Consider speaking your customers’ language…To connect with your customers, it is tremendously important to speak their language. I don’t mean language like what you studied in high school—I mean communicating with your customers in a way they can readily understand, without cumbersome jargon.

Americans think in English. CFO’s think in terms of numbers. CEO’s speak ROI.  IT professionals think in bits and bytes. Everyone has a language they think in—are you speaking your customers’ language?

Speaking your customers’ language means different things depending on the context. It means not talking about “synergy” and “best practice” when the customer is talking about “metrics” and “ROI.” It means using the right keywords online so you can be found in search. It means not bombarding your customers with a lot of industry speak in an attempt to look smart.

As an organization, your message can get lost in a sea of buzzwords or crash on the rocks of technical jargon. We often become so familiar with our products and services that we lost touch with the laymen’s terms that our customers are using. When you take your car to the mechanic, he may be talking about bearings and tie rods, but all you want is for the car to stop making that infernal clunking noise.

Remember, you will earn the trust of your customers when you can communicate with them the same way that they communicate with each other.

Not sure how to speak your customers’ language? The first step is easy: just to listen to them! Your customers are talking about their challenges and problems—are you listening to them?

Listen to your customers on social media (you do have a social media strategy right?). Read industry publications and blogs and look for recurring words and phrases. Go to customers’ industry events and listen to how companies there describe challenging situations and make your communication fit those needs. Join LinkedIn groups relevant to your customers’ business and monitor the discussions.

Ask your sales people—they work with your customers all the time and should be able to give you a sense of your customers’ priorities and how they describe them. Also, you can always ask your customers. Use surveys or focus groups to gain insights on speaking your customers’ language.

Reaching your customers where they are is only half the battle: once you’re there, you have to speak their language too.



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