The fastest way to lose a sale is to make your customer feel stupid.
Credibility is established with clear communications. You may be an expert in your field, but if your customers don’t get what you’re talking about then you failed.
The most effective communication happens when you speak in the language of your customers. Communicating at their level using their words raises your profile and establishes trust.
Poor communications destroys trust
The catalyst for this post came from an infuriating sales call I experienced last week.
I was evaluating a search marketing provider, but I left their presentation frustrated and determined to find another vendor.
The sales rep talked fast. He assumed I knew as much about their business as he did. And he used so much industry jargon I thought I was in a Monty Python sketch.
All I wanted was a conversation about my business, my needs, and how they could help me. I didn’t get that.
The experience reinforced that trust is built on mutual understanding. I was pushed away, because I felt like I had spent half an hour trying to speak with someone in a different language.
I didn’t believe they could serve me effectively, because I didn’t understand them.
Study how your customers talk
There is no excuse to talk down to your customers, and make them feel stupid. It’s not your customers’ job to figure out your industry. It’s your job to speak to them in their language.
Take the time to study how your customers speak:
- How do they describe your products and services? What words do they use?
- How do they talk about the trigger events and symptoms that bring them to market?
- What questions do they ask?
Pay close attention to the words and phrases your customers use. When you understand how they talk about their business you can adapt your stories and solutions to their language.
Always be on the lookout for confusion
Every time you confuse your customers you lose a piece of their trust.
If you’re lucky the customer will ask a question when they’re confused, and have you clarify what you are talking about. This is great. It’s a sign you’re not speaking in their language, and you need to be more cognizant of your communications. It’s an opportunity to change course, and save the meeting.
But chances are your customer won’t say anything when they’re confused. They’ll listen and appear engaged, but inside they are tuning out. This is deadly.
Pay attention to both verbal and visual cues of engagement. Are your customers understanding you? Are they engaged? Are they asking questions? Are they adding to the conversation?
If you’re not speaking your customers’ language, you probably won’t win the sale.