I remember when I first started working back in the old days. Business communication was all about writing letters. Formal letters at that. You had to be careful to sign off the right way – was it “Yours sincerely” or “Kind Regards”? I was never sure.
Though for many of us letters have gone the way of the typewriter, contact with regular clients is probably one of the most important ways of growing your business.
And there are some good rules which will help make your client communications clearer and more likely to be read.
- Use a friendly, conversational tone. It’s hard to get out of old habits, but the best sort of writing happens when you imagine you’re writing to just one person. Imagine someone who might be your typical client and write how you would if they were on the end of your email.
- Cut out the ‘grown up’ words. Remember when you felt you had to use really big words to make yourself sound older and more important? Well, cut them out right now. Client communication is not about proving you read the dictionary nightly for fun. It’s about being understood. More than that, it’s about getting their attention. So when you’re tempted to say something was “comprised of”, just stop. It’s “made of”. It’s not about dumbing down. It’s about making your message easier to read.
- Put yourself in their shoes. When you’re tempted to tell them all about your latest staff changes, or how great you are making Widget 123, stop for a minute and think. If you were your client reading your carefully written brag sheet and thinking “what’s in it for me” would you keep reading? Be honest. It’s just too easy to think about what you want to tell them. A better approach is the write about things that will help them do their job, improve their business, make their life easier. Yes, it’s about getting your message in front of them, but if they don’t get past the first sentence, what’s the point?
For more handy hints for better client communication, stay tuned.