Without realizing it, sales people have a tendency to give customers reasons to put them off, say “no,” change their minds and so on. The key is to focus on the sales language.

For example, let’s say a customer walks into a business and the sales person says, typically, “may I help you?”

The customer responds (73 percent of the time), invariably, with, “no thank you, I’m just looking.”

And that’s the rub, right there.

The sales person ended the sales process before it even began because he/she was trying to be nice and polite and professional.

Sales people repeat this pattern over and over again without fully considering the impact on the customer of the words they use. Sales people are conditioned to be this way. The language keeps them saying the same words and their conditioning prevents them from changing.

You should never ask for permission to do your job, as the question always gives the customer the right to say “no.”

Avoid these phrases: “would you,” “could you,” “how about,” “what if,” “can I,” and of course, “may I.”

Always start with an open-ended question.

-Neil Carlson

It’s All in the Words

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