Conversations can be a lot like watching a game of soccer. Players on two teams run back and forth until someone finally scores. If you do not know the rules and the strategy, the game looks confusing and with no apparent rationale. Just a lot of running around.
When we are in a conversation with a segment of customers, we send messages out. Some break through and cause a response; others just ricochet into oblivion. Such conversations appear to be a lot of running around with no strategy to guide it in a purposeful direction.
A customer calls your customer service line and gets one answer and they go on your website and get an entirely different answer. You send them a statement that is confusing so they call your sales rep. He can’t help because he’s never seen the statement. The whole thing seems like an unmanageable, quagmire. Mostly when you talk to them, you hear nothing back. Sheer frustration.
It can be confusing until you understand one essential axiom for changing the conversation. The customer must do one of three things whenever you contact her.
Knowing this axiom gives you a means of managing the conversation.
- The customer can say “yes” and respond back to you.
- The customer can say “maybe” and send back an ambiguous response.
- The customer can say “no” and ignore the fact that you were even talking with her.
There’s great power in knowing this.
When you send an outbound message, the customer can only do one of three things. The customer must choose. Once chosen, you can then respond back with a pre-planned next step. This then, is the molecular structure for each conversation and it provides a pathway to a manageable process. No matter how the customer responds, you are ready to keep the longitudinal conversation going.