Watch your language! (prospecting tip 2 of 5)

Even if you can’t see it, when salespeople talk about their stuff (short hand for products & services) prospects & customers are rolling their eyes.

If you were here for our last post, I hope you have worked on your list of what your stuff:

  • increases
  • decreases

and started to think in terms of what it does for your customers!

Now think about your messaging: opening statements, voicemail messages (more on those later in the month), follow through emails….. you know the language you use when you are speaking with prospects and customers.

If you are like me – right now you’re horrified at the “me, me, me” sound of your messaging.

The good news is, you can change that.

The bad news is it will take LOTS of effort!

step 1: the easy part

When I tell you step 1 is easy, I should say “easier” instead. Don’t get me wrong, wrapping your head around word changes and making them sound like you takes effort too.

Creating Your New Language

Now with that great list of what your products and services increases and decreases start brainstorming for words that describe those things. Need an example?


  • Occasion: moment, lash, instant, jiffy, minute, second, shake, split second, trice, twinkle, wink, while
  • Adventure: experience, happening, escapade, lark, act, action, deed, doing, exploit, episode, occasion, baptism, ordeal, test, trial, tribulation, enterprise, risk, venture, expedition, exploration, feat, mission, performance, quest, stunt
  • Duration: ate, life, life span, lifetime, run, standing, spell, stretch; span, tenure, term, hitch, tour, turn
  • Age:  day, epoch, era, period, cycle, generation, year, span, spell, stretch, while

All that from going to and using the the thesaurus function.

If on your increase/decrease list you have “decrease time to implement” you’re not going to use epoch… or maybe you are “Tired of feeling like you’ve completed an epoch journey after your software upgrades? That is why our developers took care to ensure an easy upgrade path even with customization.”

yup, just made that up while typing. You know why, because I didn’t worry about it being PERFECT. So make sure while you play around with this you follow a few simple rules.

  1. brainstorming comes up with crazy ideas ~ don’t limit your own thinking, that comes in the editing stage LATER
  2. if you’ve never used mind mapping this may be the time to use the technique
  3. work with other salespeople selling the same stuff? this would be a great working lunch project ~ multiple people bring different perspectives.
  4. once you have all the ideas out there, step 1 is to make sure you try out the words out loud (antiestablishmentarianism may be a cool word, but it will not help you sell if you can’t say it easily and with confidence).
  5. edit your brainstorming to what YOU would say ~ that means the lovely team you created needs to break up and work this part out on their own
  6. create a few catch phrases for yourself along with how you would use them in an email (the written and spoken messages will probably look different, but with the same intention).

safety tip = there are salespeople out there who at this point are saying “but I work for a company, they do all the marketing and they DON’T do what you’re talking about.” Well if you’re looking for an excuse not to put in the effort on your own, congratulations – that is a great excuse, use it!

If instead you’re looking to increase your ability to sell, realize you can change… how you talk with prospects and customers… how you communicate the value of what you sell… how you word the short emails you send after sales conversations.

step 2: the hard part

Changing Your Own Behavior

Now that you have your messaging, it is time to try it out.

Play around with the new language you’ve created for the next week ~ give yourself permission to edit as you go along (as long as it still meets the criteria of what does the prospect get/what does it do for them).

The only thing I can promise is that:

  • it will feel weird (changing habits always will)
  • it will take constant effort (think about taking a different route to work each day)
  • the more stress in your day, the more difficult it will be to NOT fall back into your habits from before
  • it takes around 90 days to really get a new roll going (30 days to refine what you want to do, 30 days to repeatedly break your own pattern, 30 days to solidify the new one in your repertoire).

Please remember that for some of you (or us I should say) we have developed what we say over YEARS. It will be very easy to go back to your old ways in the beginning, forgive yourself when that happens ~ take a deep breath and say

“but you don’t care about that,

what you want to know is

what _________ will do for you…”

and start over.

Now that you have what you need to begin changing the language you use when speaking with prospects and customers, the effort begins!

Prospecting tip 3 in the next post will discuss WHO you talk with. Need a preview? Check out A Chip Off the Block: Go Fly A Kite Edition


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