Tag: industry speak

The 6 Secret “Wants” of a Small Business Owner

How to give your client what they want, not just what they need

Every year my young children would write out their Christmas lists with joyful anticipation. They listed all the things they could think of that they wanted.

You know what they didn’t include on their lists? Socks and underwear. They didn’t write down food, towels, sheets, school supplies, or toothbrush. Even though they needed those things, and I was going to buy them, they only listed what they wanted.

Now, what kind of parent would I be if I only gave them what they needed, and not what they wanted? There’s nothing like the joy of seeing your child’s face light up when they unwrap that toy they so badly wanted. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get that kind of reaction from our customers?

The truth is, anyone can give them what they need. Need implies the very basic requirement. Like a toothbrush.

But I’m going to assume that you’re building your business on providing more than the basics. If you strive for excellence, this list will interest you.

#1 – Fast Delivery                          

“I WANT IT, AND I WANT IT NOW”


Whether you sell parts, supplies, or a service, when your customer wants it, they want it now. Lead time isn’t a luxury afforded to the small business owner. I’m not implying that small business owners are disorganized, rather it’s a fast paced “need-it-now” world.

And let’s face it, sometimes things go wrong. Ok, all the time things go wrong. Employees break things, orders get screwed up, and things slip through the cracks. If you can deliver fast, you’ll be a hero.

Also, keep in mind that you are selling to someone trying to make their customer happy. It’s stressful to be the middleman, so they love it when their supplier comes through in a pinch.

Do your best to get your client what they need as fast as possible, but always communicate honestly and avoid over promising. They may be giving their customer promises based on your promises.

#2 – Patient Understanding            hands holding a hand

“BE NICE TO ME, I’VE HAD A HARD DAY”                                 

Let’s face it, life is hard. Most of us have to leave our problems at the door and do our job for 8 hours until we can go home. For the small business owner, however, it’s not that easy. Many put in extraordinarily long hours to get it all done.

The independent business owner wears many hats. They are solely responsible for every aspect of their operation, from staffing to inventory, to facilities, to accounting, to customer service, and more.

He or she doesn’t know your business like they know their own. Expecting them to understand your “lingo” is unfair, so good communication is key to avoiding frustration. (see blog: 7 Ways to Avoid Frustrating Your Prospects)

So if an order comes in with something questionable, take the time to follow up and clarify. If a rare payment is one day late, consider a grace period. If they have to call you six times a day for support, kindly give support.

Anytime you can give some extra care, you’ll go a long way toward nurturing a relationship. Which brings me to the next point.

woman talking on phone#3 – A Relationship

“I WANT A  FRIEND”

Joe needs to order some widgets. They’re nothing special, but he’s not sure which type are best for his purpose. Joe has the choice of three vendors he can order from. Who does he choose? Joe chooses the vendor that he can call up, get a real person, ask his question, and not feel stupid.

He chooses the person, not the company.

The small business owner wants to have a “go-to guy” that’s going to take care of him. Whether you send out sales reps, or have a dedicated order specialist, making the effort to build rapport and trust between two actual people creates a sense of loyalty.

Small business owners are loyal, and this means your business will stay top of mind and top of the list for buying decisions.

#4 – Valuepiggy bank

“I WANT THE BEST I CAN AFFORD”

Small businesses run on tight budgets so AFFORDABILITY is crucial. Many small business owners find they have to offer discounts to be competitive with the big guys, leaving profit margins even smaller.

They want a good value. They need to get a little more for their money where they can. Offering quantity discounts, easy terms, and/or incentives will be very appreciated.

The other side of value is QUALITY. While looking for a bargain price, they still need reliable products and services. Anything of poor quality risks damaging their reputation when something goes wrong. And trust me, they will throw the blame all over you before they lose face with their customer.

#5 – Clear Informationfemale with magnifying glass to eye

“MAKE THIS EASY FOR ME”

Remember, they’re busy people. They don’t have time to sort through a hard to read catalog or confusing website. They’re very likely to become quite agitated by hard-to-follow instructions. Make your processes as user-friendly as possible. This person is hoping for a straight shot down the path of least resistance.

As I mentioned before, stay away from using language specific to your industry if that’s not common to theirs. Don’t assume everyone knows your business. They’re busy knowing theirs.

Transparency in pricing is another hot button. Your prospect wants a ballpark idea whether doing business with you is even an option before wasting their time and yours.

Your prospect wants to know what to do, what will happen next, and what to expect at all times. Giving clear instruction is key to a powerful email campaign, especially when it comes to a call to action.

Life comes with enough surprises, thank you very much. Be clear and concise in your communications.

#6 – Help!hand reaching forward

“TEACH ME WHAT I NEED TO KNOW”

They may not ask for it. They may not know how to ask for it. But most small business owners want help. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed.

Anything you can give your client that can increase product knowledge and develop best practices is a gift that will bring that Christmas morning joy.

Consider the following ways you can help your clients:

  • PRODUCT FACT SHEETS provide information valuable in aiding them to better understand and explain features and benefits to their own customers.
  • TESTIMONIALS not only give them added confidence in your company and product or service, it builds their arsenal of talking points for promoting it themselves.
  • BEST PRACTICES SHEETS assure your client is using your product or service correctly and most effectively, protecting everyone’s reputation.
  • HOW-TO VIDEOS are a great tool, providing a “show me” option for those who learn better through that modality.
  • BLOGS are your perfect outlet for providing information of all kinds to your prospects and clients. Blogs can include:
    • video demonstrationsblog spelled out with blocks
    • new technology advancements
    • product descriptions
    • Industry changes
    • trade secrets
    • and much more

This is where you can introduce new products and services, new staff members, new ideas. You have a wealth of information, so share it! 

With this insight into the secret desires of the small business owner, you can put effort into those areas that are going to make you shine with your clients.

If you have any questions or comments about meeting the wants of your small business client, share them in the reply box below. I’m here to help.

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter specializing in helping businesses reach their target markets for increased sales and improved client relations through compelling, well-crafted copy. Initial consultations are always free of charge. 

7 Ways To Avoid Frustrating Your Prospect

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Are you accidentally frustrating your prospects with the wrong words?

Back when I worked in the banking world, I constantly had to paddle my way through a muddy river of acronyms and corporate lingo. It was like a mystery decipher game. Where was my decoder ring?

I always suspected that somebody got paid a lot of money to make up that nonsense. I bet they felt pretty smart. The problem was, it didn’t help make anyone more productive or successful. Kind of the opposite, actually.

Hey, guess what. Industry-speak doesn’t always work with your employees (evident by the eye rolling), and it never works on your customers. It’s not that they aren’t smart enough. On the contrary. It’s just that they’re busy knowing their own business. Don’t make them learn yours.

“Your written content is only useful if it communicates its desired message to the intended audience.”

Never assume that others understand your business language.

Those code words that are meant to shortcut communications within your industry are a foreign language to everyone else. There are two scenarios:

  1. You make them feel stupid and they choose not to do business with you.
  2. They pretend they know what you’re talking about and you end up with misunderstandings.

Your written content is only useful if it communicates its desired message to the intended audience. A message misunderstood is a waste of time and resources, and can create frustration. Frustration is the last thing you want to create! It neither motivates staff, nor sells your product.

When creating written content, always keep the following tips in mind:
  1. Spell it out. Avoid using acronyms or “lingo” until you’ve spelled out the full meaning at least once. And only use it if necessary.
  2. Talk to me like I’m 5. Or at least like I’m a fifth grader. Don’t talk down to people, but use words that are easy to read and understand. One measurement often used by copywriters is something called the Flesch-Kincaid (FK) Score. It’s a tool used to measure readability of a written piece, expressed as a grade level. Personally I seldom use it, because I naturally write at a fifth grade level. Remember, readability is an important key to understanding the message.
  3. Be a good friend. Keep a conversational tone and your prospect will see you as someone that understands them and has their best interest at heart. Be kind and helpful in order to build the trust that bridges your reader from prospect to customer.
  4. Use shorter sentences. Long, run on sentences, although they may contain much valuable information, can sometimes lose the attention of, or become a burden to, the busy, distracted reader, thereby losing hope of your message making its intended impact. In other words, Long sentences are burdensome. To make your point, keep it short.
  5. Write for the skimmers. The truth is, most people don’t actually read, they scan. The headline is the first, and most important element. Make it awesome. After that, subheads, followed by the summary at the bottom. If they see value in that much, they’ll hopefully go back and read the rest. Make it worth their time.
  6. Tell me what I need to know. Show your reader they’ve come to the right place. To overload your reader with unsolicited information can cause a mental road block (unless it’s engaging and entertaining, of course). Give the necessary information with a link to further investigate as desired.
  7. Tell me what to do. Your goal is to cause an action step. Click here, buy now, fill out this form, pick up the phone, etc. Just say so. Any time your reader is unsure, the default will be to do nothing.

Your message should tell your prospect that you can help fill a need, solve a problem, and/or bring relief from some pain and frustration they have. Nobody needs additional frustration in their lives, nor do they like to feel stupid. Just tell them what they need to know and what to do next.

Most importantly, your message must provide value to the reader, and to do that, you must speak their language, not yours. 

So if you need help with defining and crafting your messaging or with any marketing materials, PICK UP THE PHONE.  Seriously though, I’d love to talk to you about your needs, so call me. Or send me a message here.

 

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter specializing in helping businesses reach their target markets for increased sales and improved client relations through compelling, well-crafted copy. Initial consultations are always free of charge. 

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