Are you speaking your customers’ language?

posted on August 13th, 2009 by Jackie T. Ewing

Those of us that hail from the other side of the “pond” often wonder how it is that although Americans speak

Do you speak English?

Do you speak English?

English, we very often don’t understand what they are saying! I suppose the same could be said about Americans not understanding us Europeans either.

I’m from Ireland and I know my husband Jeff (who is American) has spent years deciphering what I am saying to mean entirely different things to what I am actually saying! We’ve had a lot of fun with our “misunderstandings” over the years.

In the vacation home rental industry, the one word that always causes pause is “villa”. To me, a villa is some grand structure with turrets, teeny windows and lots of airy rooms, overlooking a vineyard somewhere in France or Italy. To many others it is a Florida pool home. What does it mean to you? Or better yet, what does it mean to your clients?

When we are marketing our vacation rentals (or holiday villas as the case may be!) we have to remember that our clients may not understand our industry language and may be confused between the various terms that we use to describe our product. We need to find the language that helps us to connect with them.

Sidney Barrows in her book ‘Uncensored Sales Strategies‘ says;

“Customers need to hear or read words that resonate with them – words that make them feel you understand who they are, that you know what they need or want, and that lead them to believe you have or can do that which they are seeking.”

Author Sydney Barrows and Yours Truly, Jackie Ewing

Author Sydney Barrows and Yours Truly, Jackie Ewing


If you can connect with your customer at that level, it will be so much easier to make the sale. Knowing and using this language connection will help increase your conversions – turn phone call and email inquiries into reservations.

If we delve a little deeper into the specific words we use when dealing with our clients, we can identify some that will actually help us in that process of confirming the reservation or resolving an issue.

The following are also featured in Sidney Barrows’ book;

• Clients or people we serve, NOT customers
• Choose or take, NOT buy
• OK the paperwork, approve the (booking) form, NOT sign here
• More economical or better value, NOT cheaper
• Total amount or total investment, NOT total cost or total price
• Challenge or concern, NOT problem

Listen to what you or your staff are saying to your clients and how they are saying it; look at which words you are using in your brochures, sales letters, emails, web pages – it might be time to review and make some changes.

Think about how the words are perceived from your clients’ perspective, not yours.

Learn to speak the language that your clients’ best understand. It will result in better communication with them which builds relationships and ultimately will result in increased sales for your business.

Until next time,

Toodles, bye bye, see ya, ciao, later

Jackie