simplicity, simplify, business communication, sales communication, persuasive communication

How Simplicity Helps You Sell Your Ideas, Products, and Services

Have you ever become frustrated searching a company’s website, trying to find an answer to a simple question or a phone number to call for help? Ever spent fifteen minutes sorting through automated phone menus, trying to get to a live person to get a simple problem corrected? You may have become convinced that these organizations were hiding from their customers!

All the while, organizations are actually spending more and more dollars to attract customers.


The Link Between Persuading Your Customers and Communicating Simplicity

Turning the complex into the simple makes persuading people and moving them to action much easier.

There’s a big difference between communicating simply and communicating simplicity. Writing “See Jane run” is communicating simply. Communicating simplicity involves an entirely different intention and thought process. Communicating simply enables people to read. Communicating simplicity helps people to decide, buy, work.


How Confused Are YOUR Customers?

Healthcare agencies and insurance companies, for example, continue to try to quantify the communication problem between physicians and their patients. Laura Landro, the former managing editor for the Wall Street Journal and also former author of the Journal’s Informed Patient column, has gathered intriguing statistics from several sources about “missed messages”: (Laura Landro, “The Talking Cure for Health Care: Improving the Ways Doctors Communicate with Their Patients Can Lead to Better Care—and Lower Costs,” Journal Reports: Health Care and Medical Care; analysis by Texas State University and University of California, Riverside.)

  • 18–45 percent of patients can’t recall the major risks of their treatment.
  • 44 percent of patients don’t know the exact nature of their operation.
  • 60–68 percent of patients don’t read or understand information in a consent form.
  • 80 percent of what doctors tell patients can’t be recalled as soon as the patient leaves the office.
  • 50 percent of what the patient does “recall” is inaccurate.

While the research may not identify complexity as the sole cause for these communication failures, common sense clearly suggests that simplifying these technical and emotional conversations would improve understanding and recall.


When Does Communication Fail to Persuade?

Why can’t physicians influence patients to take their medications, do their therapy exercises, or control their cholesterol?

Why can’t salespeople get clients to increase next year’s orders?

Why can’t political parties persuade more citizens to turn out to vote?

Why can’t nonprofits increase their donations year after year—especially when they have a superb record of meeting the needs of people they serve?

The same roadblocks thwart all of the above communication efforts:

  • Too many ideas detract focus from the primary goal.
  • Too many ideas clash. Mixed messages bewilder people.
  • Irrelevant details bury key ideas and dilute emphasis.
  • Complex, disorganized documents discourage people from digging further to decide and to execute plans.
  • Convoluted statements that require “processing” and “clarifying” waste time.

It’s all just too much white noise.


Why Does Simplicity Persuade?

  • Simplicity allows us to grasp the whole concept quickly and easily.
  • Simplicity leads to understanding.
  • Understanding aids recall.
  • Recall builds momentum for action.

Simplicity sells. Complexity stalls.

What pitches, proposals, products, packaging, platforms, processes, or policies do you need to simplify?


For more tips on how to simplify your communication check out What MORE Can I Say? Why Communication Fails and What to Do About It.

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