What’s the riskiest word in sales?

by on March 21, 2011 · 4 Comments POSTED IN: Top Sales Dog
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The riskiest word in sales is also the shortest. And the most common:
“I.”

The ordinary sales presentation has innumerable references to the self. As in, “I think…” “I understand…” “We recommend…” and that old saw, “We’re the best….”

Sprinkled like weevils in a sack of flour, they ruin your message by shifting the emphasis away from the buyer and back to the seller.

Like everyone in the world, the buyer has one ongoing, overriding concern – his or her own interest. The harsh reality: Buyers don’t care what you think, what you want or what you believe. They want to know what’s in it for them.

Try rehearsing your sales presentation without mentioning “I” or “we.” See how the spotlight is redirected back to the buyer.

Good words for sales
According to a Yale University study, the most persuasive words in the language are:

  • You
  • Money
  • Save
  • New
  • Results
  • Easy
  • Health
  • Safety
  • Love
  • Discovery
  • Proven
  • Guarantee

Procter & Gamble, which spends billions on advertising, adds two more: “Free” and “Sex.”

Notice that these are all about the buyer, not the seller.

From “Soft Selling in a Hard World,” by Jerry Vass. Published by Running Press. Info: www.vass.com

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4 Comments on This Post

  1. Tomborg
    March 22, 2011 - 7:32 pm

    Michael, your words of advice are right on the mark. People don’t care about you. They care about themselves. When we use the words me or I, we turn our prospects off and short change our efforts in trying to help them.

  2. Tomborg
    March 22, 2011 - 7:32 pm

    Michael, your words of advice are right on the mark. People don’t care about you. They care about themselves. When we use the words me or I, we turn our prospects off and short change our efforts in trying to help them.

  3. March 6, 2012 - 3:18 am

    Another great article here. Overusing I and we in sales doesn’t sounds good. In my own assessment it’s too selfish. Buyers/consumers nowadays were too clever  on choosing the product and services that satisfies their needs. Even if you’re the best but if you can satisfy them they will find another provider that can give them what they want.

    Thanks for laying this down. Salespeople will be reminded and will be aware of the impact of using the riskiest word.

  4. March 6, 2012 - 3:18 am

    Another great article here. Overusing I and we in sales doesn’t sounds good. In my own assessment it’s too selfish. Buyers/consumers nowadays were too clever  on choosing the product and services that satisfies their needs. Even if you’re the best but if you can satisfy them they will find another provider that can give them what they want.

    Thanks for laying this down. Salespeople will be reminded and will be aware of the impact of using the riskiest word.

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