The Language of Sales
Speaking well helps sales and speaking badly break sales. Even more important is tone of voice, attitude and enthusiasm. Successful people are very proficient at saying the right things in the right way. However, there are those whose tongues are their worst enemies. Some people are continually, having to bail themselves out of some difficulty they have talked themselves into. Many are never aware of the things they say which defeat their own purpose and smother the prospect’s interest.
Here are some good techniques which avoid these troubles and some bad practices which cause these troubles. It is a matter of how something is said or whether something should be said at all.
- Use words that sell: Instead of words like nice or good try efficient and quick or simple. “It does a good job, doesn’t it?” or It’s very efficient, isn’t it? The second example is stronger and is a much better use of language.
- Use phrases or figures of speech that sell: Similes, metaphors and comparisons can add colour and emphasis to a presentation. They can make a point well, where detailed explanation would be confusing or boring.
- Never ever use profanity: Some people think that profanity is smart or because they have a weak vocabulary or because the prospect swears. Profanity demeans the speaker and the audience and it is not professional.
- Avoid controversial subjects: These are topics such as religion, politics, race etc. They are dangerous material during business calls.
- Avoid controversial statements: Presumptiveness and the making of point blank claims which are difficult to verify can make a sales person look ridiculous.
- Win the argument and lose the sale: Some sales people approach objections head-on which opens arguments. They also have a chip on their shoulders and go to great lengths to prove the other person wrong. ‘Agree before you disagree’ is one way to handle objections. Successful salespeople know how to avoid the argument and get the order.
- Put the onus on yourself: This implies that if there is a misunderstanding; place the blame for it on you. Then it is hoped, the prospect will admit that they don’t understand and will feel free to talk. The salesperson is at fault if the prospect does not understand.
- Avoid negative questions: Negative questions give negative answers. Be positive as people buy from positive people and you will feel better, too.
- Keep away from negative implications: This is generally a salesperson talking too much. Saying things that make them backtrack; like saying that there are a lot of similar products or services out there when they may not have known that there were others. Be careful how you say things.
- Eliminate crutch words: I knew a salesperson that used the word “Cool” all the time and some others “Dude” and these habits are extremely poor choices as prospects fall asleep and get turned off. Crutch words like “um” and “you know” are never a good solution when speaking or conversing. When you remove them you become a better communicator and you get your point across more effectively.
- Use a positive approach: Without being presumptive, a salesperson can assume their way through many sales. They can word their approach in such a way as to assume a gatekeeper into arranging an interview/presentation/demonstration for them. They also can assume the sale yet all the time the prospect is not aware of being overly pushed and actually thinks these things are their own idea. ‘Success breeds success works well if you have something to back up the image. Having this makes seeing and selling prospects much easier and larger.
- Make it ‘our’ system/product: Early into the conversation ease the discussion over to the idea of this being our system, and to thinking how we might handle this problem; how would it benefit us. The more the prospect looks on the system as their idea, the easier it will be to sell them. The more they feel you are working with and for them, instead of just trying to sell them something, the more confidence they will place in you.
What you say and how you say it establishes the basis on how a prospect will discuss and deal with you. Selling can be a sparring match; a battle of wits where you and the prospect try to outsmart each other. In the end both are exhausted and nothing is accomplished. You can set the stage for a pleasant and co-operative venture. A venture in which you establish yourself as an assistant to the prospect to work together for a common goal –the improvement of the prospect’s business/life – the solution to the prospect’s problems or challenges.
A salespersons language can place them in a position of pulling with the prospect or pulling against them.