We never do anything like this. We grabbed a last minute deal, packed the family in the car and drove down to D.C. It took five hours to get there. The last five miles took over an hour. You know how frustrating that is after a long drive. We checked in and freshened up. All four of us felt famished. We decided to go eat. We picked the first nice looking restaurant.
As I approached the hostess, she caught my attention. She flashed a quick smile.
“I’ll be right back to process you in a minute.”
Did you catch that? She’ll be back to “process” us. Eek. What does that mean?
You can process me when I renew my license or check in the hospital for a surgery.
Maybe processing visitors to your restaurant is a D.C. thing? Does sounding formal attract more customers with money?
No Need For Formality
Here’s a tip for anyone focused on “formal” greetings. They feel fake. Stay away from it.
Welcome us. Don’t process us.
Here’s what the hostess could have said:
“Welcome. I’ll be right back to seat you in a minute.”
When you use formal words and phrases it sets the tone of a relationship.
Compare these alternatives. Think of how you would react to someone in each comparison.
- Don’t say we’ll process you soon. Say, we’ll take care of you soon.
- Don’t say greetings. Say hello.
- Don’t say conditions are not optimal to start work today. Say the rain is making the foundation too muddy to start work today.
Using formal words makes the relationship with your customer formal. Using that kind of language tells your customer she’s a number, not a person. That kind of emotional distance makes it easier for them to ditch you for the next great deal.
The Secret To Avoiding Formal Or Showy Talk
Sometimes we use this language to show we’re smart, creative or business-like. Sure, it may show you’re smart. Nobody cares. Customers value clarity over creativity unless a problem needs a creative solution. As for sounding business like, that’s a turnoff.
There’s an old saying we use in copywriting. Pretend the person you sell to is sitting across from you in a bar or coffee shop. You wouldn’t use any of those “showy” words with a friend. Avoid them with your prospects and customers. They’re people too.
Here’s the best part. You already know how to do this. Using natural language requires no skill or practice. Remember these basic truths.
- Your customers are human beings
- They prefer to be spoken and written to like human beings. Leave the pretentious words to the lawyers. They’re the only ones who like it.