Making Money

27
Oct

5 RULES FOR EFFECTIVE CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS

By Eyitayo Ogunyemi

Has it happened that you intended to communicate a point but your client interpreted your message wrongly? This usually happens when written business communications are vague, morose and without a sense of simplicity. The end result, more often than not, is that potential clients “move on” to the next service provider. To take your business to a bigger level, you must write with clarity in such a way that your potential clients easily get your point. When you achieve this, your clients become happy to engage you, because they understand your terms and their own obligations. Below are five hints to write to win both existing and potential clients:
1. See your words as PRECIOUS GEMS, you won’t give them out carelessly, so write what you mean and mean what you write.

2. Prefer the positive expressions to the negative expressions. I like the way Deborah S. Bosley gives the picture of how our brain reacts to words we read in her article Positive language makes our brains happier
Your selling point may be connected to the use of certain negative words (drug industries for example capitalises on the use of negative words and then tell potential clients how their drugs cure those negative vices), one of the solutions in such instance is to use as few negative words as is possible.
Another arm of this lesson is to avoid using double negatives because they make the readers engage in “mental gymnastics”. See for instance the following statement:
“You may not disengage from the terms of this Agreement unless….”
The challenge with the above example is that, like the rule in mathematics, two negatives make a positive, so where you have “not” as the first negative and “dis” (from the word “disengage”) as the second negative, you have a positive statement which will communicate a wrong intention. It could have therefore been put this way:
“You may disengage from the terms of this Agreement if…”
To conclude on this, greater chances are that when you write in the positive sense, you will use fewer words.
3. Your choice of words should be determined by your likely readership. For instance, your colleagues will probably not patronise your business because they are your competitors, so why write as if you are addressing a colleague?
Potential clients easily get worn out trying to know what you mean when you use technical words (which only your colleagues are licensed to understand). What you must therefore do, is to put the technical words in simple contexts.
One last note- if you must use technical words, make sure that you create a portion to interpret those words in the plain English sense. If you are preparing an online article, link those tech words to other sites where they are exhaustively interpreted.

4. Avoid the repetition game. Many people do this because they are afraid that they have not been heard. For whatever reasons, the thing about repeating yourself is that you become boring.
Here is an example from my archive:
“ON no ground whatsoever or howsoever shall we be liable….”
You will notice that one of “howsoever” or “whatsoever” could have been sufficient, or a more simple word could have fit in perfectly.

5. Engage your clients in the active voice:
“Active voice” is when the subject of a sentence performs the action in the verb, while “passive voice” is when the subject has the action performed on it.
In elementary school, we were taught that when the passive voice is used, it means something is being done for the actor, but active voice puts the actor in charge. When you apply that explanation to your business, you will realise that passive written expressions make you look frail, while active expressions give a sense to your clients that you are in charge.
For example:
You don’t say: “The account will be audited by us”
You should say: “We will audit the account”
Communicating in the active sense helps you to be clear on your thoughts and also clear on who should do what, and what is to be done.
CONCLUSION:
Investing time to communicate to your clients with clarity and simplicity is an act that should be taken serious when preparing your marketing strategies. The Businessperson that engages his/her clients with simple written expressions has a good chance to have the most clients (observe the trend for instance in Insurance companies). The days are gone therefore, when it is assumed that the black man appreciates the content of a book by its cover.

20
Jul

Agribusiness Opportunities in Nigeria: Why You Don’t Have to Fail

Culled from AfricanFarmer Mogaji’s presentation at Covenant Capital Seminar titled ‘The Untapped Agricultural Potential of Nigeria’

Looking at the history and development of agriculture in Nigeria, it is not a coincidence that virtually all our past Presidents and Heads of State had passion for agriculture; this is not surprising as the state of oil sector in our economy was never so encouraging. With that understanding, you may agree that it is high time we went back to the drawing board to explore the gains of agriculture in order to fix our crawling economy.

We need to work together to fix our economy, but, how do we fix it? Agriculture is the way to fix it, and if your interest is already being aroused, below are some “food for thought” in Agriculture that may stimulate business idea(s) for you in your bid to make a business opportunity out of agriculture:

  1. Prohibited items: Do you know that Nigeria imports about One Hundred and Fifty Billion U.S. Dollar worth of rice every year?

It may interest you to also know that the Federal Government has made a drastic move to stop rice importation by putting in place measures which will give the local rice farmers opportunity to develop rice production in the country, so what do you intend to make of that?

  1. Untapped land opportunities: Are you aware that the river basin development project is in every State and offers the opportunity of access to several untapped land? Accessing this is not difficult as people think it is. All you need to do is to go to the Ministry of Agriculture and ask for the Department for the River Basin Project, they will guide you on how to access the lands. Most of these lands have irrigation facility that allows you to wet your crops in and out of the season, that is, wet and dry seasons. This benefit from the government has continued to be untapped because people are not aware of it. Some of the irrigation projects are found in Iseyin, Oyo State, and what more? Over seven hundred thousand acres of land have not been used by anybody! In Sepete, Saki local government, Oyo State, there are over three hundred hectares of land too there lying fallow and waiting for you to leverage on. The government also has irrigated lands in Jigawa State, Kwara State and so on that are waiting for you to leverage on.
  2. Untapped crops opportunities: There are many of them, but here are few among the list:                              a. Corn: Do you know that corn is one the untapped crops in Nigeria? Yes, it is true that corn is usually scarce between November and March, but do you know that the opportunity in corn lies in that very fact? Are you aware that with the help of irrigation which is readily available on government lands, this problem can be solved and you can produce corn all year round? Here is another food for thought: over sixty trailers loaded with corns supply Ketu market on daily basis for six months, yet supply is always lower than demand!

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