5 Powerful, Positive Sales Phrases
After reading my post 4 Common weak phrases that erode telesales success, Charlotte Boston wrote me last week, with this:
“I have just come across your blog, and although helpful in directing people away from the negative phrases they may habitually use, there seems to be a space left that needs filling with positive suggestions… I find a there is a lot of information on the internet that tells us what are the worst things to do, yet to come across any specific information on what we could be doing - i.e. positive phrases to use - is a challenging quest. Perhaps you can make some suggestions as well, to fill the gaps left in our sentences?”
You’re right, Charlotte. There are some great ways to cast information in a positive light, and here are some of my favorites. They’re all about taking what is essentially a “negative” concept and voicing it positively. Here are some that come right from my inside sales training courses. Let's take a look:
1) “If you could wave ‘the magic wand,’ how could [my competitor] be even better?” Here’s one I use when my prospect tells me he or she is talking to and likes, or is already using a competitor. I think it’s unprofessional to slam the competition, for a number of reasons. Asking “how could they be even better?” is a positive way of uncovering information that might allow you to get in the door, especially if the answer leads to something you do that the competitor doesn’t.
2) “…but we Can do this:…” Prospects often ask for things we can’t do, everything from pricing to capability. Instead of responding “No, we don’t do that,” and inviting an uncomfortable pause, I like to phrase it like this: “You know, unfortunately we can’t do that, but we CAN do XYZ,” and indicate an alternative that’s a propos to what you’ve been discussing. For this to really work, your alternative has to be something that is linked to something else the prospect has told you is important. Here’s an example from the real world, from when a prospect has budgetary issues because there is very little money left in the quarterly budget, and wants a discount: “I’m sorry, we just can’t discount it, but here’s a great idea. We can split the invoice over two quarters, and use the budget from this quarter, then bill the remainder the following quarter.”
3) “There’s a good reason we do this, and it actually benefits YOU.” This is a response to a request the prospect has that flies in the face of your company’s policy. Too many times, sales reps have responded with “I’m sorry, that’s the company policy.” This often leaves the prospect feeling the company is unwieldy, rigid, and unfriendly. Again, my example is going to be about discounting, because many times, that’s where the “company policy” verbiage is invoked. Try this instead: “Actually, the fact that we hold to our pricing benefits you. We plug much of our revenue right back into Research and Development so that your investment in our solution continues to have value year after year. The roadmap of technology is littered with companies that couldn’t maintain profitability and went out of business, and their solutions were no longer supported. That’s not our business model, and we want to be there year after year for you.”
4) “I can understand why you feel that way.” Often, objections raised by the prospect are based upon misconceptions, or poor or wrong information. Sometimes the objections are valid. It’s easy for a sales rep to get flustered when an objection is based on a misconception or bad information, and begin the rebuttal by telling the prospect “That’s simply not true,” “That’s incorrect,” or “You haven’t been given the right information.” And that’s just going to create a debate, and maybe some ill will, too. Instead, I take the approach that the prospect’s always smart and perhaps a little skeptical, so I like to agree that the prospect may have a point, and try to understand the situation from his or her perspective. So after opening my response with “I can understand why you feel that way,” I agree that if I were armed with the same information, I’d probably feel the same way, too. And then I offer the phrase “So here’s another perspective that might be worth considering…” and offer some new information that would put my solution in a better light. That way, I’m having a dialogue, and not lecturing. Agreeing that the prospect may have a point is not agreeing that the prospect is right. But it posits that the prospect isn’t stupid. All of us who’ve bought anything bought, at times, because we had the wrong information, and found later that we could have made a better choice. But I’ll bet that if we felt belittled by the salesperson that wasn’t diplomatic in countering our objections, we didn’t buy from that individual.
5) “Here’s how you can make your call even more powerful.” This one’s about coaching, but yes, it’s still about Sales, and it’s geared toward Managers. We do a lot of personal coaching on how to make better Lead Qualification and Sales calls. After a call, instead of telling a rep what went wrong, then “correcting” him or her, I like to say “here’s how you can make your call even more powerful.” The remediation that is offered is exactly the same information, but casting it in a positive light makes the rep feel that you are teaming together for his or her success, rather than the rep feeling that all you’re doing is offering “gotchas.” Positive reinforcement encourages reps to want to be coached, and reflects a positive attitude that migrates directly to prospect interactions. Negative reinforcement isn’t going to send any rep running enthusiastically to make the next call. And enthusiasm in team communication and prospect interaction is what you want, isn’t it?
So there are 5 great positive phrases that can be used in a myriad of situations. Add them to your Best Practices Playbook.