Words that Sell


Much has been written about words that sell and a lot of it on the Internet refers to copywriting.

This information is more about selling in person, one-to-one and although there are similarities it is different to selling with the written word.
We do not use written language, we use sales language because they are the words that sell when you are one-on-one with a prospect.




Firstly, just in case anyone doubts the power of words lets look at some examples of terminology changes that influence our thinking globally.

I read an article the other day about a person named Luntz, the article was referring to his expertise as a spin doctor and his ability with words.

Luntz was famous for re-branding the "Inheritance Tax" the “Death Tax.” People, formerly apathetic on the subject, were suddenly up in arms.

Now I'd like you to think about your own reaction to those two phrases.

"Death Tax" has a totally different connotation to inheritance tax, doesn't it?

Let me give you another example.

One of the hot issues in the world today is "Global Warming" (pardon the pun) and those that lobby against global warming refer to it as "climate change".

Plainly, they believe there is less negative impact using the words "climate change.




Do you remember the old cartoon where a salesperson with a machine gun was outside the tent of the knight trying to get in to see the commander.


The valet was saying the master doesn't have time to see you now he's about to fight a battle.

It's very much like that trying to sell to people today, 
everyone is way too busy and it takes something out of the ordinary to capture our attention long enough for us to become motivated to respond.


A sales person who doesn’t quickly, clearly and powerfully articulate a major benefit and hit the primary hot button of his prospect will likely not make a sale.



In relation to words that sell I noted a very direct quote the other day.

"Everything that is written and said in business should be examined to see if it quickly, accurately and powerfully makes the correct persuasive point. 
If after hearing or reading what’s been said, your targeted audience can ask ‘So what?’ without the answer being absolutely clear and meaningful - that communication has been wasted."


Although the quote seems quite brutal in many ways it is accurate.




I have noticed a few articles on the net about specific powerful words and words that sell and should be used in both copy and sales language.

Words like instantly, free, guarantee, proven, cutting-edge, state-of-the-art, prestigious, outstanding, irresistible, improved etc etc etc.
And plainly these words have impact.


Do not fall for the folly of just using power words that you see mentioned on the Internet or some book.

Let me give you an example.
Years ago a colleague of mine and I had a big sale to make to a big prospect.
The responsible person met us at the gate of the plant and walked us to his office.
It was a big site and the walk took some time.


During the walk we chatted about this and that.
We learned that the buyer had been working for his company for 25 years, in fact, it was the only job he ever had.
We also saw his car outside the office which was a 35-year-old Mercedes, the only car he had ever owned.
We also learn he married his schoolgirl sweetheart some 27 years ago.

Can you imagine how successful our sales attempts would have been if we had practiced using the words "cutting-edge" and "state-of-the-art" in our presentation and gone ahead and used them?

They would not have been words that sell in that situation.

Now our product may well have been cutting edge but we didn't need to frame it that way during our sales presentation.




Remember, we have an advantage over copywriters because we are able to communicate with our prospect one-on-one.

We should not expect to just throw in a bunch of buzzwords and have our sales language become effective.

As salespeople we have a responsibility to tailor our language both to the product we sell and to the people we are selling to.


How do we do this?


First Be Prepared with your offerings Unique Appeal

You want to make your product or service appear unique to all other products or services on the market (if any).

Take a look at your product or service from the customer’s perspective.

  • Make a list of all the benefits (what the customer will gain from using your product) and features (the reasons or justification for buying the product).
  • Now look at what makes your product different or superior to your competitor’s products. What do you offer that your competition does not? This is called positioning. Positioning will help you develop the right strategy to sell and determine who to sell to..
  • Who is your target audience? What are their needs, wants and motivations to buy? Are they rich, poor, educated, young, older, professionals, blue collar workers, etc.?
  • Create your plan. What info do you need in your arsenal.



Now, all the above is great and should take place before the sales call.




Then we get to why a sales call is different to copywriting.

Because now that you are face-to-face you have the opportunity to sell your unique product to a Unique Individual.

For a start you know the person's name and you should use it often during the call. 

Since you have learned the benefits of your product you have them in mind but don't throw them all out at the customer. Like they do in long sales letters on the Net

Doing that is like throwing spaghetti on a wall to see what sticks.


At the beginning of the call, you need to ask the right questions and listen 
to what is important to the prospect and then only talk about the benefits that are of interest to them. They are the words that sell to them.


In terms of words that sell the most important words to use with any prospect are THEIR buzzwords.
Any word they use that would be a criteria for what they want to buy is a word that you should repeat back them.
And you'll hear those words if you just listen.


The other opportunity that you have in communicating directly with your prospect is to make your sentences longer and more hypnotic.
I have read quite a few articles from copywriters who advocate making sentences short and sharp. Now, that is fine for clarity.

Some of your speech should be that way in a sales call.

You can, however, when speaking directly to somebody, use longer sentences to embed ideas and presupposition in a prospect's mind.
That is artful sales language.




So although I'd like to tell you there are certain magic words that sell, it's not possible because the important words for each prospect will be unique to them.
There are ways of structuring your language that are more persuasive.
I call this sales language and certain words are used within this system for practice not because they are the definitive sales words and must be used.


So, first listen to pick up the words that sell for the prospect in front of you and then structure your language the right way and your sales will blossom.