Linguistics is the study of human language. Since a sales pitch is essentially just a conversation between two people, those with a deep understanding of the nuances behind the spoken word – or linguistics – will find more success in the sales profession.
One of the most crucial sales linguistic skills is monitoring your prospect’s voice intonation. A few minutes into a sales meeting, when a prospect gets comfortable with you and relaxes, you should hear that prospect’s baseline intonation – their natural pitch, volume and cadence.
Pay attention to changes in their baseline. Changes might indicate boredom, excitement or anxiety. If they begin talking louder or faster, it could mean they aren’t being completely truthful with you or are holding something back. Similarly, if their body language alters significantly, something is changing for your prospect internally. Great salespeople can identify this change and adapt their strategy before a prospect talks himself out of a sale.
For years, salespeople have been taught to use a strategy called “mirroring and matching” where you subtly align your body language with that of your prospect, which can lead to rapport building as they feel in sync with you. The same principles hold true when it comes to linguistics. People process information using their sensory systems – taste, smell, touch, hearing and sight.
If a prospect says “I really like the way this looks,” they are in sight mode. As such, your response might be, “I often hear from our customers how delighted they are with the sleek design of our products.” In other words, you’re validating the sensory mode they are using to make a decision about buying from you.
Make claims about your products or services in a way that doesn’t invite your prospect to challenge you by simply adjusting the way you position your statement. For example, if you run a medical practice and are selling other physicians on referring more patients your way, you wouldn’t want to claim that you offer the best care in the city within your specialty, as that invites questions.
Instead, you might explain that after referring patients to your practice, other physicians have cited highly positive feedback from their patients. Better yet, tell them about a recent marketplace survey you’ve conducted citing that 95 percent of doctors who have referred to your practice report extremely high levels of satisfaction with those referrals. Prospective buyers or influencers are unlikely to argue with what other people think – especially when those people aren’t around to argue back.
Learning the ins and outs of “talking the talk” in sales is sure to deliver deeper prospect engagement and a stronger close rate.
Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and Founder/CEO of RedRover Sales & Marketing, www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).