I recently read an Inc article ‘Your clients don’t care where you went to college’. I had to agree with it!
Clients care about your competence not your credentials!
I don’t need to see my doctor or dentist’s degree to know that they have one. If you are employed in veterinary practice, clients already assume you have the qualifications.
What I really want to know when I first meet a professional is are they good at what they do?
Clients are asking themselves the same thing.
The questions they are consciously and unconsciously asking themselves are:
- Do you know what you are doing?
- Will you care for their pet?
- Can I trust you?
- Will I like you?
A common mistake I see in our industry is veterinarian’s taking more CPD and more courses, thinking that clients will listen to them and respect them. Of course, it’s important to keep growing your knowledge and skills.
However, if clients aren’t listening to you now and following your recommendations, it isn’t due to a lack of credentials. It’s a lack of respect. They don’t believe you. They may not trust you. They may not like you.
Why does this occur? It is usually due to communication skills. You may be using too many technical terms and clients don’t understand you. A confused client will always say No. Clients may not feel listened to. They may feel judged. You may be under time pressure and appear to rush the client. You may make the client nervous so they don’t give you the full story. Good and effective communication is an essential skill in practice.
If you have to tell clients ‘I know what I’m doing’, it sounds arrogant. The only time it’s ok to say this is if you are reassuring a very worried client and the tone you use conveys confidence and warmth.
How do you communicate to clients your competence and experience?
- Confident communication is essential, both verbal and non-verbal. You have to believe in yourself, your knowledge and what you are discussing. If you don’t, it will show in your body language.
- Discuss previous cases that you’ve seen and the positive outcomes you had.
- Use the language ‘In my experience..’ or ‘I have found in cases like this…’
- Listen to clients and validate their concerns. A client who feels they are listened to will trust you.
- Keep clients informed and follow up with them. The client will feel valued.
We are in a service industry. Clients are paying for a service and a result. In my 17 years of practice, I have noticed a shift with the general public. If the title of this post offended you and you need to be liked by clients to feel appreciated in this profession, you will be disappointed. You will encounter incredible clients who really appreciate what we do. However, what will kill your happiness on a day is that one client who was rude and horrid! That’s why it’s important to have a life outside of practice that brings you joy and satisfaction. It will help on those hard days!
Read the Inc article that inspired this post here: The Surprising Trick to Selling Yourself.
Now I know you are thinking, she’s wrong! For any specialised procedure, a client will want to know you have the credentials to be able to perform the procedure. But they will also want to know that you can do it well i.e. competence.