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How to show people you "give a sh*t"
👉 it matters a lot
Is it really Wednesday? It must be my age but up until about 10am I still thought it was Tuesday.
Denise highlighted there’s something beyond understanding and empathising. In her words (and also the words of her clients):
Only last week we had two clients renew who said that they like working with us because we understand the market, make it simple and actually give a ‘sh*t’ about them and their business. Their words not mine!
That’s a great point, isn’t it?
Who wants to work with people who don’t care about us or aren’t on our side?
Not me. Not for anything important.
We want to work with people who give a sh*t about us.
When you work in a service business your clients will pick up whether you really care about them and their interests automatically through what you do and the way you interact with them. The way you listen. The way you go the extra mile. The way you recommend others when you’re not the right person for this job.
A whole bunch of experiential things.
But how do you show people you give a sh*t before you actually work with them? How do you get across that you genuinely care in your emails?
It starts - I think - with understanding what their issues really are. It shows you’ve taken the time to find out and think about them.
The more on-point your emails are the more they’ll get that impression that you’re talking to them, not shouting out to the faceless masses.
And if you’ve faced similar challenges to them, talk about it. Share your relevant mistakes and how you overcame them.
If you’ve been in similar situations to your readers and fought hard to get through, they’ll know you’ll be on their side fighting the same issues themselves.
Some of it, I think, is in the way you write.
I was impressed with the business school professor who seemed to know everything about marketing when I did my MBA. But the advice I got in informal chats with my fellow students told me they cared.
The language they used was different. They talked with me rather than at me. Their words seemed designed to help rather than teach.
(And to be fair to the Prof, he might have sounded more like he cared had I chatted to him informally too).
It‘s difficult to put into words to be honest, but I think it boils down to the fact that we talk informally to people who care about us. We tend to hear more formal language from people who don’t.
So if your emails sound casual and chatty rather than clever, I think readers picture you sitting in a coffee shop chin-wagging with them, or across a desk, or in a bar. Just like people who care do.
If your emails are more formal, or more lecturey, they picture you speaking on stage or at the front of a class. Like people they don’t really know.
Sometimes it’s as simple as saying “we”.
I know the marketing textbooks say to use “you” not “I” and certainly not “we”.
But marketing textbooks tend to be about ads. Saying “we” in an ad means your company and you. Saying “we” in context in an email means “you and me”. It puts us in the same boat.
Like when I said “We want to work with people who give a sh*t about us” earlier.
It brackets you and me together. With the same thoughts and desires.
And finally, some of it can be overt.
I’ll sometimes talk about how us small and solo businesses can beat big competitors.
Or how the odds are stacked against us but there are some advantages we can use because of our size.
Every now and then I’ll call out stereotypes. Consultants get a terrible press these days - and while the antics of big firms may often be reprehensible I can tell you no one worked harder, for longer hours or was more focused on helping their clients than the consultants I worked with.
And at the end of the day, I think the key may be to relax. To say a bit more of how you feel in your emails, not just something clever. To allow a bit more of yourself to seep through.
Because if you do genuinely care about your clients - and I assume you do - then it will seep through too.