Organizational Technologies Dorothy Leeds

About Dorothy
Books & Tapes
Contact Dorothy


by Dorothy Leeds

Here's a riddle: What is a financial advisor’s most basic tool, there at the tip of the tongue, and yet one of the greatest enhancers he or she can ever use? The answer is simple -- The Word. The ordinary, every day word that can turn you into a dynamic, inspiring and powerful salesperson.

How do you add power to your sales? With language -- simple, natural language. You don't have to know unusual or complicated words to speak powerfully. You don't have to have a limitless vocabulary, or use big words to make a big impression. The important thing is to use language that is comfortable for you, and use it in a creative, colorful way.

Look for the most interesting word or phrase to express your meaning. Stay away from clichés. If you're looking for comparisons, make up your own. In my workshops and seminars, I often ask participants to create alternatives to cliched phrases. Instead of saying, "white as a sheet," one person suggested "white as your newly-cleaned teeth." Instead of "quiet as a mouse," someone came up with "silent as a bell that's lost its clapper."

If you do use complicated language, make sure that you choose the word you want. Would you buy a policy from an agent who said, "The coverage you'll get from this policy is inconsequential. I mean incontrovertible. I mean inconceivable. Well, you'll get good coverage." He was trying to impress, and all he did was make you doubt his sincerity.

Powerful Speech Avoids Passive Language

Social scientists at Duke University have been able to pinpoint a specific pattern that identifies powerless speech. Powerless speakers use hedges such as "I think," "it seems like," and "you know." Their language is filled with modifiers such as "kinda" and "sort of."

We all do this, all the time. We modify a powerful statement and weaken its value. We say, "I think" or "I'll try" or "I hope." If we say, "I think perhaps this could possibly be a good idea," it is clear that not much is going to happen. Try saying, "This is a good idea. It's worked for others and will work for you." If you feel strongly about something, use strong words. If you sound as if you have doubts about what you have to say, then your clients will too.

The 12 Most Persuasive Words

There are two components to creating powerful language: eliminating the words that detract from your message and adding language that, although ordinary, resonates. The key to power language is to recognize that words have something more than their basic meaning: they have emotional content, too. If you want to persuade your clients you must search for language that has emotional appeal. While you're aiming in that direction, you'll find these 12 words (and their synonyms) coming to your aid over and over again:

1. Discovery. With shades of childhood treasures, this word conveys excitement and adventure. If you tell your clients that you want to share a discovery with them, you start to make your enthusiasm contagious. Let them detect, find, uncover, recognize and realize the value of the product or service you offer. It will be a real eye-opener.

2. Easy. Many people are basically lazy and will look for a quick, uncomplicated answer. Sharing one with a prospect will certainly score points, and open up channels of communication for you. Simple, straightforward, uncomplicated, easy to understand -- all these terms reassure clients that no hidden difficulties lie ahead. A very powerful statement is made by combining these first two persuaders and saying, "You'll discover how easy it is to get information from our customer service department."

3. Guaranty. We are all reluctant to try something new because of the risk involved. Take away that fear by guaranteeing a sure thing, and you can sell your clients on the point you're trying to make. Assure your clients that if they should have any questions or problems, you'll be there to help them out.

4. Health. Self-preservation is a great motivator. Let clients know how much better they'll feel when they use your product or service. Also, salespeople who foster a healthy atmosphere and attitude themselves are more effective sellers. Take breathing, stretching and stress reduction breaks between presentations.

5. Love. The thing we can't do without, and the one word that evokes all kinds of romantic fantasies. It takes people out of themselves and into a world free of tension and worry. Tom Peters made passion a corporate goal. Find the romance in whatever product you're selling.

6. Money. People react perceptibly at the thought of saving money. Who doesn't want to save money, get a bargain, take advantage of a golden opportunity, or profit from an idea that will pay big dividends? Everyone does; use these phrases wisely and watch your investment in words pay its own big dividends!

7. New. Salespeople are always striving to impart new information and sell new products. Clients want to know about new products that are available to them; they also want to know that you are up-to-date about all the newest regulations that effect their financial needs.

8. Proven. Assure clients that what you're selling has already been tested and given the go-ahead. Although everyone likes things that are new, they also want to know that they're not taking too great a risk. Let them know your claims have been established by experts and authorities, or have been demonstrated again and again.

9. Results. This is the bottom line -- where you tell people about what they get, what will happen, etc. Results are what really count. Let clients know right up front that they can count on you, your product or your service to produce the results they need and expect.

10. Safety. Unless your customer has a death wish, the idea of safety is very comforting. Guarantee your clients' peace of mind. Offer them full protection, total security; let them know you will protect their valuable investment. Take away the guesswork and the needless worry.

11. Save. Even the wealthiest people shop for bargains. Why? Because everyone likes to save. It's not just money that entices; people also want to hear about saving time and energy.

12. You. I've saved the most important word for last. Powerful salespeople personalize their presentations and use this word often. You can't stir up excitement if you don't address your clients directly. Anything you say to personalize your sales approach, make your clients feel special and that you're looking out for their best interest will gain you significant results. It shows clients that you care about them. And that's really what powerful selling is all about.

Power language is appropriately named; use it well and you will be perceived as being powerful also. As Mae West so aptly put it, "It's not what I say, but how I say it." Smart woman, that Mae.

  Dorothy Leeds
  800 West End Ave.
  New York, NY   10025
  212.932.8364 (FAX)

Workshops | Coaching | Keynotes | Articles | Books & Tapes
About Dorothy | Contact Dorothy | Home

Copyright © 2006   Dorothy Leeds Organizational Technologies