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Are You Speaking Your Clients' Language?

I’m not suggesting you need to learn a foreign language, what I am referring to is learning your clients vocabulary tendencies and professional lingo to better understand their mindset along with their industry pitfalls and challenges, opening the door to more opportunity as a solution provider.

In your everyday conversations with customers and prospects alike it’s imperative that you’re paying attention to the type of language they’re using and assimilate by incorporating similar verbiage into your own responses and story telling. That integration supports the connection between you and your client by building a bridge from your message to their interpretation of what you’re communicating. This form of language assimilation also creates a sense of familiarity to your customer and serves to build a level of comfort, confidence and likability. As we all know, people buy from people they know, like and trust.

Being aware of your clients body language, posture and mannerisms will provide suggestions to how well liked you are by the individual and vice versa. This is a psychological phenomenon known as the Chameleon Effect. Researchers Chartrand and Bargh conducted a series of experiments in the late 90’s which confirmed the theory that we have a natural tendency to unintentionally imitate vocal expressions, gestures and posture etc of the people we enjoy. This flattering mimicry increases the affinity between two people going beyond a simple social interaction.

At the same time, it’s equally as important to refrain from using your own industry lingo with customers unless of course the relationship and education is at a stable level of familiarity. Frequently, professionals of all sorts get caught up in using industry lingo and sales jargon because they feel it confirms their position with the IN crowd or as an attempt to elevate an image of status. Here’s the thing, your customers generally aren’t impressed with your industry acronyms and abbreviations. In some ways it serves to save time when communicating with co-workers and colleagues however, I assure you it will confuse your customers. What your clients desire and expect from the customer experience is to have a sense of belonging, to be at home and a part of the same team; using industry jargon will only alienate them and create and uncomfortable buying experience.

Healthcare and automotive professionals do a great job of confusing the you-know-what out of us. I asked a friend of mine in the medical field to give me an example of her everyday conversation in the workplace. She fired back with:

“Based off examination findings of febrile temperatures, tonsillar exudates and erythema of the pharynx, I suspect you have streptococcal pharyngitis which we can confirm by testing for antibodies for streptomycin O.”

Which basically means:

“Judging by your symptoms I believe you have strep throat but we’ll do a throat swab test just to make sure.”

Which explanation do you understand and makes you feel the most comfortable? Point being, fancy terminology might make you feel good about yourself but if your customer can’t interpret they’re going to go elsewhere.

People take the path of least resistance; make sure doing business with you is an easy road. Effective communication and likability pave the way to success.

© 2018 Matt Wagner Vice President of Sales, Fields Manufacturing


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