Your customers have a language of their own. It depends largely on what type of business you are running, but one of the absolute best ways to connect with them is to understand how they speak.
Language is a funny thing. It is largely affected by the amount of knowledge a customer has about the particular product in question. They may need something and not even be aware of it!
Let me give you an example:
I used to work in the Home Theater department of Best Buy. As you can imagine, folks came in all the time looking for a TV that looked “bigger, better, and brighter.” As a highly sophisticated sales person, I made sure they knew that what they needed was a TV with such and such contrast ratio and such and such light adjusting technology.
I’m not sure how, but I actually was not a bad salesperson! Unfortunately, I was not the best I could be. The reason is that I did not learn how to speak my customers’ language back to them. I understood their language, but I was not speaking it.
It’s likely that you are in a similar situation.
Understanding is Key
If you are in business, you likely have a pretty good idea of what it is you are selling or offering. But, you may not, even if you think you do. Most of the time, what you are actually selling is not a product or even a service.
What you are selling is the transformation that will occur after your customer purchases product X or service X.
Knowing that, you need to begin asking yourself some questions about what problems you are actually solving. We’ll go through those in a moment, but let me first explain this a bit more practically.
Suppose your company sells computer repair services. If you market yourself as a computer repair person, you are competing against everybody’s first cousin’s brother. And, they work for FREE!! Tough competition.
What you should be doing here is to understand what position your customers are coming from, and give your customer what they really want–a solved problem, a great experience, and some level of confidence that it will not happen again.
Your customer’s don’t want their hard drive repaired, they want their photos saved (if you work residentially). Your business customer’s don’t care that their server is down; they care that they cannot work. Again, provide the solution, a great experience, and provide them some level of assurance that it should not happen again.
That is the difference between fixing something that’s broken and providing your customers with what they are actually looking for.
Question yourself on behalf of your customers. Here is what I mean: perform an internal audit of the main services you offer in your business, and detach yourself from the equation. What I mean by that is to try to answer these questions as if you were the customer, leaving out any “industry” terms or information that you are privileged to know.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- What problem am I solving, or desire am I satisfying? Maybe your customer has just lost every photo they have ever taken because their hard drive crashed. Maybe your customer is tired of the way store bought meat has been affecting their family, so they are coming to your store for a more natural product. Maybe your customer is tired of shopping at Walmart for gifts, and wants hand-made gifts to buy for Christmas this year. So the question is not, “What am I selling?” Rather, it’s “What are they buying, and why?”
- Why do my customers have this problem or desire? This will help you to identify how you should position yourself in the marketplace. The example of losing photos on a hard drive is pretty common. If a customer walks into a store and sees a sign that reads, “hard drive replacement, $80”, that may be exactly the service they are looking for! However, they may not know that. If instead your sign read, “Lost your photos? We can help.” Ah, now you are hitting home. You have just bridged the gap between your customers emotional feelings and your technical solution to their problem.
- What kind of experience should my customer expect to have? The customer who lost their photos is likely pretty distraught about it. A rigid dude spouting out technical terms right now is not going to connect well with the customer, especially when he mentions how much he charges for the service. But in your customer’s mind, they are paying not to have a hard drive replaced, but to have their photos possibly brought back! It would be a mistake to detach her from that line of thinking when you start talking price. It doesn’t matter what you have to do, just get the photos back if at all possible. Explain nicely that you fully understand where she is coming from, and that you are going to make every effort to help.
You may not run a computer repair business, but it’s almost guaranteed that whatever sort of business you run, there is a deeper objective that comes into play when customers hit the marketplace to look for your product.
Clients approach me all the time looking for a website, when what they actually need is more customers. They have a perception that a static website will accomplish that for them. Asking the right questions will help you greatly in understanding how best to serve them.
You just have to get to the bottom of what it is your customers really need, and provide the solution to that problem.
Actually Speaking the Language
So, now that you have a pretty good understanding of why your customer needs or wants what you are offering, you now need to present it to them in a way that connects with them.
The good news is that this part is actually pretty easy. However, it does involve some practice and definitely takes some getting used to.
This is going to vary widely depending on what type of product or service you are offering, so I will not give specific examples. I’ll just say this: customers that are not in your line of work are not familiar with the same terms and lingo that you are.
Fortunately for you though, you are also a human! Therefore, it should be easy to detach yourself from the terms and lingo once you have some practice. This will happen naturally when you become more focused on solving your customers problem than providing the widget you are good at providing.
We are all looking for some sort of validation that our product or service is better than a competitors, and for that reason, you subconsciously like it when you are able to wow your customers with things that they may not understand. It makes you appear smarter! I get it, trust me. I am one notorious for needing some sort of external validation.
But the truth is, that’s not what is best for your customers. And, your customers are much more likely to refer you to others if you solved their problem rather than fixed their “X”. This is a problem that solves itself. I can’t think of better validation than for more customers to come to my door! Don’t allow your knowledge to shortchange your ability to attract customers.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t allow your knowledge to shortchange your ability to attract customers.” username=”swschramm”]
Allow me to leave you with a final thought. No matter what kind of product or service you are offering, there is always someone with a better version. Someone is better, cheaper, or faster at performing whatever service you provide.
You should pride yourself not in what you do, but in your ability to provide the solution to the problem your customer is having, with empathy and with an excellent experience.