Use This Phrase Instead of “General”

Some folks use the term general when they talk about administrative support as a business.

But administrative support is not “general.”

Administrative support is a skillset, expertise and profession in and of itself. It’s the very backbone of every business in the world.

That is anything but “general.” That is something very specific.

Administrative support is also an ongoing relationship with a client; it’s not a one-off project here and there sporadically.

It’s about being an active right-hand in the client’s business and taking on specific areas of work and support for them.

Using the word general to describe your business relegates it to something menial, unimportant, homogeneous (as in same basic humdrum as everybody else), and of not much value.

That’s because general is code for menial which is code for cheap and mundane.

And when clients think of something as menial, they expect to pay paltry fees for it as well.

If you are struggling to get clients who recognize the work you do as valuable, important and beneficial to them, it could be because you are using language that is attracting un-ideal clients and/or putting potential clients in the wrong (i.e., cheapskate) mindset.

When marketing your business, you want to use words that position your business and portray it as something invaluable, not general.

Here’s an alternative to better articulate your value:

If you’re trying to get across the idea that you support clients across the board, instead of using the word general (and I advise anyone who wants to get more well-paying clients to banish that word entirely from your business vocabulary), use the phrase full service.

It has much better connotations about your value proposition and will have a much better impact on your marketing and the client perceptions it sets.

Take a look at your website today. Examine the conversation you are having with clients and the words you’re using.

Will you be making some changes?

9 Responses

  1. Kathy Barnes says:

    What great advice. Out with the ” I offer general admin services” and in with “I am a full-service administrative partner.” I. Love. It.

  2. That’s a great description, Kathy!

  3. And I think a lot of times when we’re starting out we use rinky dink terminology such as “general admin services” because of the lack of confidence we have in ourselves. “I offer general admin services” doesn’t sound valuable at all and administrative support is the foundation of every business. I have yet to use “general” or “full-service” terminology but I do love the term full service and will most likely use it in the near future. Great post.

  4. I agree, Tuesday. 🙂

    When people are new to business, besides possibly feeling a bit unsure of themselves, nine times out of 10 they also don’t necessarily have any marketing experience either. Which is why I like to have these conversations. It helps them better understand how to market themselves and choose the right words that will help them attract more ideal clients.

  5. Fantastic advice, thank you!!

  6. Nancy Weldon Perrine says:

    Thanks for this post. How true.

  7. Jean-Claude TESTA says:

    I always like your posts but this one is really the “engine” of a new energy coming out of me.
    When you say “I help women in the administrative support profession put their business britches on…” does it means that men cannot be inspired and launch a business in this area?
    I am retired since 2 years here in France and I would really like to start a full service business around what you talk about.
    Let’s share about this,
    Very best regards

  8. It’s always fascinating what people will respond to (negatively or positively). It’s also endlessly fascinating to watch people argue for their limitations and keep themselves thinking small.

    I was musing about this as I checked into my list management service to upload a new blog post and saw that two people had actually complained to my service about my post regarding alternative phrasing for the word “general.”

    Isn’t that crazy?

    They want so much to stay in their comfort zones and are so threatened by anything that stretches their thinking they will go to the trouble of clicking to complain about it.

    Not that I mind, because my list service automatically identifies and unsubscribes them when they do that. Better for them to be on their merry way. I like keep my list clean of complainers and stunted thinkers so it’s very helpful to me when they do so.

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