The One Thing ALL Small Businesses Need to Communicate
As a small business owner or solopreneur, your communications skills – or lack of – can directly affect your bottom line. Professionals with a flair for engaging people and getting their message across clearly have more success in building relationships and converting leads to clients. Some people seem to be born with those interpersonal gifts, but what if they don’t come quite as naturally to you?
Don’t be discouraged! You don’t have to be an accomplished writer, polished speaker or master networker to communicate effectively. By ensuring that one single element is at the foundation of all your business interactions, you can set the stage for people wanting to learn more about your brand – and put the odds in your favor of gaining and retaining loyal clients.
Whether you’re interacting with prospects by phone, in person, through email, via your blog, or on social media, demonstrate respect for your audience.
Put respect at the center of all you do when interacting with your prospects, clients and colleagues…
- Respect their time.
Be prepared. Think things through. Be organized and have purpose so you communicate what your audience needs to know without going on tangents that waste their precious time.
- Respect their intellect.
Although you might know more about something than they do, check your tone and approach so you’re not perceived as condescending. Also, ask them for their insight, opinions, and feedback whenever appropriate.
- Respect their need to take things slow.
Never ever be pushy about selling your wares! While hard-sell/now-or-never tactics may have worked in the past when all we knew was one-way, push marketing, they’re now annoying and a turn-off to most people. Especially as a professional services business owner, you’ll find it can take months or sometimes years to nurture relationships that turn prospects into clients. Sometimes it’s because they view your offerings as more of a luxury than a need. Sometimes it’s because they have budget constraints. Sometimes they’re just so busy running their businesses they don’t have time to really think about working with you. Be patient. And stay top of mind (social media makes this so very easy!) so when they are ready or need the services you provide, you’ll be the one they call without hesitation.
Communicate with respect…and you’ll gain respect for you as a professional and for your brand.
By Dawn Mentzer
Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
What a terrific message, Dawn. Somehow lost in the penchant for constantly being connected, purporting that we’re multi-tasking (when that’s not really the case), and scrambling for whatever is next is the notion of respect for the individuality of the customer. Your three points are fabulous and I’m particularly partial to respect for the customer’s intellect and decision-making pace. Just because the seller wants to close the deal his/her way doesn’t meant the customer should be run over. Do that enough times and you don’t have a customer anymore. Thanks for this terrific post and a hat tip to ChristopherinHR for including it deservedly in this weeks best. That’s how I got here.
Hi Dawn! Thank you for your kind comment, and for sharing your thoughts on the topic. I always value your insight! I know it’s a little premature, but Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!
Great article Dawn, and I agree with Dawn Lennon as well, no respect and you will not keep a customer for very long..
Thanks, Maria! That is true indeed! Hope all is well with you…and I hope John is on the mend from the flu!