Two Magic Words that Help You Get the Results You Want
By Colleen Francis
"The trouble with salespeople is that they'll say anything to make a sale." It's a common complaint and while it's true that there are indeed some who give into that kind of temptation, it's doubtful that you'll ever find one who is successful for very long. Top sales performers get to where they are—and stay there—because they are disciplined at what they do and because they communicate persuasively. This includes being choosy with their words—the opposite of saying anything—so they connect meaningfully with their customers and prospects.
Let me share with you two of the most powerful magic words that you as a sales professional can use to get the results you're looking for.
The Power of "because"
The first word is one that might surprise you, since it's one that we all use a lot in everyday conversation. The word is "because." To explain, let me share with you the results of a landmark social experiment led by Harvard-based behavioral scientist, Dr. Ellen Langer, who demonstrated how careful use of "because" can be amazingly persuasive with people. In Dr. Langer's experiment, her assistant asked people waiting to use a Xerox machine if she could jump ahead of the line. Langer found that if the line-jumper simply asked if she could use the photocopier first ("Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?"), sixty percent would comply.
That's not a bad result at all, but when the question was changed slightly, the results were truly astonishing. When the line-jumper asked: "May I use the Xerox machine because I am in a rush?" nearly everyone (94 percent) complied!
There's valuable insight in this experiment that we can apply to sales and the art of persuasion. First, it's surprising how well people tend to respond to a request when you first ask for their consent. And yet people respond even better to request or an idea when they are given a rationale that supports what you're asking them to do.
Consider how this can be applied to your work as a sales professional. The next time you're writing the closing line to a sales letter or email and you want to encourage your reader to take action today, rather than close with "call us today," try this instead: "Act now and call us today, because this offer expires on November 30th." The results you get could really surprise you.
The Power of "never"
Let's turn now to the second magic word you need in your persuasion toolbox: "never." It's a word that works in ways altogether different from the word "because." While that latter word is commonplace and helps people form in their own minds a logical explanation for why they should do what you're asking them to do, "never" is a word that people don't want to be associated with.
In sales, you can leverage that to your advantage when dealing with someone who seems unwilling to make the commitment to buy. For example, you might say: "you have looked at our products and you have considered the benefits of choose us over our competitors…and yet I get the sense that there will never be a chance for us to do business together."
Most people when they hear that will feel compelled to say or do something to position themselves as far as possible from the word "never." After all, doing business with people is a positive thing, so who would want to be seen as the person responsible for that never happening?
An Important Caveat
It's important to remember that while these two magic words—because and never—can be very powerful, they also have to be used with great care. They lose much of their effect if they're over-used. And each time you use these tools, you need to be 100% certain that they're backed by the truth, otherwise your credibility can be seriously damaged. As Zig Ziglar once said: "The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity." Persuasive tools aren't meant to deceive your customers, rather they are to be used to help people make good choices, to commit to an idea and to help put you back in control of a sale.
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Make sure you check out Colleen's latest book, Nonstop Sales Boom for powerful strategies to drive consistent sales growth quarter after quarter, year after year.
Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions (www.EngageSelling.com). Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.
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