Are you conveying the right message to your clients? Are you sure? Communication is so key in so many areas of our lives. I was picking my girlfriend up at the airport yesterday and said I’d meet her at baggage claim (at least, I’m pretty sure that’s what I said). After the luggage belt was emptied, I got a text that she was waiting for me upstairs curbside. A classic case of miscommunication, and we laughed it off. But when it happens to your business and your clients, it can have very real consequences. Take this email message I recently received from a new Business Development Manager from a well-known travel supplier.
My name is XXXXX, and I am the new BDM for XXXXXX. I want to set up a time to meet with you since we have not seen any recent bookings with your agency.
Are you still in business? If so, I will be in town later this month. Are you able to meet up then? I look forward to hearing from you and working with you.
Can you see the problem? Can you see what has irritated me as a customer?
- You only want to talk to me when I am not producing for you.
- And because they have not seen any recent bookings, the assumption is that I am out of business.
Lack of business could never be due to anything like a pandemic. Or perhaps an insufficient commission rate. Or a product that has not done well for my customers. Right? Immediately assume that I am out of business. After that introduction, do you think I am frothing at the mouth to give them my business? Not likely.
Words matter. And they can have lasting consequences. When you are communicating with your clients, make sure you:
- Are VERY clear with what you want or need from them
- Explain your role in the process
- Be clear on how to communicate with you (ie, emergency while traveling on the weekend, call an emergency number, not me, as I may not be available)
- Make sure all your marketing communications are accurate
- Disclose all fees, taxes, etc.
- Re-read everything. Twice!
You get the picture. No one likes surprises unless they come with cake and presents–make sure there are none for your clients!
When sending an email or leaving a message, ensure the message is clear and (as much as possible) cannot be misconstrued. I am a fan of closing out my emails or voicemails with, “I hope I am making sense, but if you have ANY questions or concerns, please call.”
As for that new BDM, I certainly hope they are not standing by waiting for a phone call-they did not leave a number on the email.