Photo via Flickr user Tiffany Terry

Responding enthusiastically and confidently to questions puts clients and potential customers at ease. But what if you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question right off the bat? Good news: A confident response is still within reach!

Here are three tips for delivering a helpful, positive reply to a tricky question:

  • Research. When in doubt, find out! Nearly any tough question can be tackled with an upbeat response. Keep this one in your pocket: “That’s a great question — I’ll find the answer for you!” It sounds a heck of a lot better than “Ummm, I don’t know,” right?
  • Re-route. When you don’t have an answer, but you have a hunch about who might, point your customer in that direction: “That’s a good question! A member of our sales team will be happy to answer it. I’ll connect you to a salesperson now!”
  • Reach out. But what about those really tricky questions? Maybe you don’t know the answer or the best person to give an answer, but if you’re willing to do a little legwork to find out, you’ll make an amazing impression. Assure your customer that you’ll help, and then, reach out to your team and find the best person to provide assistance: “That’s a good question — I’ll be happy to find the best person to answer it, and have that person return your call!”

What if no one on staff has a solution? See if you can come up with a recommendation for an alternative: “Hi, Susan! I spoke with our IT department about your issue. Unfortunately, we don’t carry the part you need, but our IT Manager told me that TechCo is a great solution. I’ll be happy to give you their phone number!” If you help a potential client even though you don’t offer the service they seek, you’re sure to impress. When that potential client does need something you offer in the future, they’ll remember your kindness and exceptional customer (or, in this case, not-yet-customer) service.

Whatever question you’re faced with, the key to a confident response is focusing on what you can do and skipping over what you can’t do or don’t know. Try to eliminate replies like “I don’t know” and “I’m not sure” from your vocabulary, and swap them out with these helpful alternatives.