Those in sales are familiar with the saying “Words Matter”. But I wonder how many realize the true power of words. Just recently, I was rereading Carol Dweck’s book Mindset and became more convinced than ever that words truly do matter—and their power is underestimated.
We humans are truly emotional beings. This really hit home when I read a blog written by Ilyce Glink, 7 tips for landing your dream home (I know someone who is actively searching for one). Selling a home can be a very emotional experience. But this isn’t much different than the decisions that we make all the time when we want to buy something. It just seems that when buying or selling a home we tend to recognize the emotional component more openly. We need to remember that emotions play a predominant role in any buying decision. Acknowledging this as we plan our sales calls can make a difference.
As humans, we have a tendency to sometimes ignore what we have and take things for granted. This is true in life—and also true in selling. How much time do you spend with your current customers and make sure they have everything they need that you and your company can provide? If you are like most people, you just might tend to put more of your time, effort and focus into developing new business and new customers than you should. And you might even inadvertently take some your current ones for granted. What happens is that you wind up potentially losing the business you already have. And you are not alone. The average company loses 52% of its customers every 5 years.
Undoubtedly you’ve witnessed this: People attend a great training event; they leave the training all energized and enthusiastic to apply what they learn. And then 6 weeks later, there is no change. People are not implementing the teachings but doing things the way they have always done them. What happened?
You sell more when you care less about the sale—and more about the customer. If you are a frequent reader of my blog or have attended any of our Delta Point training seminars, you’ve probably heard us express this in a variety of ways. We talk about being other focused, about approaching the sale from the customer’s point of view (Thinking Like a Customer) and planning your sales conversation with a mindset of pure intent. In his most recent book, To Sell Is Human, Daniel Pink confirms that these tenets are not only the right thing to do but are extraordinarily effective.
Words Matter. Undoubtedly you’ve heard this thought expressed numerous times and in different ways. When we hear 2 different ways of communicating the same idea, our reaction can be very different—primarily due to the words chosen. One may really engage us, another that expresses the exact same thought could upset us. And a third way could gender thinking and make us remember what was said. In his recent book, To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink provides several examples of when words make a difference—and perhaps, more importantly, he explains why.
Selling is a thinking person’s game. If you want to sell a product to someone, you need to connect with them and make them think. I don’t know how you can do this unless you are a thinking person.
And not only do you need to think but your goal in selling is to have your customer think differently about your product. Because if they don’t, they’ll just go on buying and using what they normally do.
Research has shown that you capture interest or create resistance in the first 20 seconds of your sales call. Yet it seems that many sales reps have not gotten this message. I asked physicians (who are constantly interrupted during the day by sales reps) for examples of what their sales reps typically say when they begin their sales conversation. Unfortunately, what I learned would create a list of how not to open a call.
We are all familiar with the saying “honesty is the best policy”. But is this the best approach to take in selling? I would argue that it is. In fact, I would go so far to say that it is the only way to sell effectively.
Honesty pays off for several reasons. First and foremost, it is the right thing to do. Telling falsehoods only gets you into trouble. And then you have to remember what lie you told to which person. It can lead to telling more and more lies—and you wind up in a tangled web.
Usually in sales when we talk about questions, we are referring to questions that sales reps ask their customers. Yet there is the other perspective to consider—questions to ask potential sales reps. Dave Dorman’s blog “9 Questions to Ask Your Next Sales Hire
” provides that other perspective—he highlights those characteristics and qualities that make a great representative. Even if you are not in the market for a new job, some of these questions point out things that you should be doing to help you succeed in sales.