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I received an email today from a client thanking me for my "very helpful commentary".

 

I'd spent invested 45 minutes answering his email (in detail) on a number of questions he had (you know who you are if you're reading this!).

 

It got me thinking.. so earlier this evening, I tweeted this:

"Web marketers need to remember that what's "basic" knowledge to us can seem "science fiction" to others. Assume = making an ass of you & me"

 

It was a note to remind myself as much as wanting to share my opinion. And it struck a nerve..

 

 

 

"100% agree. When talking to a noob, sometimes the most basic knowledge is completely new to them." ~ @strategyinventr

 

"Clients really rely upon us to communicate well." ~ @Bill_Slawski

 

"On some pitches I feel the need to 'educate' rather than 'listen'. It's a slippery slope." ~ @SEOcopy

 

"This is why we take pains to explain as much about SEO has possible. We have found informed clients become longer-standing clients by taking this approach" ~ @moxby_SummitWeb

 

Both @tonyxrandall and @dawnieando shared my sentiment too.

 

So for the SEO's, web marketers and consultants out there, be brutally honest (I have) with yourselves and answer this:

 

How often do we speak "geek" or waffle use jargon when discussing anything with our clients?

 

Jim Carrey, take it away..

 

 

More to the point, how often do we confuse or alienate a client (or a potential one) and close down communication channels due to our lack of empathy, because "we know the internetz" right?

 

How many times have we not been patient enough or not had the mental flexibility to really see the clients perspective and appreciate where they were coming from?

 

I'd say more than I think and probably a ton more than I'd want to admit..

 

Finding honest clients who say "you need to slow down, I have no idea" certainly offers a buffer for us, if we're fortunate to have clients like that.

 

But the overall responsibility, I believe, is ours. We need to speak in the clients language and make sure we understand them first, before we can help them understand us next.

 

Help me understand - please!

 

I think Lisa Schroeder's onto something, don't you?

 

No matter how good our offering is, no matter how technically advanced we can help them become, no matter how "future-proof" our solution is (I hate that term - for emphasis only), if the client doesn't understand and doesn't relate to us or what we're presenting, there is a HUGE disconnect. Worse case scenario? They won't stay a client (or a potential one).

 

So what can we all do about it?

 

Well, this post doesn't include 101 ideas off-the-bat - it can't due to the enormity and diversity of areas we cover.

 

Instead, I'll share a brilliant (and funny) video that describes the different personality types that we'll inevitably speak to / work with / live with / pitch to (you get the drift..) for the rest of our lives. Wow, sounds a long time doesn't it?

 

Did someone mention soft-skills and stepping into other peoples shoes?

 

 

Share your personal WTH moments and experiences in the comments below. I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback :)

 

Edit: @Linda Buquet kindly shared this post on Local Search Forum's Consultants Corner - more excellent comments and discussion! 

 

Edit 2: SEMrush also shared this post on their write-up of their "How to explain SEO to CEO's and Executives" #SEMrushchat