Despite the existence of the English dictionary, though now albeit banished to the internet and out of hard print in many circles, words often have different meanings to different people. In any professional and personal communication, it’s important that we recognize this. In the sales profession, it can make or break our income if we are not careful with the words we hear.
When your prospect says, “Your “price” is too high?” what are they really saying about your “price”? Is it the price of your widget or is it the total cost of ownership? When your prospect says, “I need better “service”.” What does “service’ really mean to the prospect? These are words we call “soft” words – they mean very different things to different people, and as sales pro’s we need to be sensitive to words like this.
In fact, most of the words in our vocabulary could probably be considered “soft” words. A “hard” word means the same to all of us. But think about it, what word does mean the same to all of us? What does a “No” mean? To some prospects, it means “not now”, to others, it is “Not now, not tomorrow, never!” To some sales pro’s it says “try harder”. It is, quite often, not a clearly defined negative response despite the apparent simplicity of the word “no”. What is a “win” in the mind of yourself and most important, your prospect? A win for the home team is clearly defined, but what is a win for your customer/prospect. Hmmm. Be careful before you craft a response for your customer or prospect to a collection of soft words. Those soft words deserve some probing.
While you are in the discovery phase with your prospect/client, it never hurts to keep asking questions. Probe on those “soft” words. “What did you mean by that?” “Does this mean that you feel xxxx?” “Help me to understand your use of the word xxxx. Does it mean that……”.
In life, we tend to take some things for granted. Someone else’s choice of words is one of those. We jump to conclusions based on what our clients and prospects say, without additional clarification. But don’t, if you are a sales pro. Learn to recognize a “soft” word when you hear one, and let the alarm bells go off. “Gosh I have to question this a bit!” You’ll be far more successful!
2 years ago