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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

When your customers do not understand

What do you do when your customers do not understand what you are saying?

There will come a time in your business when a customer does not understand what you are trying to explain to them.

No matter what you say, they just won’t get it. And yet it is vitally important that they do get it.

Here is what you do . . .

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An optical illusion. Square A is exactly the same shade of grey as square B. See demonstration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This happened to me just recently when Bob the Jeweller, (name changed), contacted us to get a new website.

The conversation went something like this:

Bob: Can you build a new website for us please?
Me: Sure, let’s get together and discuss what you need, etc.
Bob: What do you suggest that we do next?
Me: I suggest that we meet to discuss your requirements and what we can do for you.
Bob: We are very busy. Can’t you just build a website for us?
Me: I do need to get some information from you about your new website.
Bob: We just want you build a website for us. Can you just do it . . .

Clearly I wasn’t getting through to Bob.

A website should not be an “over-the-counter purchase”.

If it is, then you are not getting the best service, or the optimal website for your business.

How I Turned This Around

The solution for this and many other miscommunications is to use METAPHORS.

I knew that my dad was going to push me to do some stunts . . . he was pushing me to the very edge.
If we were to use a metaphor, my feet were sliding off the rocks of a cliff and I had my toes hanging over the edge.
~ Jaden Smith

A metaphor is a figure of speech that says that one situation or scenario is another different situation or scenario, so we can use fewer words.

It makes the reader or listener find the similarities between the situation or scenario you want then to understand and a situation or scenario that they may be more familiar with.

The English word metaphor is derived from the Greek word metapherin  which means “transfer”.

So you are transferring the meaning of one thing to another thing.

Simply put – use a story that matches with the situation you are talking about, but in a scenario that the client can understand.

Here is what I said to Bob.

OK, so I come to you and say, can you make a ring for me.

You say, sure, what type of ring, what stones if any do you want in it, what sort of design, etc?

But I say to you . . . No time to discuss that, can you just make me a ring!

Is it likely that I am going to end up with a ring that I like?

With this simple use of METAPHOR, Bob immediately understood why it was important that we spend some time talking about what he wanted to achieve in his website.

A web developer who is not willing to spend up to one hour to meet with you before committing to buying a website probably is not going to get the best result for you!

How could he/she get the best result for you, when they do not understand your needs and wants, the nature of your business, etc?

That’s why at Hotpink Websites, we always start off with a “get-to-know-you chat”.

By the way, using METAPHOR also works well in personal, non-business situations. Give it a go next time you get stuck in a conversation where you are not conveying your message clearly.


Well, that is quite simple really!


What should you do now?

  1. Learn how to use Metaphor in your business and personal life and watch for the rewards.

  2. Want some help or ideas? Just contact us at Hotpink Websites now.



Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.
~ Oprah Winfrey

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When your customers do not understand

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