During my illustrious college years, I spent two summers working at an Audubon center in southern Maine. My job was help run a small store, count the register, put tourists in canoes and occasionally hold forth on the wildlife I knew enough about not to embarrass myself in front of the customers. It was a fun couple of summers, and I remember it fondly.
When I found myself at a loss about the habitat of the tricolored heron, though, I had a safety net. I had my boss.
BizEngine often talks about being an expert in your chosen field, and why that’s deeply comforting for customers. There’s something reassuring about knowing that the man or woman you’re about to buy a product from knows said product inside and out and can talk knowledgeably about it. Perhaps even at frightening length.
This brings me back to my old boss at the Audubon center. We had birders and amateur nature enthusiasts from around the world visiting our humble little marsh, and she could answer any question they had. That she did so with gusto was even more impressive, and I can’t rightly recall how many times I heard someone remark about the sheer volume of knowledge she had. My boss, in other words, left an impressive mark on our customers.
Always strive to do the same. There are a few ways you can make yourself an expert in your own field.
Gaining Business Knowledge
- Read voraciously. Read ebooks, white papers, blog posts, essays and industry breakdowns. Read anything and everything for those nuggets of technical knowledge that will ensure you’re never caught flat-footed.
- Spend time with your product. Don’t be a distant business owner who just presides over the books, and don’t be an employee selling the benefits of a product you don’t know. Get down and dirty, learn how your product works and be able to stand and deliver at length about it.
- Practice your responses. You don’t want to come across as a know-it-all, even though you’re going to be one. If a customer asks a question about the flux capacitor on your DeLoreans, have some vague notion of what you’ll be saying in response.
As G.I. Joe once said, knowledge is power. How do you make sure you have enough?
Photo credit to iStock