In Part One we saw that a person’s individual belief system has more to do with how they feel about and respond to certain words than do their literal dictionary definitions. And, those who desire to communicate effectively and persuasively keep that in mind.
Are their words and phrases, however, that almost universally (at least within a specific language/culture) elicit certain feelings, negative or positive?
I believe there are. In this article, let’s look at just a few within the context of selling.
When beginning my career as a salesperson, one of the first books I read was Tom Hopkins’ classic, How to Master the Art of Selling. It’s actually where I received my first lesson regarding the power of words. In one chapter, he went through a litany of terms he called “Rejection Words” (terms that trigger fear and were more likely to keep a person from buying) and then provided their counterparts, which he called “Go-Ahead Words.”
Here are a few rejection words he mentioned, along with their more positive replacements in parenthesis: “sign the contract” (“okay the agreement”), “cost/price” (“total investment” or “valued at”), “down payment” (“initial investment”), “buy” (“own”).
And, you might remember my feelings about another horrible word used by salespeople, which is “pitch” (“presentation” or “sharing”). I learned that from Tom, as well.
I know you understand that replacing rejection words with go-ahead words and terms is not meant to manipulate someone into doing something they don’t want to do. In actuality, that really couldn’t happen. On the contrary, the pupose is to keep from scaring someone away from doing something they want to do.
The fact is that words are powerful; they present pictures and elicit feelings, both positive and negative. And presenting the right picture to the right person in order to help them “OWN” the right product, is simply a positive move, for both of you.
In Part Three, we’ll look at a couple of fun examples outside of this context.