Words Matter!


Everyone is scrambling to find new ways to help them sell more effectively. Products are updated. Materials are redesigned. Sales processes are changed. Any or all of these strategies may in fact increase business. However, there is one very inexpensive area for improvement that is overlooked by most salespeople - language. Improve your word power and you will increase your selling power.

Language and Business

In this culture, the concept of words as serious sales tools (or weapons, depending on your metaphor of choice) may seem silly. However, I would argue that it is precisely because of our cultural trends that the people who use language with precision, creativity, and thoughtfulness will have a distinct competitive advantage and triumph at the end of the sales day, with or without pretty new support materials.

There is a golden opportunity awaiting the articulate salesperson in a culture where the art of language has deteriorated.

Think of the many times you have heard versions of “We provide unparalleled customer service, innovative solutions and strong follow-up to help you grow your business.” (Just once I’d love to hear someone say, “We provide lousy customer service, vanilla solutions, and haphazard follow-up” just to see how the client will react.)

Are Words Really That Important?

What words do you use to describe what you do, how you do it, and what the benefits are to your clients?

1. What words do you use to earn an appointment or a callback? For example, do you say you want to discuss “X” (advertising, software, or whatever it is you sell) OR do you say you want to discuss some “ideas” to help this prospect “solve a particular problem,” “increase sales,” or another benefit relevant to his business? When was the last time you taped yourself to rate the effectiveness of the individual words you typically choose to use?

2. When you open a business discussion, is every word designed to engage?

3. Do you articulate presentations in the most appealing way or are they filled with clichés and bland language? For example, do you say you have “very effective tools that are easy to use” or that you have “proven powerful tools that unleash the selling power of a team?”

4. Are your questions crafted to elicit the best information while at the same time creating a comfortable, conversational environment for your client?

5. Are your responses to objections strategically phrased so that your client isn’t put on the defensive?

6. When you move to the next step, do you use non-pressuring language?

He who speaks well fights well.”– Proverb

Words matter. Put some thought and care into them. It won’t cost you anything except a little thinking time. The result can mean the difference between a “yes” and a “no”.

Finally, let me share with you my five “magic words” that I sprinkle liberally into my conversations with clients and prospects, particularly when I am engaging in dialogue in the “C- Lounge” They are: “Save” “Gain” “Reduce” “Increase” and “Improve” When used at the appropriate time, they are incredibly powerful, but only if you can back them up with hard evidence.

Be assured, words matter!


News: OK, that’s it, time to pack the sack, hit the track, and move on out of here for three weeks of “battery re-charge”

As I confirmed yesterday, the store will be in the capable hands of the senior elves, who will ensure that there is a daily guest post from the best minds in the sales space. Oh, and do look out for three special posts from me on Dec 30th/31st and Jan 1st, which I have just finished preparing.

If you are celebrating Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful festive break.

I will be back in the saddle on Tuesday January 15th – JF

PS: Today’s recommendation: Organising an outdoor event? Don’t get caught short – Nixon Toilet Hire are a really superb company to deal with. Check out their range of products


  1. says

    Words do so matter because the reflect both inter and intra personal intelligences better known as Emotional Intelligence.

    Part of the challenge is people are a paradox. They want information in 30 second sound bites for easier processing and yet that want is at direct conflict with their emotional center, the amygdala.

    Words such as need, should, etc. may create a negative emotional reaction AKA judgement. Instead of saying you should do this, speaking a longer sentence “Possibly you may to consider taking this approach” is far more emotionally aware and sensitive but at odds with the conditioned behavior of speaking in 10 words or less.

    Sales people love to hear the word “yes,” but it has no emotional marketing value. Words such as agreement convey 100% more emotional value to the receiver. Also the words agreement creates a subconscious mental contract between the transmitter and the receiver of the communication.

    Great observations, Jonathan, and the blessings of the season to you and yours.


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