The Art of Small Talk

Hello. Pleased to meet you! My name is Brendan Dooley, and I’m the new editor of Professional Tool & Equipment News. I’d like to get to know you and your business better.

My own experience includes several years in publishing at newspapers and magazines. But, possibly most important to you, I’ve spent the past few years editing magazines that may relate to your business: Old Cars Weekly and Vintage Motorcycles. That’s a small part of what I have to relate to you, that I’m already somewhat familiar with the auto repair market. Now I need to talk with you more, and find out what else we have in common to make this relationship outstanding.

That’s right — relationship. We already have one, and it’s important for us to expand on that through what some people would call “small talk.” But it’s as important to your business as it is to mine.

Small talk isn’t necessarily “small.” When you’re discussing the weather with a customer, think of how much that gives you in common. It’s a shared experience both personally and professionally. How will a major snowstorm affect the types of repairs you see in the next week or so? How will the customers’ needs change? Even when you’re just talking about the weather, really listen to what the customer is saying. You may get some tips on things they need so you can be ready.

Practice your small talk, and it can turn into better loyalty from customers. Why not practice on me? I’ll be talking with you soon, either on the phone, or possibly in a personal visit to your shop. I’ll need to listen to you to make sure I’m giving you what you need in the magazines. I know we have more in common than cars and engines and wrenches. Together we’ll figure it out.