Words can trigger emotion and feeling, so understanding the psychology of communication within sales is a powerful tool. Using words that sell can radically increase close rates by swapping out some vocabulary for high-impact words and is something every sales team should know.
In this article:
- The Importance of Using Words That Sell
- Words That Sell
- Words That Don’t Sell
Words That Sell
The Importance of Using Words That Sell
Different words trigger certain behaviors in people and the language we use when communicating with customers impacts a sales team’s ability to entice and excite them. What sales teams say matters, and when it comes to closing the sale, every word said can either cause a prospect to open up or become wary.
Words That Sell
Using the term “client” instead of “customer” indicates a more long-term relationship.
In practice, a client is typically someone who pays for highly specialized services and those who are being given advice and support. Choosing which word to call your clients (or customers) might seem a small decision but the consequences will affect how they perceive themselves. A B2B software business might opt to refer to its customers as “clients,” to highlight their interest in assisting their success.
Your Client’s Name
People react strongly when they hear their name and in doing so, they’ll give their undivided attention. To succeed in the marketplace businesses have to provide a personal touch to their customers. Addressing a customer by name provides them with this valued experience and gives them a sense of importance and validity.
Successful sellers ensure their customers feel part of a team, so using the word “we” (“together”, “us”, “our” etc.) references the venture as a joint effort. If prospects have a collaborative focus, they will believe in an equally advantageous association leading to better cooperation.
Asking a customer to imagine the benefits of your product or service, puts them in an optimistic mindset. Imagining how the product can be applied to their business, they buy a better version of themselves and thus consumers are more likely to agree to the sales proposal. Stories record better in people’s minds than regular messaging and using the word “imagine” is a useful tool in sharing a joint vision; you selling the product, and the customer buying it.
I Don’t Know
Top salespeople know their stuff and ideally should know everything there is to know about their products or service. But sometimes, in absence of all information, admitting “I don’t know” is the best policy. Lying can lead down a very slippery slope, particularly when speaking to hundreds of people each day, and trying to remember what was said and to whom. By admitting this builds trust with the client, and a great follow up response should be to say – “but I will find out and let you know as soon as possible”. It’s always better to provide factual information than to hazard a guess and customers will appreciate the honesty.
Turn issues around by using positive wording with a positive connotation. This makes customers feel easier about the process. Seeing an “opportunity” can turn a sales conversation around.
Artificially intelligent sales recording systems, and other technological advancements, are making coaching more efficient than ever before. Call recording has developed and now AI functionality means that managers, or salespeople, can search for key words to understand behaviors and which conversations add value in their interactions with customers or prospects.
Words That Don’t Sell
As important as the words that sell, all good salespeople should know the words that put clients off and drop close rates.
Gong research reveals some of the worst words for sales conversion rates.
- “Discount” decreases close rates by 17%. Oddly enough, using the word “discount” decreases close rates because customers don’t believe in the long term value.
- “Competitor”: Makes you less likely to get to the next step or close.
- “Show you how”: Drops close rates by 13% when used more than four times during a single call. Patronizing filler words like “does that make sense?” is an annoying way to check customer understanding.
- Using large numbers like “million,” “billion,” “trillion” is too abstract, so they damage close rates.
- “Contract”: Weakens sales conversion rates by 7%.
- “Free trial”: Reduces the likelihood of moving on to the next steps by 5%.
- Your company’s name: Damages close rates by 14% when used four or more times in one call.
So, it’s not just about how you communicate, it’s about what you say, rightly or wrongly, or what you don’t say that makes a difference between top-performing reps and everyone else. A subtle change can make a huge difference.
What words that sell bring you the most success? Share your stories in the comments section below.