September 2, 2014

Speak My Language: Getting Customers to Listen

How do you get and keep the attention of people who do not have to listen to you? I mean, life and marketing is not like grade school and your audience doesn’t have to be in the room so to speak. From tutoring teenagers in voluntary summer programs to building a following online or a loyal client base, the process of communication is fascinating to me.

capture attention

How do you captivate an audience enough to get them to listen to you and buy from you?

Kristen Zhivago at RevenueJournal has a simple take on it. In ‘Why Do They Love You,” she suggests that you “have someone you trust to interview your customers.” Isn’t it funny how simple solutions keep rising to the surface.

So What Is The Right Way To Say It?

How many times have you run around in circles with your marketing copy, new product development ideas, and other processes inside your small business, trying to find the “right” way to do things? Who wants to put energy into things that your staff won’t use and that you clients won’t buy?

What if you could speak their language? What if you knew the magic words? What if you knew how to talk to potential clients?

According to Zhivago, author of Roadmap to Revenue, you learn how to talk to future clients by interviewing and listening to your current ones. The goal is to learn from successful relationships and then repeat that behavior. There is nothing like a well-placed conversation and honest feedback.

It’s Hard To Serve People You Don’t Understand 

It’s even harder to understand people that you don’t listen to.  Feedback gets you beyond guessing and assuming, it gets you to a place of knowing.  The more you know, the better decisions you can make.

Personally, when it comes to public speaking and training, I learned that it’s not my clever acronyms, credentials or catch phrases (though they do help start a conversation) that gets and keeps my audiences’ attention. In their own words it’s the personal stories, authentic enthusiasm and simple and clear way of breaking things down that keeps them listening.

Before I talked to them, I assumed it was something else.

What assumptions have you made about your customers and what actions are you taking to verify your hunch?

Capturing Attention Photo via Shutterstock

4 Comments ▼
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Jamillah Warner


Jamillah Warner Jamillah Warner (Ms.J), a poet with a passion for business, is a Georgia-based writer and speaker and the Marketing Coordinator at Nobuko Solutions. She also provides marketing and communication quick tips in her getCLEAR! MicroNewsletter.

4 Reactions

  1. A quick way to test different messaging is to use PPC ads. You can run two versions against each other and see which one generates a higher click through rate (CTR). It will only take a couple days and a few dollars to KNOW which headline or subject line works better.

    • Yes, Robert, but…you will still be guessing with your A/B testing. If you call a half-dozen customers and find out why they bought, what they were thinking while they were buying, how they think about what they were buying, what their real challenges are, etc., – you will come to know, specifically, what matters to them. Then all of your A/B testing will be much more relevant.

      As buyers, we know how far off sellers are; but as sellers, we assume we know what buyers want. After asking hundreds of business owners what they think customers want, then interviewing their customers (thousands!), I guarantee that we are wrong in our assumptions. Always.

      And, our new knowledge helps us make very specific promises, rather than the vague, everyone-makes-them promises that bore customers to tears.

      Kristin Zhivago

  2. feed back is what most organizations use today to know what are the things that their clients have in mind and what are the ways they can use in improving them

  3. ‘As buyers, we know how far off sellers are’

    @Kristin, don’t I know it! To be honest, the best companies I’ve received service from have just asked me how my service went even if went right or wrong. It costs time and resources but it could pay off in the long run.

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