Recently, my boys and I were at the pool. We were hanging out in the kiddie pool with another mom and her son. There was an additional boy who was about our sons’ age. All of the boys were gently rough housing. As the mom and I chatted, we’d occasionally correct our children if things started to escalate. No one was there to correct the final boy.
Eventually the other little boy wandered to a different part of the pool. At this point, the other mom asked how old my boys were. I explained that Alex is 4 and Evan is 2.
“But wait,” she asked, “does that mean the wild child is not yours?” I blinked and responded that no, I only had the two boys who were currently still in the pool.
I was a bit taken aback. Not because she’d called the child wild but because, without the presence of another parent, she’d simply assumed the third boy was mine. This thought had never occurred to me. It never occurred to me that I needed to specify that the unclaimed child in the pool was not mine and that not clarifying this would reflect on me as a parent.
She had to have wondered why I didn’t speak to one of my kids or why I let him wander away unattended.Â If she’d left without knowing he wasn’t mine, she may have chosen not to keep associating with me based on a perception that was not accurate.
It left me thinking aboutÂ perception. Without things being spelled out, people often jump to what is the most logical conclusion to them. This does not mean their conclusion is correct, though they often do not realize that. People naturally assume that based on the limited set of facts they are presented with, the conclusion they’ve come to is both logical and correct.
This can have strong implications when it comes to your business. Often, we encounter websites that are not clearly laid out. As a result, if a customer does not see a specific service spelled out clearly when they reach the website, they may come to the conclusion that you do not offer it. Their perception of what you offer will drive whether or not they do business with you.
It is incredibly important to think of things from youÂ customer’s perspective. Everything from yourÂ imageryÂ to yourÂ web designÂ to your actualÂ website contentÂ can influence how customers perceive your business before they even begin to work with you.
Be sure that you spell things out for your customers. Even when you know you offer a service or promotion or bulk discount, if it’s not spelled out, customers will assume you do not. It’s important to be clear and thorough. Otherwise, they could assume that the “wild child” in the pool is yours – and that you’re not someone they want to have a long term relationship with.