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Watch your language

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He who speaks well fights well.”—Proverb

Everyone is scrambling to find new ways to sell more effectively. Products are updated. Materials are redesigned. Sales processes are changed. Any or all of these strategies may or may not increase business. However, there is one very inexpensive area for improvement that is overlooked by most salespeople: language. Improve your word power and you will increase your selling power, guaranteed.

Language and business. In our technological culture, the concept of words as serious sales tools (or weapons, depending on your metaphor of choice) may seem silly. However, I would argue that it is precisely because of current trends that the people who use language with precision, creativity and thoughtfulness will have a distinct competitive advantage and triumph at the end of the sales day, with or without pretty new support materials. There is a golden opportunity awaiting the articulate salesperson in a culture where the art of language has deteriorated.

Are words really that important? What words do you use to describe what you do, how you do it and what the benefits are to your clients? Here are some questions to consider:

  • What words do you use to earn an appointment or a callback? For example, do you say you want to discuss “X” (advertising, software or whatever it is you sell) or do you say you want to discuss some “ideas” to help your prospect “solve a particular problem,” “increase sales” or achieve another benefit relevant to his business? When was the last time you recorded your pitch with an eye toward rating the effectiveness of the specific words you typically use?
  • When you open a business discussion, is every word designed to engage?
  • Do you articulate presentations in the most appealing way or are they filled with clichés and bland language? For example, do you say you have “very effective tools that are easy to use” or that you have “powerful, proven tools that unleash the selling power of a team?”
  • Are your questions crafted to elicit the best information from your prospects while at the same time created to build a comfortable, conversational environment?
  • Are your responses to objections strategically phrased so that your client isn’t put on the defensive?
  • When you move to the next step, do you use non-pressuring word choice?

Like it or not, words matter. Put some thought and care into them. It won’t cost you anything except a little thinking time. The result can mean the difference between a “no” and a “yes.”

Finally, let me share with you five “magic words” that I sprinkle liberally into my conversations with clients and prospects, particularly when I am engaging in dialogue in the “C-lounge.” They are “save,” “gain,” “reduce,” “increase” and “improve.” When used at the appropriate time, they are incredibly powerful—but only if you can back them up. Be assured: Your words matter,

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Jonathan Farrington is a globally recognized business coach, mentor, author, consultant and chairman of The JF Corporation and CEO of Top Sales Associates. For more information and tips from Jonathan, visit, or go to his blog at