You’re Shooting Yourself in the Foot with these 7 Words
We all know that words are powerful. In fact, they’re powerful enough to dramatically affect the outcome of any sales scenario. The difference between a prospect choosing you, choosing someone like you or wanting nothing to do with you depends on what you say, when you say it and how you make it count.
Today we’re going to explore seven independent words that could be having a huge negative effect on your conversion rates and your persuasive abilities. If you can remove and replace these mistakes from your daily conversations, you’ll notice how quickly you can elevate your own results.
“If” Makes Your Results Hypothetical
When your prospects and clients hear the word “if,” they hear you presenting them with a question or a choice instead of a ready-made solution. You’re creating a conditional set of circumstances where people can decide if they fall on one side or the other. By saying something like, “If you were to join our team,” you automatically give yourself a 50/50 chance at success when your client’s natural inclination to do what you’d prefer could actually be much higher.
Instead of, “If you were to join our team,” say, “When you join our team.” Your prospects can’t help picturing themselves joining the team and can now imagine themselves going through with your offer, which dramatically increases your chances of seeing that outcome come to fruition.
“But” Shuts People Down
Let’s think about what the word “but” does in a conversation. Imagine someone you respected is giving you some feedback, and they say to you, “You’re a wonderful member of our team. You really are good at what it is you’re doing, but…”
You’re probably going to shut down and only remember the critique they gave you after the “but.” This word damages a conversation because even if you don’t mean to do so, it negates everything you said prior to it in the eyes of the other person. Instead, swap “and” in for “but.” When you use “and,” your statement becomes more unified and the person you’re talking with will register both the praise and the criticism you’re doling out.
“Cost” Creates Negativity
The word “cost” is an absolute killer. It causes massive challenges when you’re trying to get people to move over the fence and embrace the solution you’re offering them. After all, how do you feel about the costs in your life? You probably view them as a bad thing or at least an inconvenience, so when you label the money your client is about to spend as a cost, you’re making it sound incredibly negative.
We think of costs as money we’re just throwing away. But we think of investments as a way to contribute money for a product, experience or opportunity that’s going to deliver us valuable returns. If you call your client’s payment an “investment,” they’ll see true value in the money they’re spending and take pride in their choice.
“We” Makes You the Center of Attention
Companies massively overuse the word “we” when they’re trying to explain to prospects how good they are at what they do and how they’re really the number-one choice. I constantly see sales brochures and websites saying things like, “We provide a comprehensive training program. We provide service guarantees and warranties.” When you do this, you’re centering the discussion around your own interests, not the prospect’s.
Your prospect deserves to be the center of the conversation, and will respond much more favorably if they receive that level of attention. You can create this effect by replacing “what we offer” with “choosing us means that you benefit from…” Shifting the language pattern to focus on their concerns and needs will make them much more eager to choose your solution.
“Expensive” Is Just a Judgment
When your customer or prospect says to you, “Wow, that sounds expensive,” you’ve essentially been met with the kiss of death. The moment you let your product be called “expensive,” you ruin your chances of your client accepting that you’re offering them great value. After all, “expensive” is only a judgment you make when comparing two or more things. A Rolls Royce is expensive compared to a Ford, but compared to a Bugatti, it’s actually quite inexpensive.
If someone calls your offering expensive, shift the conversation by referring to it as a “premium” option. People may hate spending excessively, but they love picking the premium option when given the choice. In fact, 20 percent of people will go out of their way to “go premium” when given the choice, while only 7 percent just look for the most inexpensive option.
“Cheap” Makes You Look Low-Brow
“Cheap” and “expensive” are two sides of the same coin. As much as your clients surely want to save money, nobody wants to be associated with something “cheap” — it makes them feel low-status and low-value. While we may have less expensive options in our product portfolios, they’re certainly not “cheap.” They’re still great at what they do, and deliver fantastic value.
Take a cue from some of the biggest supermarkets and discount brands out there and swap “cheap” for “value.” Nobody wants to buy the cheapest thing on the market, but they can still feel great about finding the best value and seeing a bigger return on their expense.
“Problem” Sounds Antagonistic
I hear the word “problem” crop up all the time in sales conversations. People will consistently say subtly rude, accusatory things like, “The problem with that as an idea,” or, “The problem with what you’re doing right now.” I can’t think of a single person who likes to be told that they have problems. Using this word will not make you friends or put you and your client on the same side.
Substitute “problem” for “challenge” and you’ll find much more success. Instead of finding yourself head-to-head with your client, you’re now confronting something manageable side by side. The word “challenge” also raises fewer alarm bells and makes your client think of something that can realistically be overcome.
Replace these seven killer words with more productive choices on a daily basis and watch yourself get more of what you want. Once you’ve used your language to center both you and your client in a positive, can-do mindset, you’re pretty much invincible.
About Phil M. Jones
Phil Jones entered the world of business at the tender age of 14. With nothing more than a bucket and sponge, he went from single-handedly washing cars on weekends to hiring a fleet of friends working on his behalf, resulting in him earning more than his teachers by the time he was 15.
Soon after, at just 18, Phil was offered the role of Sales Manager at UK fashion retailer Debenhams – making him the youngest Sales Manager in the company’s history.
Phil’s unique philosophy of using specific word choices to teach his audiences “Exactly What To Say” in order to influence, persuade and drive outcomes, has made Phil one of the most practical and in-demand business speakers on the planet.
Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866-727-7555 or [email protected]