Whether it be communication with prospects, with customers, with suppliers or team, I cannot stress enough the importance of good, clear and regular communication. If your business runs smoothly and everyone is happy, then you are more likely to be making money. Hence, there is a direct correlation between good communication and improved profits.
Here are a few examples on where top communication makes a difference:
Communicating with an Enquirer
You’ve received an enquiry. You’re in back to back meetings and can’t talk properly to them, so you just figure you’ll call them later. Or alternatively, you call them now, rush the call and do neither of you a favour. Rather than just the rush call, or no call, how about instead a lovely text message to them (you can even pre-set this up in keyboard shortcuts on your phone) “Hi Jack, great to get your call. I’m just in a meeting at present; would it be ok if I give you a call in about an hour? Thanks, Donna – Stone Business Coaching.” Prompt and effective communication from the start is more likely going to ensure that prospect converts into a customer.
Communication during Networking or on Social Media
With over 5,000 LinkedIn contacts I get a lot of messages every day. You know the ones which I like reading the most? The ones which are personal, short and NOT selling to me from the moment we connect. First impressions do count and if your first networking (in person or online) is to do the hard sell to me from the moment we meet or connect, you’re not communicating with me well. Take the time to nurture the relationship, or at least that you value me as a connection, before launching into your sales spiel. Great communication up front can lead to opportunities.
Communication with a Prospective Customer
During the sales process, you will be asking questions, listening to their responses and then relaying information to them. Be sure that in your communication you are clear about what you are offering or proposing. Be sure you are not too technical (you might be an engineer, accountant or IT expert, but doesn’t mean your prospect understands your language/terminology. Be sure to give enough information without inundating them. Remember, a BIG part of communication (especially with prospects and customers) is listening. I love the expression:
“We were given two ears and one mouth – use them proportionally.”
Communication with a new client
One of the things we sometimes miss as business owners is to on-board our new clients well. Educating them (ie communication) is important to show them how your business operates. What can they expect from you (or not) and what you expect (hope) from them. It might be that you are not available 24 hours a day on the phone. If that is the case, why not as part of your welcome communication, say “When I’m not in a coaching session, I’m available via phone during the week between 8am and 5pm. If you do ring and miss me, be sure to leave a message and indicate the urgency. Outside these hours, feel free to email me at any time and I’ll get back to you early on the next business day.” Here I am setting boundaries.
Likewise if someone rings you at 8pm at night and you don’t want to take their call, then don’t pick up and then be cranky you’re on the phone for an hour. Instead consider a quick text “Sorry, just not available to chat at present; can I give you a call in the morning?” Again, this can be setup using Text Replacement.
Communication with Suppliers
Remember often that suppliers are a critical component of our supply chain. Sure, you are their customer, but that does not mean you can give them little notice, have unreasonable expectations or be rude to them. At times, things go wrong (usually at the worst possible time) and if it does, be sure to count to ten (maybe even 50) and be calm before speaking to them.
Of course, giving your supplier as much notice as possible is ideal and if you are following up on something for a customer and there has been a stuff up or delay, then be sure to communicate with your customer and alert them.
Make a quick call to your customer: “Jane, just been chasing our supplier for your taps, and they are not in yet. I’m really sorry. They’ve promised next week and I’ve diarised to pursue for you. I’ll let you know as soon as they come in. Again, I’m so sorry. ” It’s not your fault, but your client is going to appreciate your efforts and appreciate the update. It’s these little ‘care factor’ steps which make the difference between mediocre customer service and awesome customer service. Communication!
Communication with Staff
This could be a whole blog in its own right. It ranges from positive communication (remember to say ‘thanks’ for a job well done) to how you deal with poor performance. There is a right and wrong way at both ends. It comes back to giving a team member enough information to do the job you want. If you don’t tell them what you want, can they mind read? Do they have a crystal ball? Communicate your expectations so they know what you want and need. Contrary to some boss’s possible belief, staff don’t enjoy the mystery and challenge of guesswork. I also find it excellent to communicate with them if I have an upcoming deadline. It might be that I know I need an emergency letter done before 5pm. Rather than me working on it from 4pm to 4:55pm and then popping it on their desk 4:55pm “I need this today!” instead, alerting them early, it’s coming so they clear some time in their schedule, and then ensuring it’s not last second. Remember this:
“Good bosses attract great staff.
Great staff look after valued clients.
Valued clients generate income. ”
Whoever you are communicating with, remember to be clear, concise, informative, helpful, friendly, positive and consistent. That applies to marketing communication as well and general business communication. Think about your own communication – is there an aspect you could work on? It might just be one thing you want to change. Focus on that item, know what you want to change, decide what will occur differently in the future and work on it. You may not be perfect first time, but don’t give up. Keep trying and keep improving and positive change will come.
Make a spectacular day! D.
Check out my business coaching services or call 0411 622 666 for an appointment.