Not good at articulating on-the-spot answers to difficult questions? Neither is most of the world’s population.
The funny thing is, inarticulateness doesn’t strictly apply to introverts, extroverts, or ambiverts, and it’s often unexpected. Personally, I have lots of moments where I think, “If I could’ve just written down my answer first, I would have nailed it.”
We rarely have the opportunity to prepare for on-the-spot questions, but when it comes to what you deliver to your customers, you absolutely do. When you’re designing a product or service, it seems like the customer would always be on the brain. But it’s easy to silo off into our own creative wells and forget that the person signing the check needs to understand and trust your solution.
As creatives, we have to be reminded that while we’re lucky to do what we love, we’re also responsible for positioning ourselves as experts and growing a business.
That’s where changing your process comes into focus.
For example, here at Proof, internal presentations are often delivered as if our team is the client (and, to be clear, we have a series of internal reviews before an external presentation). This requires us to do three things:
Reexamine and confirm the “why”.
Everything you create should have a compelling “why” behind that “what”. Imagining your customer is sitting beside you as you show them the early stages of development ensures that you cross-check the reasoning behind your decisions. You’re forced to go back and revisit the ultimate need and desired outcome, and establish why your solution is the best path to achieving their goals.
Use a team mentality.
Like most businesses, Proof has many arms and we’re all responsible for individual pieces of a final product. Talk to your coworkers about their decisions so that, when the time comes, you’re able to easily remind customers that what they’re receiving is the result of research, collaboration, and refinement.
Prepare for pushback.
Obviously, not every outcome will be perfect. You’re offering a paid service, so the customer has every right provide pushback and questions before they finalize the transaction. You can’t be 100% prepared for everything, but you can anticipate their comments throughout the process and address them proactively when you’re actually in the hot-seat.
When it comes to business, you should always imagine the customer is in front of you. It keeps you on your toes, refines your critical eye, and increases the likelihood that your sell will not only result in a buy, but affirmed trust in your expertise.