Tips for Communicating with Clients, Customers, and Funding Sources

Oct 5 / RICHARD G. JONES, JR., PH.D.
Hello communication leaders!

This is the third blog post in a series we are doing over the next few weeks on how to communicate more effectively in business settings.  

Check out our previous posts in this series here: 1.Tips for Communicating with Executives and Supervisors & 2.Tips for Communicating with Colleagues and Employees 

This week, we are going to focus on speaking to clients, customers, and funding sources.  

Communication with Outside Stakeholders is Key for Any Business

Communication to outside stakeholders includes messages sent from service providers to people who are not employed by the organization but conduct business with or support it. 

These stakeholders include:
Clients
Customers
Funding sources
Communication to stakeholders may be informative or persuasive. When first starting a relationship with one of these stakeholders, the communication is likely to be persuasive in nature, trying to convince either a client to take services, a customer to buy a product, or a funding source to provide financing. Once a relationship is established, communication may take the form of more informative progress reports and again turn persuasive when it comes time to renegotiate or renew a contract or agreement.  

As with Other Types of Communication in Business Settings, Information Flow is Key

As with other types of workplace communication, information flow is important. Many people see a lack of information flow as a sign of trouble, so make sure to be consistent in your level of communication through progress reports or status briefings even if there isn’t a major development to report. Strategic ambiguity may be useful in some situations, but too much ambiguity also leads to suspicions that can damage a provider-client relationship. Make sure your nonverbal communication doesn’t contradict your verbal communication. 

How to Prepare a Presentation for Clients, Customers, or Funding Sources

When preparing for a presentation to clients, customers, or funding sources, start to establish a relationship before actually presenting.
This will help you understand what they want and need and will allow you to tailor your presentation to their needs.

These interactions also help establish rapport, which can increase your credibility. Many people making a proposal mistakenly focus on themselves or their product or service.
Focus instead on the needs of the client.

Listen closely to what they say and then explain their needs as you see them and how your product or service will satisfy those needs. Focus on the positive consequences or benefits that will result from initiating a business relationship with you. 

There is a persuasive speaking model called Monroe’s Motivated Sequence which can be useful to organize your thoughts.  
When using Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, a speaker’s message is designed to:
  • Get the audience’s attention 
  • Establish the existence of a need or problem 
  • Present a solution to fill the need 
  • Ask the audience to visualize positive results of adopting the solution 
  • Call the audience to action 
Use sophisticated and professional visual aids to help sell your idea, service, or product. You can use strategies from our earlier discussion of visual aids, but add a sales twist. Develop a “money slide” that gets the audience’s attention with compelling content that makes audience members want to reach for their pen to sign a check or a contract. 

Be Prepared to Adapt Your Presentation on the Spot and Focus On Your “Money Slide”

Proposals and pitches may be cut short, so imagine what you would do if you arrived to present and were told that you had to cut it down to one minute.  

If you were prepared, you could focus on your money slide.  
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Tips for an Effective “Money Slide”

  • The money slide could be the most important finding, a startling or compelling statistic, an instructive figure or chart, or some other combination of text and graphic that connects to the listener.  
  • Avoid the temptation to make a complicated money slide.  
  • The point isn’t to fit as much as you can onto one slide but to best communicate the most important idea or piece of information you have.  
  • A verbal version of the money slide is the elevator speech.  List Item 4
  • This is your sales pitch that captures the highlights of what you have to offer that can be delivered in a short time frame.  
  • We recommend developing a thirty-second, one-minute, and two-minute version of your elevator speech to have on standby at all times. 

We even offer custom one-on-one coaching to help you deliver winning versions of your elevator speech! Learn more about our one-on-one coaching HERE

We hope these tips help you in your day-to-day communication in business and professional settings. Let us know your thoughts! Connect with us via email (connectcla@communicationleaderacademy.com) or post a reply on social media.  

If you want to learn more about communicating and leading for success, check out our course HERE!

If you would like custom content or training/consulting for your team, let us know and we’ll be happy to help! Learn more about our consulting services HERE !

And, stay tuned for more blogs in this series that focus on how to communicate more effectively in business settings. 

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