The Green Sheet Online Edition
May 23, 2011 • Issue 11:05:02
Spurring sales with valued-added verbs
||- Julian Sorrell Huxley
Great sellers work sales calls like great comedians work crowds. Top performing merchant level salespeople (MLSs) pick up prospects' verbal and nonverbal signals and tailor pitches accordingly. But the foundation of the successful pitch is based on simple, tried-and-true techniques that, practiced and employed over time, become second nature.
One aspect of that foundation is word choice. Seasoned sellers know how to phrase statements to jumpstart the sales pitch. Decide for yourselves which is better:
This: Do you want to hear about my service?
Or this: Tell me about your current POS setup.
This: Do you have a check problem?
Or this: Let's discuss how we can increase the check-acceptance speed at your POS.
The first lines of the pairs are questions; the second lines are statements. This demonstrates the difference between striking a passive tone and taking an active approach. It also speaks to the need to control your interactions with merchants from the outset.
If you structure the opening carefully, you can guide your prospects to supply important information about their businesses and avoid giving them the chance to stop the pitch with a quick no before it has time to develop.
Break bad habits
All sellers are guilty of using stock phrases in sales calls. But getting into a linguistic rut will make your pitches stale. One way to break the habit and keep sales calls fresh is to tweak the language. Such as:
- In place of the word "save," say "slash," "shrink," "slice," "trim," "modify," "eliminate" or "salvage."
- Instead of using "cost," try "expense," "charge," "waste" or "burden."
- Take out "profits" and insert "dollars," "revenue," "cash," "income" or "market share."
By using fresh, action words in your presentation, not only do you keep prospects from getting bored, but you keep yourself interested and engaged as well.
Use appropriate lingo
Every standout MLS speaks to merchants in their own language. Your objective is to make merchants believe you have a feel for their businesses and vertical markets. For example:
- When talking to an auto dealership, refer to the employee responsible for securing financing for, and completing paperwork for, car buyers as the "F&I person."
- When talking to the controller of a hotel, call the detailed list of hotel charges "the folio."
You can learn industry- and business-specific language by reading industry trade publications and paying close attention to editorials and letters to the editor.
By beginning with confident instead of tentative language, using action words in presentations and speaking the language of the merchant, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and make pitches more effective. Call it words of wisdom.
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