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How information overload has your customers running for the door?
Have you ever headed to a supermarket to buy pasta sauce and been faced with a hundred different types? You just want a simple pasta sauce and now you have to scan all those miles and miles of jars, all slightly different sizes. Some have herbs, some have mushrooms, some are organic, some have a cheeky chef's faces on them. My oh my. You stand there paralysed and desperately wanting to run.

That feeling of OVERLOAD and wanting to run away is one you can accidentally provoke in your customers.

What am I talking about?

Have you ever been asked an innocent question about your product?

A question such as

"So what makes this different?"

In your eagerness to explain every last detail of your production system, you find yourself going on and on. You gather steam and before you know it, you are waxing lyrical about soil types or customer psychology or infra-red technology.

As you draw breath to go off on a lengthy aside about regulations, your customer has that same 'rabbit in the headlights' look of terror they get when faced with all that pasta sauce.

It was just a simple question. They wanted a simple answer.

What they got was all the passion, expertise, opinions and frustrations you've accumulated in your business over many years.

What they heard went way beyond their question and left them feeling quite superfluous. You are no longer focused on the customer but off on your own one woman rant.

Where does information overload happen?

Most often when your customer is captive. In your shop, at your Farmers' Market stall or in a sales meeting or call.

How can we avoid dumping knowledge on our customers and scaring them off?

Valuable information needs to be organised and presented in an easy to use way, just like in a library. Imagine going to the library and finding every page from every book scattered all over the floor. How would you ever find what you wanted to know?

When we learn a great deal about our niche subject we feel the urge to share that knowledge. Many who have rural businesses are there because they are passionate about the countryside or the environment and they often have strong opinions on everything from renewable energy to bovine tuberculosis.

Good information is a valuable asset but you need to break it down into manageable chunks and feed it out slowly.

How can we manage information better for our customers?

Building up a library of Frequently Asked Questions is a good way to organise all that knowledge in your head. You can print this up as a 'hand out', have it on your website or put it up as a poster. Every time an answer threatens to meander out of control, break the point down into two or three different questions.

Writing articles is another excellent way to organise complicated knowledge. For a good example of an article based site visit Here, technical knowledge about poultry production has been broken down into various articles which are organised under different headings.

Avoid the knowledge dump. Deliver information in small, relevant, easy to handle chances, then you will engage and relax your customers rather than having them heading for the door.

Contributor: Juliet Fay @

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