The science of effective sales conversations lies partly with the language we use to elicit the desired reactions and emotions of the prospects we speak with.
Using the right words and phrases can elevate phone conversations to another level. One of the key challenges of selling over the phone in particular, is that it lacks the visual benefits of face to face communication where we can utilise our body language and facial expressions to enhance interaction and impact. With this in mind, the modern day sales professional needs to differentiate themselves through their sales conversations and the language they choose.
We’ve put together six words and phrases you can easily incorporate into your sales vocabulary, to transform your conversations and have more successful outcomes:
I love the word relevant. When you ask a prospect if something is ‘relevant’, it helps to begin to qualify or disqualify prospects. I find it a brilliant alternative to asking the dull and over utilised question - ‘is this of interest?’ It enables the prospect to position themselves into a good or bad fit bucket, without them feeling like they are making a high stakes decision. In turn, it makes it easier for them to simply give a steer which will aid your next move. Do you move them on so that you both can make better use of your time, or do you probe deeper into why your product is so aligned?
When selling features, asking if something specific is ‘relevant’ ensures that you don’t invest time going down a ‘spray and pray’ route, and in turn, gets the prospect to point out the aspects of your product which bears most interest and importance to their own personal desires. Something that is ‘relevant’ does not always need to be the perfect fit or solution. Where there is relevance, there is opportunity.
Imagine is a massively powerful word to galvanise the thoughts and desires of your prospects. It is a word which sells opportunity and a beautiful haven above and beyond what they currently have available today. In today’s world of sales conversations where storytelling sells, ‘imagine’ sets a vision based on success and results which you have delivered for others.
An example of using ‘imagine’ as a sales rep at Refract would be:
“Imagine if I was a new sales rep starting at your company, and on week one I had access to a library of all of the sales calls which ended in a positive next step to listen to. How much quicker do you think I could hit quota?”
As a prospect, I am putting myself in the shoes of the next sales rep I am hiring. I am imagining listening to all of my team’s best sales calls. I am imagining how much that would enhance the experience of my new hire, and the impact that will have on ramp time. It’s taking me out of the ‘sales conversation’, and into the possible future.
‘Would it make sense if…?’
A useful starting point here, would be to evaluate what an alternative commonly question asked would be.
This for me sounds too pushy. Its asking for something which directly benefits you as the sales rep, rather than positioning it as advantageous for the prospect. An example of this would be…
‘Can we schedule a demo for next week?’
You’re directly asking for the prospects time, and ultimately tarnishing it with a healthy dose of presumption. Maybe the prospect isn’t ready for a demo yet. Maybe they are yet to see the value in moving to that next step.
‘Would it make sense for us to schedule a demo for next week’?
The difference here is you aren’t pushing the prospect into a corner they don’t wish to be in or sell them something there and then. It has undertones of logical thinking, and that talking further will only happen if it is deemed to be a sensible next step. Importantly, you’re prioritising the wills and desires of the prospect above your own.
OK - so dictionary definition here is the following:
“treating people equally without favouritism or discrimination.”
Its extremely hard not to like being fair then, wouldn’t you agree?
In fact, as humans, we have such deep rooted and well developed desires to be fair in all walks of life, no matter what side of the conversation we are on. None of us ever want to be perceived as ‘unfair’.
In sales conversations, the word ‘fair’ pulls on the emotions on the prospect in a discreet fashion. Its asking for humanity, and therefore a win/win for both seller and customer. Here’s an example of how I’ve leveraged it in my own sales vocabulary:
‘If I was to give you favourable payment terms on this agreement, would it be fair if we got this signed off by the end of today?’
It’s very difficult for prospects to disagree with being ‘fair’.
Much like the word ‘imagine’, I find this word to be brilliant at opening the prospects eyes to possibilities that exceed the place where they currently find themselves in. Vision in some ways feels more achievable than ‘imagining’ though, so may even be perceived as more realistic.
“What would your vision be for the performance of the sales team six months from now?”
It takes prospects away from a sales conversation where they are being sold to, to a place where they are sharing their ambition. People like to share their ambitions. It makes them feel positive about themselves. I’ve found that asking prospects what their ‘vision is’ generates strong dialogue, and plenty of opportunity to align your product with their targets. It opens up opportunity for you to share the vision with them.
‘How would you feel if…?’
Feel is an interesting word to have as part of your sales vocabulary, as it transforms thoughts and mindset, into the sensory system and thus generates more emotion and description. To make this more realistic, imagine asking somebody what their favourite meal is. They may respond with Steak and Chips with a big smile on their face. Now what do you think the difference in response would be if you asked them how they feel when they are eating their favourite meal of Steak and Chips? They would likely be more passionate, descriptive, and conversationalist.
Now let’s move this into a sales setting:
“How would you feel if you transformed all of your B-Players into A-Players”
The prospect will likely reveal personal desires and success metrics beyond that of their company’s. It will reveal motives and drivers to change. ‘Feeling’ is so much more impactful than ‘thinking’.