“You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind.” -Dale Carnegie
Have you ever built something up in your mind, only to find that when it happens, you stand back and say, “Wow—you know what, that wasn’t that bad after all!”
Do you find yourself reluctant to touch base with customers because of fear of what you might find? Do you think that no news is good news? When you think about reaching out, do you ask yourself, “What if something is broken?” or, “What if they ask a question I can’t answer?”
Does that stop you from making the call or stopping by their shop? It shouldn’t. What is the worst that can happen? When you find yourself in a situation like this, I want you to ask yourself one thing: can they eat you?
My brother-in-law is one of those country geniuses you always hear about but seldom have the pleasure to know personally. Like Yoda or Abraham Lincoln, he is a backwoods sage whose wisdom comes in short bursts and often in story-form. It may strike you as strange at first, but after reflection, you realize how truly brilliant it is. When confronted with a situation he may be uncomfortable with he has one metric—can it eat me? By his logic, if it can’t eat him, it can’t be that bad. This thinking allows him to go into every situation with his eyes wide open (because, really, since the extinction of the dinosaurs, there are not that many things that can still eat us) and with no fear. His lack of fear allows him to react quickly and with a clear head, and because of this, he is successful.
You need to confront your intimidating business situations the same way.
Are you afraid of a question you may be asked? Don’t be! Not knowing the answer to everything is OK. The problems come when you start making things up and answer questions with information that may or may not be accurate. There is nothing wrong with saying, “That’s a great question and I don’t know the answer. But I’m going to find it and get back to you.” Then don’t stop until the question has been answered. Be that customer’s relentless advocate. Find the answer and report back. This shows two things: 1) you’re honest, and 2) you are trustworthy—and people will do business with those they know, like, and trust. True, that is a cliché, but sayings become clichés because they are undeniable truths. In a 2007 Gallup Poll for the Better Business Bureau (BBB), 93% of Americans cited a company’s reputation for honesty and fairness as extremely important.
So what are you afraid of? That it won’t go well? That you won’t know the answer? Get over it! Reach out to your customers today. Deal with your customers in an honest and fair fashion. Show them that you care. Show them that you will not rest until they have the answer that they’re looking for. After all, they can’t eat you.