In any business, connecting with customers means understanding their problems and addressing their needs. But this relationship must be done on their level. When someone wants a car washed or detailed, we must avoid terms familiar to the industry, but not to the customer. Even the term AIO (all in one), while not specific to washing cars, can confuse some customers, risking alienation. Commonly used acronyms such as OPM’s will cause a customer’s eyes to glaze more than the best wax job on his or her car.

  Instead, just cover the basics. Ask what is needed, make suggestions based on the service’s value. In other words, be visual, and let the potential result speak for itself. Don’t waste your time explaining the function of a ‘cutting pad.’ Just tell the customer that after the process, the car will have an improved sheen, just like new.

  As we know, all customers aren’t the same. Occasionally, someone will come in with knowledge in the business and start, shall we say, ‘speaking the business.’

  In that case, let the customer drive the conversation, and follow up with what might be more in-depth questions. This person might be truly interested in leaning more about the business, either through curiosity, trying to impress the employee, or any one of several reasons.

  If that’s the case, sincerely compliment the customer on possessing that level of knowledge. Something like, “I’m impressed. Few come here with that level of understanding.” But don’t overdo it. Excessive flattery will come across as insulting. Address the issue, make a positive statement, and move on. If you let the ‘knowledgeable customer’ drive the conversation too far, you will end up spending all afternoon talking, resulting in a waste of time and neglecting the next person in line.

  • Avoid using industry terms that can confuse or turn off customers
  • Focus on the result, not the process
  • Knowledgeable customers can add to the sales experience but stay focused on the sale.

What did you think of this post? Did it conjure up any negative or positive experiences regarding a sales rep using jargon? Let’s hear about it.