If they don’t take the time to explain it, it leaves you nervous and uncomfortable.
Sometimes you feel anxious when buying a product online. If it’s not completely clear to you what you’re supposed to do step-by-step and how it works, the drop-off is huge.
When you download stuff online, you try it first, and when you realize it’s not what you thought, you delete it.
If you’re running a service-based business (let’s say you’re a dentist), people need to understand how to book you or how early they should come. Can they bring their kids or not? What are the forms to fill out? If you don’t explain all that stuff and make it completely predictable, they won’t come back. It’s bad customer experience.
In your business, there are people you’ve worked with before, and perhaps you’ve trained them really well, so they are very familiar with the process. However, there are also new people that you want to work with. Perhaps they have never done the job before, or they’ve done it in a different way. Don’t take that for granted.
The first thing that you need to do is to start looking at your business and your processes and everything that you do as an outsider, not an insider. Don’t assume that people know what you’re talking about. Don’t assume that they understand the process and how it’s going to work. Take the time to explain it. Sometimes we just say, “Yeah, yeah, let’s go,” and expect people to adjust. For the most part, we don’t explain things, and we don’t answer questions. And when we do, a lot of times we make people feel stupid for even asking the question, right? If a person takes the time to ask the question, it’s a real concern. It’s a real question. Don’t make them feel dumb. Answer all those questions.
Second, make sure that you eliminate all forms of vagueness from what you do and how you do it. This isn’t to say that you have to have a crystal ball or you have to imagine how everything will turn out. You have to have predictable steps for when these surprises might happen.
Let’s say that you’re an investment broker. You work with people who have money and who obviously want to protect and grow their wealth or hit certain financial targets. You don’t have a crystal ball for how the market will work, of course, but when working with you, how predictable are you? What is your process? What are the steps? What will you do in a situation that goes well? What will you do in a situation that doesn’t go well? How will you respond to their requests? What will you do?
If you make all these things as predictable as possible, people will have a lot of trust in working with you. Obviously, you’ve done it before. You have the experience, you have the process, and you’ve made everything crystal clear. That will mean that they’re likely to stick with you and stay with you and refer you to their friends and family.
What do most people in investments do? They would say, “I don’t know where the markets will go.” They’re pretty darn vague about their process. So if I’m going to entrust my wealth to you, the things I’ve been saving for my future dreams, I want things to be a little predictable.” Surely, you know markets go up and down, or stay the same, right? So what will you do in those three situations? This is something that you cannot overlook in your business. What you need to do is look at your processes.
Look at how predictable you can be. Being open, honest, and transparent can be the solution.