The language of sales is one of engagement, interaction and fulfillment. There are plenty of business buzzwords you've likely heard that will convince you you're operating at peak efficiency and that your business model is one centered on customer satisfaction.
Words are the tools of communication and, like practically every other tool, their effectiveness depends on using them properly
It's good you're so convinced of your successful methods, but what about your customers? Are they hearing what they want (and need) to hear from you and do they feel enthused about doing business with you? You might speak fluent business-ese, but are you also speaking the language of customer-ese? Here are some key words your customers want to hear and the context in which they hope you'll be saying them.
Words excite shoppers
Words are the tools of communication and, like practically every other tool, their effectiveness depends on using them properly.
Words can excite, encourage, inspire and entertain. It just depends on which ones you choose and, most important, why you choose them. This goes to the heart of communication: What are your intentions and what are you trying to achieve?
When it comes to doing good business, you need to use word-tools with integrity and sincerity. We're all suspicious of words that promise too much. We avoid that at all costs and immediately distrust any other words we might hear from that dubious source.
Therefore, as you consider the following 10 words your customers want to hear, remember that they also want to—and need to—believe you and know that you believe in what you're saying. It's the core of your communicative relationship with your customers (and it's why word No. 9 is so important).
And, so, in somewhat of a ranked order, here are the words customers are most eager to hear when doing business with you.
The magic words
- You: First and foremost, it's all about the customer. Make the message clear that you're here for them, making their experience more personal while also making everything seem tailor-made just for them. If you make them feel like they're the only customer who matters… well, who doesn't want to hear that?
- Save: Whether it's money, time or trouble, your customers want to hear that you can make their experience fruitful, not only in what they'll get, but in what they'll be able to save for themselves.
Satisfaction: This is an important word to put in front of customers, but you have to mean it
- Free: This has been the age-old attraction for consumers and they're always looking to get something worthwhile for nothing whenever possible. If you offer free shipping (on qualifying orders), free services or free information, let them know.
- Easy: Who likes hassles, or has patience for cumbersome or confusing processes? Certainly not your customers, who want to hear they can shop, compare and save with you without enduring a convoluted experience.
- Welcome: Friendliness is what attracts customers. They want to feel like the red carpet has been rolled out for them. Welcome them to your business, welcome them to look around and welcome them to ask any questions they might have.
- Satisfaction: This can be a barbed word. Customers can be wary, having heard before that satisfaction is guaranteed, only to be left disappointed in the end. This is an important word to put in front of customers, but you have to mean it. Go the extra length to explain exactly what you believe "satisfaction" means when you set out to please and delight your customers. Tantamount to this matter is that you must understand that only your customers can determine if what you've delivered is to their satisfaction; the satisfaction is theirs, after all.
- Service: Along with satisfaction comes service, an important word that demonstrates you know the product your customer purchased is only one part of his or her shopping experience. How you manage the purchase, field his or her questions, and remain available to help afterward, will become testament to your understanding of this important word.
- Secure: No matter where your customers are shopping, they want to be assured that it will be a safe experience. They want their personal data kept secure and their transactional data locked up tight. Be sure your process will provide these levels of security (using proven tools and methods), then tell your customers they can shop with peace of mind.
The goal you're aiming for, and the foundation for a lasting customer relationship, is trust
- Trust: The goal you're aiming for, and the foundation for a lasting customer relationship, is trust. When you've said, demonstrated and upheld the promises of the previous words, you will have exemplified your commitment to your customers such that they can believe it when you say, "Our goal is to gain your trust with every transaction."
- Thank you: OK, so this last one is really two words, but it's one big statement that can never be said enough. Tell your customers how important they are to you by thanking them every time they visit and purchase. While you might wonder if "thank you" has been said so often that it no longer means as much as it once did, know that your customers want to be told how important their business is to you.
It's true that words are just words until they're put into action. It's the way in which you say what customers want to hear and then act to ensure what you say is what you'll do that makes the difference. Words by themselves can be suspect, but actions and results speak loudest of all.
Consider these 10 words customers want to hear as you do business each day and, if you uphold what you say, you'll probably hear your customers say words you'll love to hear, like: "Thanks! I'll be sure to shop with you again."
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Dennis L. Prince has been analyzing and advocating the e-commerce sector since 1996. He has published more than 12 books on the subject, including How to Sell Anything on eBay…and Make a Fortune, second edition (McGraw-Hill, 2006) and How to Make Money with MySpace (McGraw-Hill, 2008). His insight is actively sought within online, magazine, television and radio venues.
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