How to be heard, understood and actioned
You know what you do, right?
You know you make a great product, or offer an outstanding service. But do you sometimes feel like your target audience, the people you want to convert to customers, just don’t understand you, and how you can help them?
Does it sometimes feel like no matter how loud you shout, they don’t hear you? Maybe they don’t really understand what you can offer them? Or maybe they get it, but they just don’t act, and take that next step towards you.
If you do feel that way, you’re certainly not unique.
Most organisations share a common goal – to win more business. Yet without effective communication to their target audience, they consistently struggle to convert them to customers and generate that desired revenue.
So what is effective communication? How do we ensure our message helps us to win more business?
Effective communication has three components
1. Being Heard – because nobody buys from someone they can’t hear
2. Being Understood – because nobody buys something they don’t understand
3. Being Actioned – because nobody buys without taking action.
In this series of articles, I’ll be sharing my thoughts, observations and experience of helping clients address each of these components and break down the barriers that block effective communication.
Let’s start by looking at those barriers and just why it can be so hard to communicate effectively.
Why is it hard to be heard?
Well, put simply, it is because there is so much noise, competing for your client’s attention. There are over 1 billion websites in the world. We are exposed to around hundreds, or thousands, depending on which study you read, of branding messages per day. Some say as many as 5000.
I read recently the story of an advertising executive in the US who decided to test the 5000 theory, but he gave up before leaving home in the morning – he’d heard 14 ads on the radio before he opened his eyes, seen over 100 product labels in his bathroom and wardrobe and a further 200 in the kitchen and pantry over breakfast.
Why is it hard to be understood?
Ironically, it is sometimes because we know our own business so well that it is hard to communicate its value to others. We know it intimately from the inside and it is hard to translate that inside view to a meaning value proposition to those on the outside. I use the word translate deliberately, because there are two languages in business – ours and the customers.
When you travel in a foreign country, you might get by without speaking their language, but you’ll always be a tourist. But, if you can learn to speak the language, you have the chance to integrate, to make friends, built relationships and be understood. It’s the same in business – if we don’t speak the customer’s language, it is going to be very hard to be understood.
Why is it hard to be actioned?
Again, it is because of a mis-match in thinking. We think about customer action as the end goal – we want them to buy. But it’s unlikely they are going to see our message and move straight to the sale.
A good analogy is ‘love at first sight’ stories, where they guy/girl says they knew they had found their life partner the moment they met. Despite having this thunderbolt moment, most of them don’t actually propose on the spot. They may have the end goal in their mind from the beginning, but they realise that there are multiple steps on the path to building a successful relationship.
In business too, our target audience will often take a number of steps before they are ready to commit to us and unless we understand this, and build a plan with multiple steps, we’re going to find it hard to generate the action that ultimately leads to the sale.
In the next article, we’ll explore some of the ways to be heard.