A big part of business is communication. Whether that’s in your marketing, sales process, delivering the service, managing team or liaising with suppliers, we cannot underestimate the importance of good business communication.
Here are some business communication tips I’d like to share with you
1. Telemarketing & phone calls
The worst thing you can do (short of lying to a prospect) is call someone from a blocked or private number. Statically in 2020, 43% of people will NOT pick up the call from an ‘unknown’ number. So it makes sense to call from a displayed number. In the time of COVID, staff working from home may be using their own personal phones and so block. Better, get a mobile number for them that they can use.
From a call recipient perspective, what I find immensely helpful is having all my contacts in my phone’s address book. If someone is a prospect, then I add the word “PROSPECT” to their name, that way if they ring, I can say “Hi Mary, how are you?” when she rings. I’m in sales mode, knowing I’m talking to a prospect and Mary is impressed I’ve bothered to remember her and feels special.
2. Debt collecting
If the person you are chasing money from is not answering emails, then switch communication methods. Try a phone call. If that doesn’t work you may try a text message. Worse comes to worst, you may snail mail (receipted post) a request for payment. The trick here is to be persistent, consistent and pleasant. The bull terrier approach is not needed. Remember – keep a note of all calls, emails or messages and of course any promises. If someone says “I’ll fix that up Friday” my response is “Fantastic John, thanks, I’ll make a note you’re fixing that on Friday the 12th”. I’m being specific, I’m being thankful and I’m communicating that I’m writing that down and making a note. It’s almost a little gentle prompter for them also to write it down and make sure it happens.
3. Keeping in Touch
In today’s world everything is quick, fast and impersonal. When we are wanting to keep in touch with clients, we often revert to an email. If you value someone’s business, or appreciate a referral from an associate, or a supplier has really helped you out, then rather than that quick 5-second email, take the time to write a handwritten personal card or note. I noticed this last Christmas, that ‘real’ cards had thinned out to nothing … so if you send something via snail mail – you will stand out!
4. Being Thankful
Part of any business communication and doing business (I believe) is showing thanks. Whether that’s thanking your team for a job well done, or perhaps acknowledging the extra efforts of a supplier who helped you – we should always take the time to show some thanks. Above, I mentioned a card, for staff it might be a thanks lunch, or for a supplier, if they have Google Reviews on their website, I’ll bet they would appreciate a five-star review. Just don’t be lazy and send a three-word email.
5. Emails don’t get opened!
Speaking of email, a recent email benchmark survey by MailChimp found that 22% of people don’t open their emails. I know, if I see a subject which I know is just selling to me, I’m more often likely to delete (and potentially block) that source. Now more than ever we are inundated by email; it’s no longer a convenience, but a massive chore to keep up with. Often for a timely response with clients, I will text their mobile as an alternative.
6. So many ways to keep in touch
One of the benefits (and challenges) is that today there is a multitude of ways people can communicate with you. You might be tagged on Facebook, sent a Messenger message, LinkedIn messages, email, text, phone, Skype, Zoom … the list literally just goes on and on. One challenge for a business is to keep up with these means. Myself, I simple cycle through quickly to check messages, but don’t recommend full-on notifications, otherwise, you won’t get actual work done. It’s about finding balance.
Whilst you’re making sure you track all your business communications, also have a great method for keeping promises. You might be using an App, your diary, note pads or tasks – just ensure you keep your promises and action what you said you would.
7. Using people’s names
A person’s name is important. If you are meeting in person (or writing) you should use a person’s name. I really won’t fully read a LinkedIn message which doesn’t have my name. Another important thing is not to presume to shorten a person’s name. If their profile says Catherine, then unless they introduce themselves as Cathy, then you continue to use Catherine. Sometimes I will ask, do you prefer Catherine or Cathy? Also be sure to get spelling right. I know quite a few Tracy’s/Tracey’s and remembering if there is an ‘e’ before the ‘y’ is that personal touch which makes people feel like you care.
8. Keep it positive
Where possible, approach your communication with positiveness. I frequently sign off email with “Make a Spectacular Day!” or “Make a Wonderful Wednesday!” Also endeavour to never impart anything negative via writing. If you have to reprimand a staff member, then do so in person. If you have negative feedback for a supplier, then give them a call; especially if you’ve had a long working relationship with them – then do them that courtesy. On that note, avoid ‘ghosting’ someone. If you asked a local tradie to come around and quote a job for you, then give that person the respect and courtesy of answering their call. Even if you don’t need their service, pick up. If you really are fearful they will do the hard sell, then send them a nice text “Thanks for your quote, however, we’ve chosen to pause on this project for 6 months”.
9. Say what you mean and want
Be clear about what you are wanting and your expectations. If you are asking for someone to complete a task by 5pm Friday then don’t be upset if you receive it at 4:59pm and then if you have questions, you don’t get a response till Monday. If a task is high priority (or low priority) then tell people that. Too often we are supplied with the wrong outcome or product, because everyone was not on the same page, due to poor communication.
Remember also that only 20% of us are auditory learners, so verbally rattling off a string of instructions may not be the most effective method. Instead, you may put the instructions in a dot point email, but always inviting the recipient to ask any questions if unsure.
I hope this has been useful and given you some ideas or even action steps to take. You don’t have to do everything at once; even take one new concept and take action to implement it. If you’d like to talk to me about my coaching packages, feel free to give me a call, or email (or text me – 0411 622 666); I’d be happy to communicate with you how I might be of service and listen (another big part of business communication) to what you’re needing. Make a spectacular day!