Sales Language



Sales language is used specifically in the context of making sales.

If you have any doubts about there being a specific type of language that is used in selling please lose them now because excellent salespeople say things differently.


It was Mark Twain who said, "The difference between the right word and the wrong word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."


This is especially relevant in sales.

Maybe I should start out with what sales language is NOT?

There is certain language that people would have you believe is sales language.Phrases like, "if I could show your way ...", masquerade as sales language. Personally, I think of them as sleazy language because all they are going to do is alienate your prospect.


Excessive use of leading language will also turn off your prospect.
Statements like, "you'd really like to make a good impression, wouldn't you?" 
Used once in the right context this is okay but repeated use of phrases like "wouldn't you" and "don't you" indicate to the prospect that you are trying to manipulate them.


Comments like "don't worry about it" essentially tell the customer that you have dismissed their concerns as not being important. 
Until the customer feels confident you understand their needs, they simply will not buy. Similarly, "yes ... but", is a phrase to be avoided as it shows little respect for your prospect's opinion.


It often amazes me how many salespeople shoot themselves in the foot by using lazy or inappropriate sales language.
I have often heard salespeople say, "you know what I mean?" or the dreaded "you follow me?". Presumably these sales people think they are inviting questions from the prospect, however, it is quite likely the customer is thinking "of course I know what you mean, I'm not stupid!" The customer feels belittled rather than acknowledged and this doesn't help make sales.


A better way for a salesperson to invite questions from the prospect is to ask questions like, "what do you think about that?" Or "is that applicable in your industry" or "I hope I've explain that well, it didn't sound right to me?" Or "does that raise any questions in your mind?"


Think about the words you use during a sales call. 
What's the connotation of using a word like "deal", maybe we are playing with deck of cards? Perhaps that's being flippant but the whole idea of deal introduces the concept of negotiation which most sales people would rather not enter into. Think about the use of the word "contract" as distinct from the word "agreement". Would you rather sign an agreement or sign a contract? Contracts sound much more formal and may well invite the introduction of legal people to the sales scenario.


Artful sales language is designed to open the mind of the prospect and to get them thinking about using your product. Do that enough times and you have a much better chance of making a sale.


In one of the free articles on this site I talk about the "Convincer Mode, 
which is the number of times a person needs to hear or see something to be convinced it's true.". In that article I mentioned the fact that the best salespeople often close their sales after the fifth "No". I believe this is because the sales person has effectively had the prospect think about using their product or service enough times to fill their convincer mode. It's no accident that the Convincer Mode for the average person in the USA is 3 - 4 times.


So, excellent sales language involves the thoughtful use of:
verb tenses, presuppositions, hypnotic language and various sales phrases that continually place in the mind of your prospect the possibility of using your product or service. Simple phrases such as, "because" and "just suppose ..." are long-time favorites of successful salespeople. 


Let me give you an example of good sales language versus poor language.


Imagine, if you can, a young sales rep in a sales call with a prospect. It's not hard to imagine the sales person saying something like, "I was just in the area and thought I'd drop in, I wanted to see if you have any interest in our product XYZ." This salesperson could then easily respond to interest on the part of a customer with a surprised tone saying, "Oh you are interested ..." Towards the end of the call this same salesperson may say, "Are you really sure you want a sample of this product to test?"


Now there are a number of errors in those statements written above which I'm not going to go into now. Suffice to say, three strikes and you're out.


Now compare this with a salesperson who thinks about the language they use. This salesperson may well say, "This product landed on my desk and I immediately thought it would be of use for you. The reason I'm here is because I'm just not quite sure how much benefit it will have in your business." Then when the prospect shows interest the response is more likely to be something like, "So this product is useful, isn't it? ... So how do we proceed now?" Then towards the end of the call when checking the motivation of the prospect this salesperson could say, "... don't take this sample unless you really want to test it this month, because I have a lot of other customers waiting to try it right now."


Hopefully, you can see the differences in these two scenarios and the better use of language in the second.


It is often said that "a picture is worth 1000 words" I believe that in terms of sales language that the converse is also true, that is to say, "A word can be worth a 1000 pictures".



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