by Erika Cannon
When communicating with your customers and prospects, do you talk about them, or do you talk about yourself?
Go back to the last email, or brochure, or letter that you sent to them. Do you ever say the word “you”? Or do you just talk about your company?
In sales and customer communications, we often get lost in talking about ourselves and our services – which makes sense because, after all, we’re selling what we do, or working on our product with a client. Put yourself on the other end of your own sales pitch or client call (stay with me here) and you may find yourself uninterested in what you have to say about yourself. After all, people inherently want to talk about themselves, and they want to hear how what you have to sell affects them, not how great you are, or what you do best.
When Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an open letter in February defending Apple’s decision to not unlock the iPhone of a suspected terrorist at the behest of the FBI, he used the words “you” and “your” to help iPhone owners understand and identify with the gravity of the situation (italics my own):
“If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.”
Your iPhone? That’s ME! That affects ME! Tim Cook drew ME into the issue, and told ME how it’s going to affect ME. He didn’t talk about iPhone customers, iPhone owners, or iPhone users. He talked about ME.
By talking directly to his customers through the use of the words you and your, he engaged iPhone owners (ME, YOU) and influenced public and media opinion to see his side of the argument.
The next time you write an email, or make a phone call, think about who you are talking to, and keep in mind what they want to talk about.
If Tim Cook can do it, can’t you?