Non-personalised communication. How your lazy hurts your business

It's beyond my understanding how still today, in the era of full digitalisation and unlimited internet access, can some people use standardized templates or generic messaging with zero levels of personalisation. Either they are oblivious or pure lazy.


Forgive me, this will be a long one...


We know that personalised communication makes a huge difference, specifically, it increases ROI (return on investment) and raises customer's engagement and we don't even need to think hard to understand why.


Personalised communication is now the new normal


One-to-one communication is something customers have come to expect. They expect businesses to understand their needs and provide relevant information, product, service or solution and they won't bother to pay attention to a company that doesn't make any effort to communicate in a meaningful way.


Just think about our day for a moment. We are so used to receiving personalised recommendations relating to music, movies and tv shows, next holiday destination. The personalisation is no longer something we as users expect but demand. And rightly so, if I may say. With so much information freely available on the internet, it is foolish for businesses to shoot generic messages and expect to hear back from the person asking for more info about the product or let alone expecting directly a sale.


Generic impersonal messages are a big NO-NO


Just this week I have two examples of a pure lazy approach that costs the communicator dearly.

  1. Cold email sent to a well known high-end restaurant in Geneva pitching a new utensil

Quote


Hello,

I hope you and your loved ones are doing well, and that the restart of the activity is going well for you.

I am contacting you to present XXXX a new Swiss brand.

In the attached file you will find a short presentation about the range of products and their features: XXXXX

You can order XXX or XXX.

The other possibility is to order XXX an ideal XXX gift.

Looking forward to hearing back from you, I wish you a pleasant day.


As the restaurant owner, would you actually pay attention to this email? I don't think so. How many unwanted emails and pitches do you think they get on a daily basis?


This email indeed remained unanswered by the restaurant.


2. Direct message on Linkedin from a UK based business coach


Quote

Hi Alena, Thanks so much for accepting my request. I'm doing research and am looking to do 15 min interviews with purpose-driven women who are feeling stuck in a plateau in their work and who may be suffering from things like impostor syndrome etc. Does this resonate for you or do you happen to know anyone it might be relevant for? Many thanks, XXX


How do you think a message like that makes the person receiving it feel?


It irritates me. I don't know you, I don't trust you, why should I give you my time? The few things that went through my head the moment I read the message.


Would you be ok to walk up to a person on the street and asked them the same thing? What answer do you think you would get and why do you think it's different online?


So what do I recommend?


It always comes down to two precious commodities that are asked from people, time and money, and nobody gives away those for free. To increase the odds of you succeeding and getting what you want, you need to put the work in it.


Do your homework, don't be lazy, show some respect.

Re message 1


1. Name. Always use a name.

It is the first step of showing that they are not just another prospect to you but you are approaching them personally to make an offer. It took me exactly 2 seconds to google the names of the two owners of the restaurant.


2. Show clearly what's in 'it' for them.

Even though you might feel like you are the one offering, the reality is that you are the one asking for something. A sale, time, attention... you need to make a case about why they should give it to you. This can be a tricky one but definitely not impossible.


How?

Research the business, put yourself in the owner's shoes.

What would motivate them to get what you are offering? What will be their objections? What might help and trigger the transaction? Find where your offer meets the need or the want of the business that you are approaching.


In the above case, as B2B (business to business) we need to assume that their decisions are driven by their clients need. So we can reflect on those:


As a high-end restaurant, we can assume that their clients visit them to experience elegance, luxury, uniqueness, refined food, a full sensorial experience, which is exactly in line with what the pitched product represents.


We can then tailor the email highlighting those points to make sure we grab the attention and spark an interest with the owners.


3. Personalise your offer

If you sell different references of your product, like packs of x, or bulk, or a different size, don't be lazy putting them all into the offer file and expecting the person to do the job to understand what's the right reference for them to order. If you are approaching a restaurant, you expect them to order in a bulk. If you want to highlight the re-sell option for the packs, then write it clearly down, and showcase the products separately for a re-sale. This way you already project the business owner to how it will look once he has your products, he doesn't need to think about it.


Re message 2

I will just copy-paste how the conversation went here:


Hi Alena, Thanks so much for accepting my request. I'm doing research and am looking to do 15 min interviews with purpose-driven women who are feeling stuck in a plateau in their work and who may be suffering from things like impostor syndrome etc. Does this resonate for you or do you happen to know anyone it might be relevant for? Many thanks, XXX


Me: I think that about 80% of female entrepreneurs feel that way on regular basis. What would be the purpose of the interview? (Read, I don't trust you but I'm still nice and want to give you the benefit of doubt)


Coach: HI Alena, Thanks for your message. I thought so too... but I'm having a tough time finding people to speak to. It's for my own research so will not be shared with anyone else.


Me: It might help to explain the purpose. People might think its just another pitch call in disguise (Read: I feel like you are not being transparent with me and will want to sell me stuff)


Coach: I do say they are just interviews but I can understand people's scepticism


Me (thinking 'you do?' because you still did not actually answer my question): In my experience, people won't give you their time unless they understand what are you getting out of it or what do they get out of it. Adding a few words like .. for the purpose of research for my next book // developing my new product might make a big difference. But that's just my 2c


Coach: I will definitely add that. Thanks so much for your help, Alena.


Did I get on that call with her? No. Did I forward her request? No.


I am the first one to support other entrepreneurs, especially women. I fill out their research forms, I regularly offer free consultations and I use my own network to help where I can. I WOULD do the call with her AND share her request with my network had she reassured me about her intentions, but she left me doubtful.


She failed to clear my objections even after I gave her all the hints, which still makes me believe that this was simply a fishing mission for a call where she will up-sell her coaching program.


My recommendation? Simple.

xx

Hi Alena, I see that you are a fellow entrepreneur and consultant (showing you are interested in me, researched me, you know what I do) and I am sure that time to time you struggle with xxx (you show understanding and empathy)..... I am currently looking to interview women facing this issue and I was wondering if it applies to you and if you could dedicate me some time or maybe if you know someone who could?


I am conducting these interviews for the purpose of (you are transparent).... it will take only 15min of your time and I would greatly appreciate your help on this (clearly there is nothing in it for me but I feel good about helping a fellow entrepreneur.)


Thank you

xx


I feel like little changes can make a huge difference!


Conclusion


I hope the two examples illustrate how important personalisation is already at the first step of your selling process - grabbing attention. It takes only a few seconds for a person to dismiss your message and move on to the next one in their inbox.


Here are few useful links on the subject

https://dma.org.uk/article/why-should-you-personalise-customer-communications

https://www.textanywhere.com/content-hub/blog/retail/the-role-of-personalisation-in-customer-communication/


Let me know if you have any questions or troubles with personalising your communication, I can give you some pointers and write a separate post about it.

Happy messaging,

Alena



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