How Not to Scare Your Customers

“I don't know if anyone's ever told you that half the time this business comes down to, 'I don't like that guy” - Roger Sterling (MadMen)

A few weeks ago, I ran an in-house blogging workshop for a local firm of accountants.

One of the (many) issues we discussed was the idea of using blog posts to make people feel safe about working with the firm. 

This is a point I think a lot of people forget when they start blogging about their business.  They worry about SEO, they fuss over grammar, and they fret about how much useful information they should include. 

But they forget to make people feel relaxed and safe about the idea of working with them.

This is especially important if you work in an ‘intimidating’ profession, such as law, or the aforementioned accountancy.  Someone who has never been to see a solicitor before, or who’s as clueless about numbers as I am, might find it difficult to write that first email, or pick up the phone.

They might worry about being asked ‘simple’ questions they can’t answer, or bombarded with professional jargon that everybody in the world seems to know but them.

A few days later, I was sent some feedback from the workshop participants. 

One comment read, “It was relaxed, which ultimately encouraged discussion amongst the group. This was important for everyone, as it established early-doors that we were all on the same level in terms of inexperience. Subsequently everyone was very open and there were plenty of questions throughout the workshop being asked by the whole room.”

While I’d only thought about safety in the context of blogging before, this comment made me think that pretty much everything we do in business should aim to make people feel relaxed.

For example, when it comes to presentations, do you rely on PowerPoint slides, or do you actively encourage questions and open discussion? 

When someone comes to meet you for the first time, do you explain how your services work, and what they can expect from their time with you? 

When you’re at a networking event, do you share your elevator pitch immediately, or do you ask questions and listen?

If a customer gets in contact and asks for something at the last minute, do you get huffy, or do you politely explain that you’ll do it as soon as you can?

(I’ll admit, I had trouble with that last one when I started working for myself.  Whenever someone got in touch with a hair-raising deadline, it made me go all panicky and self-defensive.  But I’m not like that any more – honest).

The Importance of Safe Writing

Clearly, writing is a wonderful way of putting customers at their ease…before they’ve even had the chance to meet you in person.

Remember, most people will have already looked you up online before they get in contact for the first time.  They’ll have browsed your website and social media profiles, they’ll have read through your ‘About’ page, and they’ll have scrutinised your profile pictures.

(I know it isn’t just me who does all that!)

That’s why blogging really can give you a head start in business.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to share professional insights, personal snippets, and quirky facts…

…so that by the time your ideal customer decides to contact you, they can be ready with questions, safe in the knowledge that you’re on their wavelength.