One super important, but often overlooked, part of client attraction is learning how to speak the language of your potential clients. Using your client communication skills will go so far when you’re trying to make a connection with people in that market.
Being intentional with the language that you use when speaking with your potential clients is a great strategic way to get inside their head, make a connection with them, and build a relationship. The most important part of potential client communication is being able to purposefully (but not awkwardly or obviously) being able to speak and act in the same ways they do.
When making friends, we often seek out people who are similar to us or we have something in common with. Therefore, the more you appear or act similar to your potential clients, the more likely they are to befriend, like, and ultimately trust you (that’s the Path to Purchase I talk about in my Cient Attraction Formula!).
How to Boost Your Potential Client Communication Skills
What Are Client Communication Skills?
One of the most important client communication skills is being able to speak their language. And when I say this, I’m basically just referring to the different types of words you use, your vocabulary, certain phrases, etc.
Keep in mind that this is something you’ll want to use in a one-on-one conversation with someone who’s a potential client, as well as in other ways. Think social media, in a DM, on a discovery call, or within your blog posts.
Every time there are words involved in what you’re doing, it’s a chance for you to knock it out of the park with your client communication.
Why Mastering Your Potential Client Communication is So Important
Every piece of content that you put out has the potential to attract a certain type of person. Depending on how you formulate your sentences and the terminology you use, your content can be a really powerful tool to attract your clients and connect with them on a personal, almost subconscious, level.
Especially in comparison to other people in your niche who are trying to attract the same people. If you have a better grasp of your target market’s language, you have a huge leg up.
Back when I first taught about the language of your target market in a Facebook Live I did, I had reached out in my free Facebook Group Grow Your Biz Like Woah to find someone who has a really specific market they are trying to attract. You can use client communication skills with any target market, but this example is very niche. This allows me to easily show you exactly what I’m talking about. Plus, the more specific and niched your audience is, the easier it is to figure them out.
The target market I chose to focus on in this training was indie musicians. (This is the target market of one of my students, Michelle Hanks.) It’s really a perfect example, because she is trying to reach a super targeted group of people. That makes it easier to discover their language, and also makes your client communication more likely to be effective.
The more specific your niche is, the more immediately obvious it’s going to be that you’re a part of their community when you’re using that language. For example, in the digital marketing world, a great niche word is “funnel.” Most people you meet in your day-to-day life are not using that word (in the context of marketing). So the second someone drops the F-bomb (not that F-bomb!), you know that they’re a part of your community and you feel a kinship with them.
How to Improve Your Client Communication Skills
The homework here for you is to do some research on your own target market. Specifically, you’ll want to try and discover the language, phrases, and specific key terms that are used by this market. The key is that you want to find stuff that is not necessarily a common part of regular real-world language.
These words or phrases don’t have to be things you’ve never heard of before. The goal isn’t to discover brand new words. What you want to do is try to find the specific vocabulary that is used in your market that is very particular and unique to that niche (i.e. something you wouldn’t hear in a normal conversation with just anybody).
I think indie musicians is a really good example for this because, while I personally love music and listen to it all the time, I really don’t know anything about the music niche coming at it from a service provider’s point of view.
Do a Google Search
The very first thing I started with when doing this research was going straight to Google. I wasn’t even really sure what to search. I ended up choosing something I thought a beginner in this niche might search. And that was “how to start an indie band.”
I found some articles on Guardian, I found a Wiki site about it, I found an article on Thought Catalog, and I found an article on this site called Medal Method. I just kind of skimmed over all of those articles and made a list of words used that struck me as something that you don’t normally hear in everyday conversation.
Here are some examples I found:
- Sound engineer
- Press agent
- PRS (I don’t even know what that is)
- SXSW (I don’t know what that is either)
- Click track (no idea)
- Multitrack recording
- Jam track
- Booking agent
Keep Track of Your Research
That’s a long list of words, right? And I found all of them in just 3-4 articles! So you can see how easy this actually is.
I was also surprised that some of these words I didn’t even know what they were. If you are trying to target a specific market, you probably wouldn’t come across words that you literally don’t even know what they mean. It’s normal that I didn’t know some of them, because I’m not starting a business in this niche. But who knows! Maybe you’ll learn some new words, too. This is a great opportunity to do some extra research.
Try to keep a running “dictionary” document (in your Google Docs or Evernote) of words like this. You don’t necessarily have to do this in one big session like I did, though. It’s actually a good idea to continue listening to your potential clients and add to your dictionary over time! The more that you interact with the people in your niche, the more key terms you’ll discover.
Refine Your Search
The next thing I went ahead and did was refine my search. When I started out with the Google search, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just searched “how to start an indie band” for literally no other reason besides that it was the first thing that popped in my head.
But once I’d done some preliminary research, I started to gain some knowledge. Then I was able to refine my research a bit.
One thing I realized early on is that coming at it from the perspective of Michelle — these people do not ever use the words “virtual assistant.” It became instantly clear to me that her job title was totally out of place in this niche. This could actually cause her to have trouble attracting and booking clients!
You basically don’t ever want to be in a position where you feel the need to explain what you do and what you offer. It should be abundantly clear when people meet you, talk to you, or visit your site.
So, the more that I dug into these articles, I realized that instead of using the term virtual assistant or something like that, this niche uses a lot of words like PR and publicity. And as I read on, I realized that a lot of work that a virtual assistant does, especially if you’re focused on the marketing side of things, would probably fall under one of those terms. And that’s what they’d be searching for — not a “virtual assistant.”
The next thing I searched was “indie band publicity.” I wanted to find out what a publicist even does! For example, what would be the common tasks that a musician or an indie band would look for from a service provider like a publicist?
Discover and Utilize Authority Sites
I was able to find some articles on The Atlantic, as well as some music-specific authority sites. (One was called The Music Connection and the other one was called DIY Musician).
Authority sites are basically blogs, but they are run by larger companies and they typically have a ton of articles. This was actually really helpful and gave me a lot of ideas! Especially as to what type of content an indie band might be interested in learning about.
Searching through authority sites is a great way to find inspiration for blog post topics and learn more about what your niche is interested in.
I was able to find those sites and I studied the topics that they frequently write about. A good way to do even more work on learning more about your audience’s language is looking in the comment sections of these authority sites and see what terms people are using there. This helps you get a good grasp of what terms people are using professionally (i.e. in the blog posts) and more casually (i.e. in the comments). Sometimes that can be really eye-opening! You don’t want to engage in a conversation with a potential client and sound like a fuddy-duddy or like you are parroting buzzwords to them. You want to sound exactly like they do!
Through all of this research, I found even more good words. I even found some names of common software/apps that people in this niche use. (Remember, your terms don’t just have to be vocab words. They could be programs, tools, popular influencers, events, historical info, etc.) Knowing about these popular apps is actually really important information as a service provider. You want to make sure that you’re aware of all the common tools and software used by your target market. This will help you seem more knowledgeable and like you are truly a part of that niche.
For example, these musicians use tools like Spotify, SoundCloud, SoundClick, BandCamp. Some of these I haven’t even heard of before!
There are definitely different software and tools used by each niche that are going to be totally unheard of by most people outside of that audience. So it’s really good to do research so that you can know about things like this. When doing your potential client communication, you’ll want to know about everything they will expect you to know about.
Creep on Your Competitors
Next, I went and looked at actual publicity companies in this niche.
This step is all about checking out your competitors. Especially competitors that are more advanced than you! This allows you to get a good idea of what your end goal might be, as well as the specific tactics people in this niche are using to attract clients. Since your competitors are likely more experienced than you (at least when you’re first starting out), you can get inspiration and learn from them.
Here’s a couple things to take note of:
- What services do they offer?
- What packages or service bundles do they have?
- How is their website organized?
- What is included in their offerings?
- What is their pricing like?
- Which types of offerings/packages/deals are most popular? (Compare between multiple competitors.)
- What are the most frequently offered services?
- How is their navigation bar set up?
- What types of blog posts do they have?
You’ll also want to do a little bit of an audit on their site and see what’s missing. What could they be doing better, and how could you out-perform them?
Taking it one step further, I next looked at the clients of these competitors. Most service providers have something like a roster of current clients, past clients, or a smattering of testimonials. Click around and check out these clients — look at their website, social media…anything you can find. What do they need help with? What is this company providing for them? How could they improve? What are they doing wrong?
Looking at these types of clients is actually sometimes even more helpful than doing research on general people in your niche. Because with these people, you know that they’ve hired someone to do x,y,z in the past. So they are at a place where they are ready and willing to hire someone to help them in your area of expertise, which means they are the exact types of clients you are trying to find for your own business. This also means that learning more about your competitors’ clients can help you judge whether or not someone is a good or bad prospective client in the future.
Analyzing Social Media
Social media is a great place to find even more of this unique language that I’m talking about.
Different places that you can look on social media for the language in these specific niches are:
- Facebook groups
- Twitter chats
- Social media profiles of people in your niche (all platforms)
- Instagram captions and comments
- Pinterest board titles
One tip I would give you is that, when you go to their Twitter, often you’re going to see the stuff that they are posting. But if you click over to the “tweets and replies” section of their profile, you’re going to see the individual conversations that they’re having with their audience. Just like in the comment sections of authority sites, that is going to be super helpful for you to see what language they are using in casual conversations.
Pinterest is great as well! I checked out the Pinterest boards from those authority sites I found and looked at their boards to get an idea of what they think their audience is interested in (so that I can get a good idea of what MY audience might be interested in). They had stuff like posters, vintage album covers, stories of bands getting signed, reviews of albums, reviews for music gear, music memes, interviews with artists, and even more. This was so eye-opening and a really great way to get not just more language, but a good picture of what your audience is interested in, which could be super helpful for coming up with conversation starters and things to talk about when doing your potential client communication.
How to Use Your Client Communication Skills Effectively
So I don’t leave you high and dry, let’s quickly go into how you can actually use all of this stuff. Now that you have your little client communication dictionary, let’s attract some clients!
I actually have a great blog post about this, written by guest blogger Lizzie Davy. She goes into a ton of detail about how to create content that your audience will go crazy for, and here is an excerpt:
“This tip seems so obvious, but a lot of bloggers and service providers overlook it. When I say language, I don’t mean English, or Spanish, or French. I’m talking about using the same words that your audience uses. When you’re in a conversation in real life, who do you gravitate towards the most — people who use the same lingo as you or people who use words you’d never use in a million years? I’m guessing the first option, right?! It’s the same online. By using the exact same words your audience uses you can create connections without having to try anything too complicated.”
So, basically what she is saying here is simply by using the words in your language dictionary in your blog posts, in your online conversations, and on your social media, your target audience is going to see that you understand them and they’re going to immediately connect with you.
Language is extremely powerful! And it’s such an overlooked client acquisition tool. It’s also really easy to use. Simply by introducing these words into your everyday conversations with people in your niche, you’ll automatically be giving off this knowledgeable, relatable vibe. They’ll immediately understand that you understand them and their niche. And that makes it a really effective way to attract clients, build relationships with them, and ultimately get them to book your services.