Today’s buyers have a problem and it’s getting worse.
Anytime and anywhere, people can find out anything about a product or service by devoting time to research it before they pull out their credit card. It’s a leap forward in consumer power… mostly.
Because anyone who’s ever done a Google search will know that what seems like a benefit can become a massive headache, for one simple reason.
For buyers, it’s a growing problem – yet for businesses, it’s an opportunity.
Too many choices, too little time
That quick and easy access to information is making it harder for buyers to make decisions. They’re putting off buying altogether because they feel overwhelmed and confused. They feel guilty about not knowing enough and anxious that they’ll make the wrong decision.
In an age when people are famously time-poor, they’re drowning in details.
You can help people find what they need
You know more than your customers about the product or service you provide. To them, you’re an expert even if you don’t feel like one. Just knowing a little bit more means you can help people wade through the information that’s standing between them and their ability to making a buying decision.
You already know what information is most pertinent to the business you’re in, so you can be streets ahead of the competition if you use that knowledge to cut out the waffle and just deliver the most useful, most helpful parts of it.
It starts with your website
Forget the buzzwords, jargon and smooth writing –it doesn’t tell people anything.
Your only goal should be to say clearly what you do and how it can help people. Explain everything and assume nothing (in journalism there’s a well-known warning that to assume is to make an ass of u and me). Don’t dumb it down but don’t force people to zip over to Dictionary.com to find out what you’re talking about.
Simplifying your language won’t diminish your credibility because only people who know their stuff can explain it simply. Think of Einstein. As a theoretical physicist and recognised genius, he could have spoken only in science terminology – like most of his peers. Instead, he explained things so ordinary thinkers could understand. Today at least a dozen of his quotes live on, long after his peers and their work has been forgotten.
Draw people to you
Taking on a leadership role in your industry can bring people to you, to make sense of what everyone else is talking about.
Write blog posts and articles that sift through the avalanche of information.
Weed out what’s untrue, irrelevant and distracting. Distill it down to the essentials.
Business author Dan Pink describes it as asking, “What’s the one percent?”. Find the minimum information people need to understand the topic and then add your two cents worth –what you know about this subject with your real life experiences. Put it into the words that your customers use, and give them examples. Here’s mine:
Chris Lema is an expert in a field that I find eye-glazingly daunting – WordPress. But I subscribe to his newsletter because he tells me in simple (not simplistic) language how to improve my website and digital communications. He doesn’t tell me how to use WordPress (I’d unsubscribe if he did) but he does help me use it as a tool to achieve my goals. He distills the latest into the most useful.
Stay helpful to stay ahead
As I was writing this, it seemed too obvious to be useful – of course, business owners explain what they do and how it helps in a clear and useful way, right?
I’ve read so many websites, articles and blogs that are more about showcasing the writer than helping customers. I’ve redone my site several times (and probably will again) because I get sucked into writing that looks shiny but doesn’t say anything. It takes discipline to keep asking: “Will people understand this? Am I actually being helpful or writing this for my ego?”
In the end, I try to remember that we can establish ourselves as the go-to in our field as long as our action goal is to help customers first. Unfortunately, it’s a rare approach.