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Is your business in a mini crisis (and you don't even know it)?

explosion on wire

It's one thing to face a major controversy, like white collar crime or a lurid affair. Thankfully, these events are relatively rare. However, it is quite common to face objections to your product, either before or after a sale. You're pretty much guaranteed to run into them.

So how do you handle these small negative events? What is your approach to objections raised by current and future customers? If you frame these objections as mini crises, you can apply the principles of crisis communication to negatives that arise in the course of doing business.

The elements of crisis communication

Let's start with the basics of crisis marketing. When you follow these three simple steps, you are just about guaranteed a positive outcome, despite a challenging environment:

  1. Admit your error. Be open about whatever you've done wrong/been accused of.

  2. Apologize.

  3. Offer your solution for remediating the problem.

While it may feel counterintuitive to come right out and talk about the problem, it actually generates more trust. People who admit their mistakes are seen as human, and as such are far more relatable. One must appear remorseful for the same reason. We have all made mistakes and felt terrible about it. A cover up is perceived as deceitful.

Finally, the offer of a plan to move forward is, in effect, a team building exercise. You care deeply about the consumer experience, and you will get everyone through the crisis safely.

The stuff of everyday crisis

When applying these principles to mini crises, get ahead of objections to your product by proactively addressing them. You need to give the impression that you and the customer are on the same side. If you appear combative, you've lost the customer. While it is not always necessary to apologize in the case of a mini crisis, one's tone can communicate apology without you coming out and directly apologizing.

Subtleties of language go a long way. Negative words lead a prospect to a negative place. Consider, even, the use of "but." One can often substitute "and" for "but," thereby creating an additive, rather than a subtractive, experience.

People are always going to have objections. Denying objections makes people angry and negates their reality. People want to feel heard, and that their issues will be resolved, regardless of the size of the problem.

Take on crises when they are small. Treat seemingly insignificant problems with the care you'd apply to a major blowup to avoid catastrophe down the line.

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