Often we small business owners are scared of sounding amateurish, and so we shoot for professional-sounding business names and language to bump up our image. This was particularly common in the recent past, but you still see it happening now. John’s Pipes might become Queensland Water Transport Solutions, and rather than offer business advice, you provide Integrated Business Solutions.
The problem is, all this does is makes your business sound vague and inaccessible. So I propose it’s time to make your business more likeable by sounding like a human being again.
Try using language that you actually use
In your marketing communications, pretend you’re talking to someone at a party, and that you really want them to understand what your company does. Keep this in mind for your business website copy, emails, and when you answer the phone.
I just grabbed this from a major car brand’s website:
“[Company XYZ] is an in-house specialist service combining creative talent and leading-edge technology to evolve automotive design solutions that display flexibility, excitement, value, leadership and passion.”
WTF? It doesn’t even mention cars!
Can you imagine if this was someone at a party describing to you what they do? You’d be thinking, “I don’t know what this guy does but he sounds like a douche.” Do you want people reacting this way to your business?
Want more articles like this? Check out the communication skills section.
Small businesses continue to mirror this kind of gobbledygook, because it sounds “professional”. But here’s why it doesn’t work.
1. People don’t trust big companies like they used to.
2. People don’t have time to decipher your geekified business description (nobody ever needed or wanted a “business solution” or an “integrated business system”). Tell them what you can actually do for them!
3. People nowadays have a well-developed bullsh*t meter.
Sounding more like a human being will help improve your credibility (and sales). This also applies to imagery – using real photos of your business and staff on your website will give you a big credibility advantage over any competitors relying on stock images.
In the meantime, if I see you advertising your coffee mugs as “ergonomically designed drinking solutions”, look out!
Where do you stand on sounding professional versus sounding human?