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Every word has meaning.

Changing just one word can have a tremendous impact on your sales call.  The purpose of communication is to trigger a reaction.  Every moment you are in front of the customer they are reacting to you either consciously or unconsciously.  Word choice is extremely critical to the success or lack of success during a sales call.

For example, in a discussion with my doctor about the salespeople who call on him and what he likes and dislikes, he told me when a sales representative opens the call with words like:  I want to discuss . . . or I want to talk with you . . . he says he turns off immediately and at best half listens to the salesperson.

WOW!  Just imagine, that salesperson closed the door on him or her before the call even started.  Albeit the salesperson even thought the Dr. M was a difficult customer.

Over the past 34 years of selling and coaching sales representatives, I have learned that salespeople do more to hinder their progress during a sales call than the customer ever does.  We as salespeople create tough and challenging situations for ourselves based on what we do or don’t do during a sales call.

Word choice is one.

“The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter — it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” – Mark Twain 10/15/1888

Researchers at Yale University psychology department claim that the 12 most influential words are: you, money, save, new, results, easy, health, safety, love, discovery, proven, and guarantee along with different iterations of each of these words.  Use of these words can add to the persuasiveness of your sales call.  However, let’s return to my opening statement, “every word has meaning.” These words will have a varying degree of impact based on their meaning and emotion attached to them by the prospect you are calling on.

The most influential words you can use come from your prospect.  NLP (the most recent studies in the field of linguistics) suggests you need to always match the words your prospect uses.  Again, the words you and your prospects use are by design, not haphazard or by accident.   Their words carry meaning to them and they have an emotional attachment to those words at some psychological level.

For example, if your prospect uses the word Spreader or Trialist to describe a minimal user of their products, you need to use the word Spreader or Trialist and not minimal users.  If they use the word hassle to describe a situation, you will need to use that word and not something like fuss, trouble, or bother with.

Let me share with you a sales call I had not too long ago.  I was calling on a prospect that said to me “J.P., any model we use must be valid in and of itself.”  Now, I have never had a prospect say that to me in quite that way and he repeated that exact phrase a few times as he described his needs.

After listening patiently, I said, ‘Bob, the model this program is based on is a model that is valid in and of itself.’  The moment I said that, he interrupted me and said “J.P. that is exactly what I am looking for.”  And I had yet to discuss anything about the validity of the model!  Again, this demonstrates how the words your customer uses carries meaning and emotion to them.  Also, when you match their word choice you convey a level of understanding to the prospect that can only occur through word choice.

Remember, all words carry meaning.  You need to listen carefully to the words your prospects use when talking with them.  Then use those words as you describe your understanding of their needs and what your product or service can do for them.

What’s the most interesting word or phrase a customer has used that has caught you by surprise?


Sales Tip #13:  Use the exact keywords your customer uses.


Copyright 2012  J.P. Thompson CHt.  All rights reserved.

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J.P. Thompson CHt


Clinical Hypnotherapist
NLP Practitioner
Master Sales Trainer (34yrs)

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