Doing business is all about communication
If you’re not communicating with your clients, suppliers, and industry peers, then you’ve got problems.
Your customers and clients need to know:
- what you’re selling
- how it will help them
- how much it will cost them
- and, who they’re buying from
Your suppliers and business partners will want to talk to you about:
- your reputation
- business methods
- supply and demand
Your industry peers should be talking to you about:
- what’s happening in your industry
- technological advances
- networking opportunities
- new products in the marketplace
And this is just the start. But all-in-all, it’s not that scary – I’ll run through some ways to start the conversations you should be having.
The way we communicate says a lot about our business
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, first impressions count.
Stuck with a website you had designed in 2006? You’re probably losing customers.
Typos in your industry brochure? Yep, they just bought a machine from your competitor.
Waffled on about yourself and your achievements? They got bored and clicked away.
You only get one chance to make a good impression, and often when someone is serious about buying, they’ll start reading what you’ve written. Which is why everything you write needs to be on-topic, easy to read, and grammatically correct.
This way you’ll be able to impress right off the bat, with simple, interesting content that draws in your customers, and makes the industry pay attention. And whether you’re networking face-to-face, or writing product descriptions for your website, you’ll feel confident that what you’re saying is opening doors for your business.
How to improve your communication
Good communication removes barriers to business, but it never rests.
Even when business is going well, you can still be looking for new ways to deliver your message, and improve upon what you’re already saying.
If you’re not improving, you’re stagnating. Even I read copy I wrote 12 or 18 months ago and cringe, because I’m constantly looking for ways to develop what I say for my clients.
But how can we do better? Well, there are some key areas that underpin business communication, and if you can sort these out then you’ll be on the right track – here’s my ideas on how to get started:
Refine your message –
Let’s think about how important your message is – if you’re in small business, and you sell chairs, there are a huge range of ways you can tell people about it.
You could say “Hey, I’ve got some chairs, they’re ok and don’t cost too much.” Probably not the most successful option, but I guess it might work some of the time.
Or, you could try “Looking for the best chairs around? I’ve got a huge range of comfortable, stylish chairs for any living room, and they’re all at great prices – come and have a look.”
But much better still is to think about why they want a chair in the first place. Look at what they want, then target your content to their needs (don’t just describe your products), with solutions that they can envisage.
“At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than snuggling up with a book in your favourite chair. When you’re looking for ‘the one’, check out our exclusive range of luxurious, comfortable chairs that’ll last a lifetime. We’ve searched the world to bring you style and quality at an affordable price.”
How to refine your own message? spend some time pinpointing exactly why your customers should buy from you (and not your competitor) and then build a sales message around those reasons.
Cut through the waffle –
We often find clients aren’t sure what they should or shouldn’t include in their sales copy, so they just throw in everything.
Sounds simple, right? But the problem is that unless your customer is just as passionate as you are about your product, you’re probably turning them off with way too much information.
You should only ever pass along just enough information for them to make a decision about your product. Stagger it into sections, so they can quickly find the basics, then scroll further down. If you’ve got lots of information to pass on, have them enter an email address and give it to them as an instant free download (an in-depth PDF). Which means you can also get in touch with them later to follow-up on a sale.
And make sure every piece of information is valuable – for instance, if you’ve worked in the family business for 25 years, then that’s valuable information, but we don’t need to know about your hobbies, or what you did before you started in your current industry. Keep everything relevant to their decision-making process, not your ego.
How to build a concise message? When you’re putting together leaflets, websites, or adverts, only include information that’s important for your customers to make a decision, and cut out everything else. It may seem brutal, but it’s the safest way to get it right.
Craft a clear message –
If you’re not 100% clear about what you’re selling, and how it’ll benefit your customers, then you’re probably losing some of them.
It should be easy to see exactly what your product or service is, and your customers will want to know enough about your company to be sure you’re trustworthy and reliable.
Going back to that first impression we spoke about at the start; if you’re offering professional legal services but have a website that’s full of typos, then any prospective client should be wondering if you’ll include typos in the work you do for them.
And if they can’t work out exactly what you’ve got to offer (and why they should buy from you), then there’s a good chance they’ll choose the easier option.
We often talk about ‘reducing friction’ for customers, to increase the chance of conversion, and by simply and clearly articulating the benefits, you’ll give yourself the best chance of success.
How to craft your own clear message? Work out exactly what you offer, and why, then state that clearly. And if you can also outline how you stand apart from your competitors then you’ll make their decision even easier.
Start changing the conversation
When it comes to pushing your business to the next level, without effective, clear, and concise communication, you’ll be swimming up-stream. Although it might not be core business, crafting an eloquent and compelling message helps you grow and start more conversations, increase sales and effortlessly improve your reputation and trustworthiness.
Simply follow the tips I’ve outlined here and you’ll be on the right track to take your business up a notch.