Are you speaking the same language as your customers?
We’re experts in our fields. We spend years and thousands of dollars perfecting our trades and building our authority. We know our sh*t, but often we lose the ability to have clear customer communication with those who desperately need us, but don’t yet understand why.
While we’re busy immersing ourselves in our passion, we unknowingly learn a new language with terms and phrases unique to the inner circle of users. If we use these terms and phrases to describe our services or product, we risk alienating these new customers who just don’t understand what we’re saying.
Have you ever been stuck in a conversation with two people talking about a sport or a hobby you didn’t know much about? You probably tried to keep up for a minute as they used words and phrases you didn’t get, and then you zoned out until you could change the subject or escape.
Use your customer’s own words to help them connect with you.
Clear Customer Communication Tips
Changing the language you use around your awareness stage content (the content people read when they are first learning about you or the conversations you have when meeting a potential client new to your industry) is part of what I call the 10% brain shift from focusing on what you do to what your customers need.
Often people don’t know they have a problem, they probably don’t know there is a name for it, and they certainly don’t know how to describe it the way you do. If you can describe how they are feeling in terms they understand, you’ll catch their interest and help them decide to learn more about what you do.
Tip 1: Make a List of Phrases
The first step you need to do is make a list of phrases people use when talking with you. Create three categories:
- When they first come to you and describe how they are feeling or what they want.
- How they describe your product or service
- How they describe their state of being after working with you or using the product.
Compiling a bank of phrases will help you create content faster and efficiently and will remind you to simplify your language.
Tip 2: Use Emotion First
Clear customer communication begins with emotion. Before people can label their needs or even discover a solution, they have an emotion or feeling that’s causing them to act. If you can describe that feeling in words or phrases that resonate, you’ll build a lot of trust.
Key in on the way customers describe what brought them to you in the first place. Chances are there are hundreds of other people feeling the same way without the ability to express that feeling until you supply the words.
Tip 3: Simplify Often
We spent a long time learning the language of our chosen professions. It’s going to take some time to re-learn how to describe concepts in layman’s terms.
When you write drafts of blog posts, social media, or any other content meant for our industry newbies, don’t worry about your language. Give yourself a break, and then come back and edit the piece. Look for any terms that sound clinical or need an explanation, and simplify them. You can go to your phrase list and find the perfect replacement.
Tip 4: Get a Second Opinion
Ask a good friend or family member who knows a little about your profession but isn’t an expert to read your work. Ask them if they feel confused, connected, or excited by the content. If they are unsure of anything, ask them how they would describe it. Having a second opinion with a fresh point of view can be the difference between converting your reader and scaring them off.
Tip 5: Know Your Audience
Sometimes you do need to flex your authority on the subject, and using common industry words and phrases is essential to building your reputation. That’s why it’s so important to identify who you are speaking to before you start writing. Your content should always have a purpose. Identifying who you’re talking to and what you want them to do is key to identifying the type of language you should use.