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Listen to Your Customers and Use Their Language

Why you MUST listen to your customers, tune your sales pitch to your customer's expectations, and use their language.

Do you speak in acronyms and jargon to show off your expertise?

Business owners often get caught up in their industry jargon and technical terms. Instead of impressing customers, terminology and technical terms may have the opposite effect of confusing people.

After listening to you rattle off technical terms, customers may be embarrassed that they don’t know what you’re talking about. No one wants to look stupid.

You lose a sale, and they still have their problem.

When writing your sales copy, advertising materials, and general sales conversations, use the everyday language of the potential customer you’re trying to attract.

Never forget that your leads and customers probably don’t understand many technical terms you might use while talking to a peer.

Let’s say you’re an SEO specialist.

Some potential customers might know that SEO stands for “search engine optimization.”

However, they may only have a vague understanding that SEO is a way to help websites appear on the first page of Google.

Leads and prospects may instead search for “how to rank on Google” or “get better page rankings.”

The key difference?

Your potential customer is looking for a solution to fix a problem.

You have this solution.

But they don’t speak in your industry-specific tech terms.

So they don’t know that SEO could fix their problem because they are looking for “how to rank on search” services.

Not wanting to appear dumb, they smile and nod and then find another supplier who listens and communicates in terms they understand.

How do you get a better understanding of what your customers are actually trying to achieve?

Social forums.

A great way to understand what problem your potential customer is trying to solve is to hang out in forums and social groups where your audience gathers.

Pay close attention to the issues they are trying to solve through the questions they are asking.

Note the language that commonly appears.

Then, adjust your copy, offers, and descriptions to match.

Look on related Facebook groups, Pinterest boards, and LinkedIn pages. Follow hashtags. Check out question-and-answer sites like Quora and Reddit to see which questions come up.

Search engines.

Most search engines have an autofill feature. This autofill is populated by search terms others typed in and displayed in order of popularity.

Try variations of your product or service in a search window and see what comes up. Follow the searches and see where they lead you.

Ask your customers.

  • What about your product or service is hard to understand?
  • Did they have an “ah-ha” moment when it all came together?
  • What training or resources did they use before they bought your product or service?
  • Why did they choose you?

Taking time to understand and effectively communicate does two things:

Shows your prospects that you understand – and can solve – their problem.

Never underestimate the power of understanding.

It removes any barriers and makes you more approachable and empathetic. Effective communication means listening and reflecting back on what your customer is really concerned about,

woman with packages growing her profitable business

When is it okay to do tech-speak / industry-speak?

When are speaking to people who you know are industry experts,

If your audience understands the jargon, they may not want you to simplify and explain the basics.

They want you to be an expert and help them with high-level problems. You wish to appear to be an insider who understands your industry.

If you are selling to an audience that already expects tech speak and takes pride in knowing all the insider jargon, then using tech speak is the way to go.

You are using their language.

When using jargon is a faster way to explain things to an audience who understands it.

There is little need to explain algorithms to an audience of computer engineers. Describing how your software helps them create and test algorithms faster using your proprietary technology

Never assume that your prospects know your industry or technical terms.

Your audience may not have as deep or clear an understanding of your niche or be as educated as you.

They often don’t understand most industry jargon you might consider common knowledge. Finding better communication methods could make your customers happier and increase your business.

Go back to your research and focus not only on the terms and language people use but also on how they ask questions.

Questions give you insight into areas in your market where there may be frustration or misunderstanding about problems and solutions.

Instead of showing off your expertise (and perhaps losing a sale), speak to customers in terms and language they understand. A confused customer may never let on that they don't understand – because they don't want to appear stupid.

And a confused customer rarely buys.

Pay attention to the language your competitors use.

Dig deep into your competitor's messaging. What words do they use? What questions do they answer? What is the overall tone?

If your competitor has customer reviews, pay attention to those as well. What do customers comment on? What do they rave about? What language do they use to describe their experience?

How can you apply this information?

Try presenting your sales message using language that your potential customer understands. Skip the jargon.

Go to social sites and forums and see what people are struggling with or asking questions about. Use this language in your sales materials.

You will seem more approachable and empathetic. Your clarity and willingness to help your customer genuinely understand the exact solution you are proposing is key to the sale.

Take action! Do the worksheet Listen to Your Customers and Use Their Language.

Taken from Profit-ize Your Business Book One: Marketing Strategies for Business Growth

Like this post? It was taken from the Profitize Your Business series

Patricia Browne

Patricia Browne

Patricia Browne is the author of seven books that help businesses grow and profit.

Read about The Profit-ize system and what it can do for your business

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