Mark Twain once said, “The difference between similar words and the right words is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” In sales, your choice of words can make the difference between getting the sale — or at least, getting closer to the sale — and having no opportunity at all.
For example, have you ever asked prospects when their insurance renews? What does the word “renew” suggest? Does it give your prospect the impression that insurance automatically continues year after year, when in fact the current carrier will re-underwrite the account, and may decide not to “renew” at all? And if the insured is offered a “renewal,” it will be at a different premium, and possibly different terms.
Isn’t the appropriate word “expire?” That is, after all, where the term “ex-date” comes from. So when you say to a prospect, “When does your policy expire?” what message do you convey?
Cheap or inexpensive?
Have you ever told a prospect your policy is “cheaper?” Your proposal should never be the cheapest. Do you want to drive the cheapest car? I don’t. Do you go to the cheapest doctor?
Focus on value, not on price. The aggressive ad campaigns on the part of some national carriers suggest low price is the only criteria for the purchase of insurance. You and your agency bring so much more than that to the table.
Stay away from using the words “quote” or “bid.”
Those words suggest your product is a commodity, the same as everyone else’s, with the only difference being price. It’s a huge red flag to learn that your prospect puts the insurance out to bid periodically. Do you really want to bid on an account knowing that more than 90 percent of all commercial accounts are going to remain with the incumbent agent in any given year?
Another word to avoid is “deal.”
Do you look for the best deal from the surgeon who’s going to do your heart bypass operation? Probably not.
Don’t say “Truthfully” or “honestly” or “trust me.”
Have you been untruthful or dishonest up until now? The use of these words may plant a seed of doubt in your prospect’s mind.
“Contract” can have a negative connotation.
This suggests red tape, lawyers and cause for caution. Say “agreement” instead.