Sometimes, it’s not what you say….it’s how you say it. Isn’t that true in sales? I’ve heard too many salespeople, with the best intentions, dig themselves into a hole with a poor choice of words. It’s so important to be thoughtful and purposeful in the way you communicate with your customers
On today’s show discover:
- …why it’s so important to choose your words carefully;
- … the hidden meaning behind some common phrases that can land you in hot water;
- …and 9 Powerful words and phrases you can use to boost your sales.
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Landing in Hot Water
Sometimes words and phrases can land you in hot water with your customer…and it has nothing to do with your intentions. Some people simply take offense and some words can trigger negative thoughts or emotions. So the best way to avoid the hot water is to eliminate these words and phrases when talking with customers.
Words to Avoid
1 ) “Dear, Sweety, Honey, Hun”
Even if your intention is to be kind any of these words can sound very condescending. They’re also not appropriate in a professional sales environment. I’ve actually heard customers say things like “ I am not your honey, I am a professional business woman.” (and sales generally don’t follow a customer exchange like that).
2) “Sir or Mam”
Again, you’re intention may be to show respect however for many people “sir and mam” are trigger words that put them on the defense. It also does nothing to help you establish rapport. It makes you sound like you’re on the other side of the sales counter.
A better approach in both of these cases is to introduce yourself and then ask for your customer’s name. If they respond “My name is Bob” call them Bob. If they say I’m Mr. Smith call them Mr. Smith.
3) “In case there’s a problem”
If a salesperson has ever said something to you like “Great, let me get your phone number in case there’s a problem with your order.”
You may have thought. “What? Do you guys have lot’s of problems with orders? Maybe I should look elsewhere.”
While a customer might not come right out and say it, many times the words and phrases we use, communicate messages other than those we’re trying to get across.
This is a great example of a time when “less is more”. Rather than including “in case there’s a problem” or “in case we get disconnected” just ask for the number.
Words to Substitute
4) Use “And” instead of “But”
Did you know that the word but comes from an old English saying? Back in the day (like WAY back in the day) you may have met an English gentleman on the street who would engage you in conversation and at some point utter the phrase “behold the underlying truth”.
That’s a mouthful (especially if you consider how many times a day you currently use the word “BUT”) so the phrase was shortened to its’ initials B.U.T and eventually people just said but…..(it’s like an early version of LOL right?)
Generally, BUT means that I’m going to contradict what I said before. If you listen closely, chances are you’ll hear a lot of BUTS on the sales floor.
“I see what you’re saying but when we first starting talking…”
“I understand what you’re saying “BUT” I really don’t….”
“I see what you’re saying but I’m about to tell you why you’re wrong”
So what’s the better approach?
Either leave it out altogether or substitute the word “and”. Here is an example of leaving it out…. “I see what you’re saying…. when we first started talking….” Here’s another example substituting “AND” “I see what you’re saying and when we first started talking….”
5) You’re Welcome instead of No Problem
These days it’s pretty common to respond to an expression of thanks or gratitude with the phrase ‘no problem,’. The problem with “no problem” is that when your customer says “Thank you for spending extra time explaining the guarantee to me. “ and you respond “No Problem” it has negative connotations. It suggests that, under other circumstances, you would have been reluctant to grant the favor.
A better approach is to say “you’re welcome”. The phrase dignifies the other person’s gratitude and is another way of letting your customer know they are “worth it”. “Thank you for spending extra time explaining the guarantee to me. “ “You’re Welcome”
6) Most Affordable instead of Cheapest
Another substitution you can make that will have a dramatic impact on your sales is to use “Most Affordable” in place of “Cheapest”. When you say “this is the cheapest option we have” many customers will visualize a rickety old lawn chair that’s in danger of collapsing in a slight breeze. It’s cheap, poorly made and not worth anything.
By changing to “this is the most affordable option we have” it sounds more positive and doesn’t devalue the product you’re selling.
Words to Add
As you know, helping your customer answer the question “What’s in it for me” is vital to build value and close sales. When you use “because” you’re helping answer that question for your customer. This is a proven technique that’s been shown to increase the likelihood that customers will buy. In fact, the word “BECAUSE” is considered one of the five most persuasive words in the English language. “….it will reduce your pain almost immediately because it comes in a highly absorbable, liquid form…”
8) Tell me more about….
When you’re stuck for your next probing question or you simple want the customer to elaborate use “Tell me more about….”. This is a fantastic technique for buying you a little more time to formulate your next question while also encouraging the customer to open up and share more information about their needs, wants and expectations.
When you ask your customer to “imagine” what it will be like to enjoy the benefits of your product you keep them engaged, and help them see themselves using and owning it. It’s the same reason car salesmen want you to test drive the car…they know you’ll imagine driving to work in it, going on a date in it, you’ll imagine owning it! Asking someone to go through the motions mentally can make them more likely to follow through with the sale.
Today’s One Two Punch:
Choose Your Words Carefully to Impact Your Sales
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