- Next trainer development cohort 10th - 14th June 2024

Is Your Language Losing You Clients

17th September, 2018

Is Your Language Losing You Clients

It was our second date. I was excited, nervous and more than a bit sweaty.


But more than anything, I was relieved. Relieved to have finally found the bar that we were meeting at (the bar that I’d spent half an hour trying to find).


Why had I found it so hard?


Because my date (who is now my husband) had told me on the phone that the bar was ‘north west of Moorgate’ (this was pre-Google maps of course). Well, dear reader, he might as well have told me it was north west of Jupiter, because compass points mean absolutely nothing to me.


When I finally arrived in a fluster I blurted out ‘I know this pub! It’s the one opposite Marks and Spencer! If only you’d said!


And so, to this very day, my husband uses landmarks, shops and points of interest if ever he needs to give me directions.


So it will go something like this: ‘Walk down the road with the big mansion and the over-the-top fountain until you get to Costa Coffee. Turn right, go past the cheap-and-cheerful pasta restaurant and then left at the weird statue with the graffiti.




No north wests. No south easts. Just language and points of reference that I can understand and are meaningful to ME.


And yet in business we so often use language that doesn’t connect with our customers. Yikes.

Is Your Language Losing YOU clients?


All too often we don’t take enough time to think about how our clients like to communicate. What language, terminology or information they use.


Instead, we overload them with OUR acronyms and terminology. With OUR points of reference, not theirs.


So before you communicate with your clients, take a bit of time to observe them.


Take a note of how they describe THEIR business, their market and their world. Which words do they use? Which words DON’T they use that you do?


Because if you talk about ‘HR’ when they talk about ‘People’, or you say ‘interactive agent’ when they say ‘chatbot’, it’s a subtle indication that you aren’t quite on the same page.


And if you use references that they don’t understand or care about then you’ll struggle to convince them that you ‘get’ their business, their needs and their wants. (And struggle to get them to buy from you too…).


Using the language of your clients is an extremely powerful way to show your customers that you understand them.


So try stepping into their world when you communicate – you won’t then lose them at the first corner. You know, the one with the red postbox with the dent in it…

University of Cambridge


- Next trainer development cohort 10th - 14th June 2024

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