Monday, March 14, 2011

Small Words, Big Impact

From my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Using Powerful Words

You can be powerful with your vocabulary without sounding arrogant. Two of the most powerful words in the English language are "you" and "I." "You" is most effective when influencing, persuading, or selling to someone. The focus should be on the person we are speaking to. Most of our statements in business should be "you" based. "You're going to love this new copy machine. Imagine all the benefits to you and your company."

The word "I" is best used in a conflict situation. In conflicts, we often begin by accusing and attacking the other person. You were wrong. You made a mistake. You made me look bad. The other person, upon hearing this tirade of "You," begins to withdraw or become defensive. Either way, the communication has stopped. A more effective way to approach conflict is to use the word "I." "I feel that there was a mistake made. I was embarrassed and felt we could have been better prepared." Nothing in that statement is directly accusing, yet you are still getting your point across and chances are the other person won't feel defensive.

Other strong words are urge, recommend, and suggest. Pick your words carefully. Selecting the wrong one is sure death for a salesperson trying to convince a potential buyer about the merit of his or her product or services. Which of the following is the more confident statement and would close a sale?

"I hope your company would benefit from our services."
"I guess your company would benefit from our services."
"I believe your company would benefit from our services."
"I think your company would benefit from our services."
"I am confident your company would benefit from our services."

It's no contest. Statement five is the correct verbal choice of winners. The idea behind understanding which words send which messages is to make conscious decisions about the words we choose to use. Instead of saying things out of habit, be aware of what you say and create new, more effective habits when you speak. Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit." Make sure your habits are good ones.

Source: Marjorie Brody, executive coach and member of the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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