This week, more riffing off another online rockstar (at least in my eyes): Ramit Sethi. I’ve been following his stuff for a couple years now, and this line really stuck out to me the other day:
“Here’s the first step to differentiating yourself: Deeply understand the language of your market.” (Find the rest here)
Ramit’s great advice on how to differentiate your self in the market is to listen to the ACTUAL WORDS that your clients/customers use when talking about the problem you are proposing to solve, and reflect those back to them in your sales writing (marketing copy, proposals, etc).
It’s just like (and knowing Ramit, where he got the idea!) the psychological nugget of repeating back what you think your partner/child/whoever just said to make sure you are understanding their point of view: “I hear you saying that you need more time to get ready for bed. How can we make that happen?” Working together, instead of at cross-purposes. Freakin’ brilliant!
So many of us walk through life not feeling heard or understood that the simple act of demonstrating that we are being heard--by using/hearing the words someone is using to express their frustration--can be a real connector. Which is what builds business!
So there’s the personal level, showing a potential client that you understand the problem that they are experiencing by reflecting that back to them in the language that they use. And using that language in your promotional copy also positions you as an expert in the field. Experts know the jargon and vocabulary of the field they are working in, and using it properly is a sign to others that you know what the hell you’re talking about (i.e., are an expert).
And especially if, like me, your life revolves around words--it is that much more important to LISTEN and understand your client. When I’m writing web copy, for example, I’m trying to channel someone else’s voice, to reflect their personality to shine through to their customers. I’m using the words that they use when they describe their company and their work, adding to it possibly, but making sure that their ideas and keywords (not necessarily the SEO kind) are taking center stage.
It’s like good interior design--taking what is already there, and rearranging it, maybe adding one or two things, to make it stand out more effectively and reflect the owner's personality.
I’m going to be very conscious of doing this with a particular client this week while I talk to her. I’m going to ask her about her pain points and probably even record her answers so that I can go back and listen to the words she uses in order to put together a really strong solution for her.
What about you?
Do you have someone in mind who can open up a new area for you by giving you the words you need to address that audience?
Tell me about it!