My six-year-old son knows that he needs to bring home his homework everyday, but that doesn’t mean he actually remembers to do it. In fact, he forgets so often that my wife and I devised a little trick for him to remember what he needs to bring home everyday. We taught him to associate the five things he needs to bring home each day, with the five fingers on his hand. Now my son does not need to remember five things, he only needs to remember to go through his “five finger checklist” at the end of every day.
This works for adults too, if we are trying to remember what to bring home from the office. Unfortunately, it does not work when we want other people to remember things about us, our business, or our products. We simply do not have the luxury of forcing our public to remember the things we want them to know. Sure, we may spend hours face-to-face with a person, outlining specific items of interest, trying to make ourselves memorable, and saying all the right things, but at the end of the day, will they actually remember who we are or what we told them?
The answer is a resounding… maybe. Our customers have difficulty remembering things for the same reason that we have trouble remembering things. We are bombarded with clutter. Everywhere we look, we are surrounded by clutter. When we open our email, we see clutter. When we check our voicemail, we hear clutter. When we check our stack of mail, we see clutter.
Clutter is a major obstacle to overcome in order to be heard, but we want more than to just be heard; we want to be understood. There is a big difference between being heard and being understood. I may hear the words you are saying, but I may not have that “light bulb moment” when I realize exactly how much I would benefit from what you are presenting me with.
To fully understand this light-bulb-moment of defining clarity, take a moment and think like a regular person, as opposed to a business person. Picture all of things in your life that you would categorize as clutter, step back, and ask yourself what you interact with that you would not consider clutter.
For some, sending a good-old-fashioned handwritten message is the easiest way to break through the clutter. If personalized correspondence is not your cup of tea, find something personal, something from the heart, and something that cannot be ignored. This is your delivery mechanism. With a delivery vehicle chosen, the next step is to figure out what message you are delivering. Break your message into easy-to-remember chunks; create your customers five-finger-checklist. Face it, people really do not care to hear all about your stuff. However, when you take the time to share one thing at a time and deliver it in a way that breaks through the clutter, your customers hear you, understand you, and appreciate you. Yes, that means the simplicity of your correspondence must be combined with an equally simple message and delivered slowly over time. Trying to say it all at once is like trying to take a drink from a fire hose. Slow it down, break it up, and remember there is a lot of value in simply saying “thank you.”
The goal is simple. At the moment the customer is going to make a decision to buy something, you want to be the person they think of first. You want that top-of-mind awareness that will prompt the customer to call you the moment they have a need for your product or service. No matter which clutter-free method of delivering your message you choose, you will find yourself being more than just heard; you will find yourself being truly understood, one finger at a time.
For five different messages to use in your correspondence go to www.boltfromtheblue.com and enter the word CORRESPONDENCE in the blue print box.