Know your stuff

My husband and I went shopping for a few things. We went to a particular store because they were running a campaign with 10% off everything. We got to there and the staff were really lovely. Every assistant that saw us standing idle asked us if we needed help – they get top marks for this.

Unfortunately however, we were stuck with an assistant who knew NOTHING about the products, he even struggled with the system himself when trying to give us a demo. I tried to be patient and endured for a bit but quite frankly I was not sure he was giving us the right information and it was taking far too long. I suggested to my husband we leave and come back, in the hope we get a more experienced assistant. We walked around the mall for a few minutes, went back to the store and asked for the assistant with the best knowledge of the product. The store manager gave us someone and assured us he was the best for what we needed. He turned out to be not much better, well, maybe a little better but certainly not good enough. He was actually reading us information about the product from the store’s website and he was not very convincing. As a last resort, I suggested we go to another store we knew had the product, make our selection, and then go back to the store with the 10% offer to buy the product. We never went back! The assistant at the other store was so excellent that we were willing to pay a few extra pounds for the service. He knew the product, gave the right suggestions, gave a good demonstration and when he was not sure, he went away to confirm and came back with facts not guesses. To top it off, they had just finished an Easter sales event but he still offered us the discount. I was honestly blown away and I left a glowing review after I left the store.

One could think it was just a shopping experience but it really got me thinking, there is power in knowing your stuff. Whatever it is you do, the person on the receiving end needs to feel confident that you know what you are doing and are giving them the right information. Whether you are an entrepreneur, employee, social worker, speaker, author. The level of your success lies in the power to convince your audience that you are an expert in whatever you are selling – be it a product, service, experience or yourself.

There are several reasons why knowing your stuff is important but here are my top 5 reasons:

  1. It builds credibility – You convince people that you know what you are talking about and are the best person for the job
  2. It prevents loss in sales – Unless there are no other options, people will gravitate towards what they feel most comfortable with. Only a few will risk paying for something they have very little confidence in. If you do not know what you are talking about, people who find someone who does.
  3. It builds your reputation – This is one of the best marketing tools you can ever have. Providing expertise is one of the steps in offering good customer service. Most times, people leave reviews when they have either had a really good or bad experience. Word of mouth reviews from a happy customer can go a lot further than paid advertisement.
  4. It helps grow your business – You build brand loyalty because you are more likely to have repeat clients.
  5. It develops your confidence – There is a certain boldness you carry and speak with when you know what you are talking about. There is no fear of being caught out or saying the wrong thing. You stand taller, speak sharper and appear bolder.

I know it can be quite difficult to learn so much with the hustle and bustle of life, there is no time to do all that you need to. However, below are 4 little steps to take to ensure you are gradually building your knowledge. As we know, little drops of water make the ocean.

  1. Sign up to online courses – There are a lot of free or cheap online courses with edX, Khan Academy, Udemy, coursera, etc.
  2. Be consistent – Commit 30 mins a day to studying about a particular topic related to your work or business
  3. Ask for help – The likelihood is that there is someone who knows a lot more than you do at work or in your network. Ask them to explain key fundamentals to you and recommend good materials that could help foster your knowledge
  4. Use Google – The internet is a powerful tool. There is nothing you need that you cannot find on it. Throughout the day, keep a list of things you need to look into and at the end of the day, Google!

It is good to know a little about everything and a lot about something. Build you skills, knowledge and expertise. You must wake up every day determined not to leave yourself the same way! As the saying goes, “What does not grow, dies”.

Vese Aghoghovbia 'Wolu

Vese is a Chartered Engineer and Strategy Lead at a Utility company. She graduated from Imperial College London with an MEng in Electrical & Electronic Engineering with Management and was awarded the IET Engineering Degree Scholarship for Academic Excellence in Alevels. She is a co-founder at DVees and an avid baker. She is passionate about empowerment, justice and equality. She has a desire to see everyone find and flourish in their "sweet spot"

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