You Can’t Sell If You Can’t Communicate

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Are you communicating with your audience? Do they understand your message?

If your answer was “no” to both of the questions above, then your public relations campaign is finished before it starts. You can’t sell to your prospective clients if you aren’t communicating with them.

In a humorous twist on the famous (and still great) old Abbott and Costello skit, blogger Mike Schaffer explains how to avoid miscommunication.

Schaffer also identified three good steps to avoid miscommunicating with your customers:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Put yourself in their shoes
  3. Be complete

Schaffer’s advice is definitely on target. I would add the following three steps:

  1. Don’t talk so much. This is a huge mistake that I see many PRs making online and elsewhere. They do all the talking (tweeting, posting, etc) and leave no opportunity for their audience to provide feedback. Communication goes two ways. If you’re doing all the talking, there’s a good chance that communication isn’t happening.
  2. Listen. Once you stop doing all the talking, start to listen. Read the comments on your blog posts. Look at how they are responding to your tweets. Is your audience getting the message? Or, are the confused or even upset by what you are trying to communicate to them?
  3. Measure results. Whenever a business engages in any activity, they should also implement a means of measuring the success of that activity. Whether your message is being communicated through social media, a traditional advertising campaign, or by some other means–there should be a measurement mechanism in place.

It’s easy to conduct a one-sided “conversation”–one in which you (the agency or company) is the only real participant. But, to be truly effective a PR campaign must have both a messenger and recipients of the message–those who understand the message that you are trying to convey.

We have more tools and better tools than ever before for reaching customers and prospective customers. To be effective, though, those tools must be used with the principles of good communication in mind.

Are your social media efforts, your advertising campaigns, and your blogging efforts really reaching your intended audience? Are you actually communicating, or just going through the motions?

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