I issue frequent blogs about HOW TO gain business – that is, after all, my business as a data broker – helping other businesses to grow.
This week, I experienced something that inspired me to create my blog around HOW NOT TO gain business, in the hope you ensure you avoid similar flippant linguistic mishaps!
After a recent unfortunate set of circumstance (which may in itself become the topic of a future blog!), I was forced to find a new supplier for my business. I undertook the requisite task of sourcing three or four alternatives via my business directory, before I embarked upon calling them to arrange meetings.
When calling one such firm, after the initial greeting, I stated my requirements in order that I could be passed to an appropriate person. The person on the other end of the phone asked “are you just a small business”.
I actually said “Just?” down the phone, at which point, the person clearly gathered my disdain at the comment and adjusted quickly to say “I’ll put you through to…..”
Too late!! Damage done!! I hung up.
To me, that one four letter word was, indeed, a four letter word. Data Bubble is not just a small business, it is a small business. Is Ronaldo just a footballer, or Richard Branson just an entrepreneur? I came away from that call feeling as though my business was unimportant to that firm, hence that firm will not get my business.
Now it may be that what was said, was said with no intention of making me feel that way, I understand that. It was, after all, only one word and, most likely, said off the cuff. Nevertheless, flippant or otherwise, it did, and it cost that firm any chance of gaining my business. Fact is in exactly the same way messrs Ronaldo and Branson have worked hard at their respective trades, I too have worked hard at mine and there is no way it is just anything!
This spurred me into thinking what other words ought to be carefully considered and possibly avoided altogether when communicating in business. Words such as obviously and clearly (what’s obvious / clear to you might not be to someone else), actually (quite condescending in certain circumstances) and with respect (I find that more often than not, there is anything but respect in this saying!) are definite ones to use sparingly, shall we say!
It’s doubtless there are many others out there, many I dare say used widely in everyday life. I dare say it’s not until you stop and think or, as in this instance, something hits you like a sledgehammer, that you come to realise how language can potentially turn people away from your business.
So there you go – think carefully about what you say to others as you don’t want to turn them off, do you? Nobody is just a supplier or just a cleaner, nothing is obviously incorrect ……. and when it comes to using the correct language, I find being spoken to with courtesy does actually go a long way!!!
On a good note, I have since found my perfect supplier and at a preferable rate from the one before!!
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