Select words that ‘affect’ for a better sales effect

Today I’ll follow up on this week’s newsletter, where you saw how the simple word “vinegar” influenced how people perceived flavor.  The business point was that the same holds true for sales.  Words have an “affective” effect when they trigger emotion.

 Scientists have been studying this subject for many years and continually validate it through controlled experiments, such as the beer story in my newsletter. One test demonstrates that people respond positively when they hear “excited, alert and determined” and negatively when they hear “upset, guilty and jittery.”

 Let’s look at some other examples and see if they influence the choices you make when you are trying to persuade others, as in sales and sales management scenarios.

 A sales manager announces in a meeting, “If we don’t hit goal this quarter there’s going to be some serious butt-kicking.”  The team knows that no one is going to be physically punished, but the negative language with its threatening tone does nothing to stimulate a change in behavior, and will more likely cause resentment because of the informal threat.

 I interviewed the manager who made this comment after the meeting and he said, “Oh, they know I was making a joke.”  Lesson:  Don’t make that joke.

 Do you ever ask your team to “try to do” something?  Or tell a customer that you are going to “try to get back” to him with an answer?  I think you’re getting the point. Fix these simple sentences so they say, “Here’s what we’re going to do…” in order to obtain the desired feeling or attitude.

 Here are two more words that act as powerful buying triggers.  52% of consumers are more likely to enter a store if there is a “Sale” sign in the window.  This tells me that I might consider using the word “sale” or “promotion” or “campaign” to stimulate interest in a new product.  And 60% of consumers feel more at ease and are likely to buy a product that has the word “guaranteed” associated with it.

 In previous posts I’ve shown you examples that prove that people make buying decisions based on how they feel about things.  A University of Chicago study regarding insurance purchases drew two conclusions.  First, people are more willing to purchase insurance for a given object, the more affection they have for that object, rather than for financial reasons regarding the object’s monetary value. And second, if the object is damaged people are also more willing to go through the trouble of claiming a fixed amount of compensation, the more affection they have for the object.  Both these activities are not predicted by standard decision theories.

 So if I’m selling insurance, you can bet I’m going to ask questions to find out how positively attached my prospect is to the object to be insured.

 So as I said in the newsletter, practice your sales presentations to add positive language, and remove words that have a negative effect on the listener. It’s good business and will help you…

 Think Like Your Customer

 One final note:  It’s holiday time now and my goal is to spend it with my family and friends, and also give you a break from my twice-a-week observations about sales and sales management practices.  So I’ll leave you alone until after the New Year, when I expect to return with more fresh and interesting ideas for your sales success.

 I hope you get lots of time to do the things you should do during the holiday season, and rejoin me right back here on January 3rd.  Happy holidays!  Gregory

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at

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