Are You a Business Bore or the Pied Piper?


Business Language | Natalie Smithson

It’s amazing what you can learn about someone from one brief encounter, isn’t it?

I recently wrote a blog post about dogs and scent, which taught me our four-legged friends are expert in this. They have 220 million olfactory receptors to process smell. They can tell if another dog is the pack leader just from sniffing their urine on a lamppost. It tells them the dog’s age, gender and what they had for dinner. 

Clever, eh?

Unfortunately, we lowly humans only have 5 million receptors for smell.

So we judge one another in other ways.

If you run your own business, the words you use to talk about it give you away. And trying to wee higher up the lamppost doesn’t establish you as a leader. << Tweet this!

The Big I Am

We all know a business owner who talks incessantly about themselves. [Stifle that yawn.] Not everyone understands it’s a fine balance.

They say “me” and “I” more than they ask about “you”. Talk is in the past tense to include a list of their achievements. If they happen to mention what their success can do for you, it’s often a veiled opportunity for them to beat their own chest.

What they don’t realise is that a customer makes their own judgement. If you declare on your website you’re “The Best” or “Number One”, they probably smell a rat. They’ll decide that for themselves, thank you very much.

Tickle their fancy

As hard as you work to make a success of your business, the upshot is, your customer doesn’t care about your plight. Not really. Unless there’s a personal interest they buy the product or service and go on their merry way. You want to be sure they return.

What is their experience of your business?

Which elements do they deem to be a success?

Everything you say about your business should reassure the customer you run it for them. Sure, let them know you won an award – it’s recognition they made the right choice in using you over the competition. Show a little personality behind the brand – they might even love you for it. Or they might just like your price point.

Whatever the reason for return custom, find out what it is and make that the focus of every conversation going forward.

Don’t babble

Content needs a plan:

  1. Find out what customers love about your brand
  2. What words do they use to describe your product or service?
  3. Find other words that mean (pretty much) the same thing
  4. Use this language in your marketing

This short exercise helps you use words the customer is comfortable with. In turn, these words nurture the positive feeling they already associate with your brand.

What’s more, you find out what distinguishes you from the competition – those unique qualities we often can’t see or define for ourselves.

Good listening | Natalie Smithson

Over time, the language you use begins to represent your brand. If it demonstrates you can listen and speak to customers in a language they understand, they’re more likely to approach you again.

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Natalie Smithson Freelance Writer Natalie Smithson is a freelance business writer and offers writing services plus marketing, editorial and comms support for busy people like you. Join her on Twitter.


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