Language is important, and as my business partner Tim always says, “the words we choose determine our success”.  That doesn’t mean just grammar, although don’t kid yourself, if you use the wrong Your/You’re, your credibility takes a hit (except for texting, because everyone knows AutoCorrect is out to get us).

Language is also important in the sense that word choice can often change the context of what we say, especially in the written format. Even more subtle, and even more dangerous to a sale, is the mixed messages we send in language or behavior that affects how the prospect sees us, and how they see our value proposition in the sales conversation.

We often find our prospects reacting in ways we did not anticipate only to realize later that we seeded those reactions with our word choice in our emails and marketing materials.

I found this pic online the other day:

This made me laugh. The blue writing is in my mind a perfect metaphor of a prospect’s reaction. The red is the sales message that was sent out. Ordering someone not to follow the rules is funny from an ironic perspective, but really counterproductive from the sales approach point of view.

I don’t believe in scripts. They always sound read and never fully conversational (and conversational is what we should be going for to connect human to human with our clients). That said, locking in some good language choices or “talk tracts” is a good idea.

A couple of quick examples:

– Delete saying “to be honest”, or “to tell you the truth” from your dialect. Study after study shows that those words imply you are not always honest and harm the development of trust with clients. Small verbal tic, but huge impact.

– Review all your marketing materials and delete any “Assumed reaction” language. Aso delete it from your talk tracts. These are things like “You’ll love it” or “this will work for you”. People don’t like to be told what to think. They will usually be far more receptive to what others think. especially similar “others”. Instead, use language like “What our current clients love about us is…..” or “One of the most popular features of our product is..” Anchor the brags about your product on the consensus opinions of others. It’s far more compelling.

A good exercise is to regularly seek the proofing of someone outside your company or even industry on all written materials and talk tracts.

And for the love of all this is holy…..please proof your stuff. Not just spell checking. Real words can have the wrong meaning. 15 years ago, one of my clients sent out a proposal (written by an intern) that stipulated that billng was “In the rear” instead of “in arrears”. Not surprisingly, they did not gain credibility or trust with the client.