It seems like every business owner, site text writer or anyone else communicating with others, while on a job, seem to have learned somewhere that informal approach works best and they should follow it any time.
The truth is, people are still people, regardless if they become your customers, employees or business partners. If you want to build closer relationships with the people to build your business, you'll learn how to stay personal with people you communicate with.
What is personal approach?
As defined on this blog, personal approach is treating the different person as equal to yourself, and talking freely, as if you were talking to a friend. Of course, it means polite talking as well.
While being very personal with everyone without knowing them may and will be awkward, still doing what you can to show your personality while doing business might help.
Apart from the intimate approach, personal, as in individual, approach also means being attentive, responsive, polite, helpful and such to others.
Why is personal approach better?
First of all, as the people you deal with are still people, they will trust another human. That's natural. So, if you are more or less personal, attentive, helpful and such, people will trust you naturally. This will help you build better relationships with them, no matter, whether you are building a long-lasting business partnership or acquiring a loyal customer for life.
Better relationships may mean better feedback about your product, more response to your requests and encouraged word of mouth. If you simply can get that while being yourself, there hardly can be an alternative.
Secondly, when people know you treat them as important, they will be able to communicate with you freely, letting you know what they need, what you can do about it and what not, because they know you will respond and actually do something about it. This will help you learn your customers/partners better, which, again, will improve your business.
Thirdly, being personal allows you to communicate freely, which, in turn, increases trust with the people, as they will see you are not hiding some formal mask.
When to be personal
As your customers and business partners are not actually your friends (yet), there is a difference on how far you can go. While you need to treat the people like real live people, you don't necessarily need to inform them of how your life goes, what you plan for dinner or what is the latest disease your dog has caught.
Also, when it comes to high management circles, while being casual and polite helps, it doesn't mean you can talk as freely as you would like to.
In general, a good rule of thumb would be to focus on communicating effectively and actually helping the other person, if there's any need to do so.
Not to mention, you need to avoid extreme examples of informality, as it will only annoy people.
The instances when you can be personal could easily be:
- your website: if you write in casual tone, while avoiding slang and typos, your text may be more readable
- emals: again, if people see a human in you through your writing, you have won half the battle
- marketing materials: personal approach and direct address as well as a sign that you care about your customers (and there's a live person behind the company) should make your customers more responsive
- internal communication: you can talk freely with your colleagues, and you may increase the efficiency of your work, as well as make some friends in the progress
- external communication: if you are selling or talking with high management, you need to remember that they are still customers of a sort, so being at least attentive and responsive should help
There are other moments, when you can stay yourself, but the principle remains: stay human and respond well to people: thus you'll build trust and increase the chances of your message being accepted well.
While it may be assumed that being informal is smart business, you can take one step further and remain human, while doing business. This will get you better response from your customers and business partners - if you don't go overboard with it, of course.