In sales and marketing words are everything. A lesson from the pulpit, which my daughter-in-law shared with me about her minister, proves the point.
In a recent sermon from a female minister, the minister having a new hairdresser was asked, “What do you do for a living?” The wise minister knowing religion is a sticky topic, prefaces her answer with, “I’ll tell you but please don’t edit, don’t make assumptions, or don’t get all freaked out.” With the hairdresser nodding okay, the minister told her she was a minister.
The hairdresser was silent and got and distant. Seeing this reaction before, the minister tells the hairdresser how she serves a large community of 1000 in the neighborhood. At that moment the hairdresser drops her scissors and her face turns bright red and she asks, “1000 people?!” The minister says yes; Unitarian church. The hairdresser sighing with relief says, “Oh my god, I thought you said you were a mistress!”
We may think the words we use particular to our industry, product or service, are easily understood by others. Say you are a website designer and you specialize in search engine optimization. Why use that phrase until you know the level of knowledge your customer has?
Take clues from silence or non-verbals. “It looks like I may not have said something so clearly?” Give the prospect a chance to acknowledge this to be true or not and then continue. Use your ears to your advantage. What is the silence saying to you? Does the person just need time to think? Pay attention to any dropping of scissors, or other non-verbals.
Be aware how you are pronouncing your words. When I hired a speaking coach he taught some techniques to avoid monotone. Use inflection, emphasis on key words. Depending how inflection used the entire meaning of a sentence can change. It’s a good idea to pace your rate according to the rate of whom you are talking with. And most important, is clarity. Always speak succinctly.
Use common words, take clues from silence or non-verbals and always speak succinctly. The next time you are at your barber or hairdresser, if you stick with this, your hair will look fine. The next time you are with a prospect, your words will be understood.
How do you think words matter?
Then use your words to describe your natural tendency when it comes to networking, schmoozing. Do you sell and hate it? Take a moment to get honest with yourself when you answer this quick survey.