...an additional $1 million per quarter this year. Lenann successfully addressed a problem that plagued us for years... David R. Sandison, Ph.D.
Manager, MEMS Technologies Department – Sandia National Laboratories


Choosing Your Words

Your choice of words has tremendous power to influence your prospect, as well as yourself. Anthony Robbins, in his book Awaken the Giant Within (one of my favorite books for motivating great sales performance), talks about the power of words to shape our results.

Robbins suggests you see yourself not as “overwhelmed” but as “in demand,” not “frustrated” but “fascinated,” not “irritated” but “stimulated,” not “lonely” but “available.”

The same principle can be applied to the words you use when selling. Stay positive!

Try saying: “So, what’s the opportunity for you, then, in this area, Mary Lou?”

Or: “Fred, do you think there’s an opportunity for Acme Company there?”

My experience is that most people react favorably to the word “opportunity,” perhaps because it suggests two things:

  1. That there’s something good here; and
  2. That they’ll have a chance to decide whether or not to take advantage of it!

Suggesting choice often appeals to prospects because people expect salespeople to behave like the stereotype of the used-car salesman, making an iron-clad case for whatever they’re selling, arguing that they have no choice but to buy. How oppressive!

By contrast, when you talk about “opportunity,” most people will want to know a bit more.

A few other words to avoid: “pitch(es)” and “deals.” Tom Hopkins, writing years ago in his bestseller How to Master the Art of Selling, accurately pointed out that these words cheapen you and your offering.

My advice, also consistent with Tom’s, is to avoid the word “contract.” Use “agreement.”

And please, please, please, avoid saying that you offer “solutions” of any kind. Yes, I know that everyone in the information technology world and also, to some extent, the consulting world says they offer “solutions.”

My response to all this talk of solutions is this: How dare you presume to offer solutions? You don’t even know whether I have a problem!

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