As you develop new ideas for how your customers could use your products and services, you need to learn to get your message across to your customers.
In spreading this message, you should plan to be effective (saying the right things) and efficient (not wasting your effort or your customer's time). You also need to be aware of all the different channels by which you contact your market.
How clear is your message?
In presenting your idea,
- Make your message stick to the point.
- Choose simple words and metaphors rather than trying to impress with big words or flowery phrases.
- Define what responses you expect from your audience and work to achieve them.
- Rework your presentation until you are concise.
- focus on the person replying;
- listen with your eyes and ears;
- then paraphrase back to them what you heard to check your understanding and
- help them clarify what changes they feel you should make.
When you have a polished message that is ready for presentation, controlling 'message inconsistency' becomes important whether you run a small or a big firm. Obviously this is easier if you are a sole trader or if you employ one spokesperson. With a bigger company, you will probably assign different people to talk to suppliers and customers.
You should encourage all your spokespeople to practice together in giving a consistent message without deviation. Then as they talk to your market, get them to feedback their experiences to each other. This has the effect of helping everyone to buy into your pitch and surfacing any issues with the message you want presented.
Who faces your market?
Besides your official spokesperson, you should remember that other staff often have 'public facing' roles that arise dynamically:
- Your credit controller does a bit of Customer Liaison when faced with a client angry about an invoice.
- Your office supervisor becomes part of Personnel when listening to an upset temp.
- Your receptionist fronts your Media Relations when taking an impromptu call from a journalist.
Adrian Pepper coaches people through business and personal difficulties, helping companies figure out what to do, how to move forward and what to get organised. You can contact him through Help4You Ltd, through his website at http://www.help4you.ltd.uk or by phone +44-7773-380133. At http://feeds.feedburner.com/help4you, you can listen to his podcast for small businesses.