Great salespeople carefully choose their words when we speak with prospects and customers. They know word choice affects the outcome of their sales presentation. The language we use and the jargon of our industries changes over time. Think carefully about relevant word choice. And how you relate to your prospects and customers.
Proposal vs. Quote
Great salespeople use word choice to develop long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. Sounds like a marriage, doesn’t it? Do we “quote” to the one we love or “propose?” A “proposal” is rich in detail about the value of the purchase to the customer. A “quote” is all about the price for the item.
Price vs. Cost
Selling is all about getting your prospect to part with their cash. Word choice helps gently leverage the money from their account to yours. Cost has a negative connotation. It is what ends up on the expense side of the financial statement. Price is soft and appealing. Have you ever seen a “cost tag” in a furniture store?
Benefit vs. Feature
Great salespeople spend an immense amount of effort helping the prospect see the benefit in making a change. Successful proposals emphasize the value of making the change. The present benefits both personally and professionally to the buyer. Features merely describe your product or service. But people buy benefits. For a simple example think about drill bits. Carpenters and machinists really want holes. If your drill bit lasts longer than the competition, the customer gets more holes per bit.
Want vs. Need
We buy what we want not what we need. Great salespeople use word choice to create enough pain to change a want to a need. For example: “I need transportation to get me to work. I want my own car rather than taking the bus.”
Share vs. Tell
Word choice is important in getting all the information you need from a prospect to close the sale. Great salespeople use words to gently pry delicate data from their prospect. From the earliest age, our mothers taught us to share. “Would you share your budget with me?” is better than “Tell me your budget.”
Can vs. Will
Great salespeople always deal with the decision maker. They want to be sure the decision maker has the power and desire to buy. “Can” denotes the person has the power to do. “Will” is optional. “Can you make a decision today?” asks whether the buyer has the ability to decide. While “Will you purchase six cases of this fine wine?” begs for excuses like “I would, but my wine cellar is full, sorry.”
What You Can Do Right Now With Word Choice
- Only use jargon when you are sure to be understood
- Use words appropriate to the buyer’s communication style to build trust
- Pay attention to your word choice and the buyer’s reaction