RAB Insights

RAB Research Archive

Are you speaking your clients' language?

Is it just me, or have you been hearing more ads for language learning and language learning apps lately? Maybe more global diversity means that knowing another language is no longer optional.

Have you ever been to a foreign country and asked for directions or tried to communicate with one of the locals when you don’t speak the language? It’s next to impossible. You smile, make hand gestures and for reasons I never understood, find yourself speaking slowly and loudly as though the person were hard of hearing. When you don’t speak the language, communicating and connecting is surface-level at best.

When you call a business to try and sell to them, do you know their language? I’m not talking Italian, Spanish or French; do you know the language of the business? Some refer to this as jargon. Every business has it. Talk to someone about "spots" and "traffic" who doesn’t sell radio and they will think you’re talking about something on your clothes or cars on the road. Say that to a "radio person," and there is an instant affinity.

Every business has a language, words, jargon or phrases that are specific to that business. If you don’t "speak that language," you may do better than you would in a foreign country, but you’ll never get to level three and four relationship levels until you learn the language of the business and industry you are calling.

One of my personal goals is to learn Spanish, but that will take some time. Learning the language of your clients, however, is relatively easy. Industry trade publications and industry websites are a great start. You don’t need to read them cover to cover. Just start with these four things:

Review the table of contents

Read the cover story

Review letters to the editor

Find the "industry news update" page

If you do those four things consistently, in a short period of time you will be well-versed in the language of your customer. As a bonus, you will be aware of the challenges of that industry, and more importantly, you will be privy to the solutions offered by industry experts. Imagine how having that kind of knowledge and being able to "speak the same language" as your client can help you better understand them and communicate your solutions.

If you feel like you’re not "connecting" with your clients as deeply as you could, try investing some time in learning their language. In my experience, you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Happy Friday!

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can all so connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development