The Phrase That Pays

March 11, 2005
Learn why communication is an essential part of your sales technique

About the author: Carl Davidson is president of Sales & Management Solutions, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in sales and management video training and live seminars exclusively for the water equipment industry. He has authored several books including Financial Secrets of the Water Improvement Industry and numerous articles. Send comments to [email protected]. For a free demonstration video, newsletter and list of products, contact Carl at 800.941.0068, or by e-mail at [email protected];

One of the things that has helped my sales is to watch customers closely during a demo. Watch their body language as you talk. You will notice that some words and phrases warm them up to the sale while others make them wince and withdraw. Good salespeople choose phrases and words carefully, they constantly watch the customer in order to weed out the words and phrases that don’t work and emphasize the ones that do.

Create Emotions

Phrases and words that work are ones that draw a powerful mental picture for the client. They create an emotional reaction, because after all, people buy for emotional reasons.

Here is a good example used by my partner, Ric Harry, as part of his drinking water demo that creates an emotional reaction. He asks his clients, “What is the first thing you want to do when you get out of a swimming pool full of chlorinated water? Sure, you want to rinse the smell of chlorine off your clothes and skin, don’t you? Let me ask you, how do you ‘rinse’ the chlorine off when you drink chlorinated water?”

Because this can be a negative image for the customer to absorb, let’s take a look at some more positive images portrayed by powerful phrases.

Build Value

For example, I like to introduce an RO as “a miracle and a military secret.” I have watched the eyes of hundreds of families when I have said that and I think it has helped me get the sale. After all, who wouldn’t want to own a miracle and a military secret? I go on to explain that, “It’s a miracle when you think that an RO pushes your water through a membrane with holes 1/10,000 the size of a human hair. The holes are so small only water can pass through, and the water you drink is freshly squeezed and pure.” Freshly squeezed is another powerful phrase, then I add, “ROs were originally a military secret, designed so our ships could make pure drinking water for the crew from ocean water. I think it’s amazing that this fantastic technology is affordable to customers.”

In my opinion this is a great example where the phrasing builds the value of an RO. After those sentences, how much would you think an RO is worth? The phrase and the mental picture have built value.

Sell Savings

Here is another phrase Rainsoft salespeople use that I think is one of the best

I have ever ran into. Before they do the soap flask demo, they are trained to say, “Bob, Alice, I’ve made some big claims tonight about how much you could be saving with our equipment and I wouldn’t expect you to believe me without absolute proof. What I am about to show you will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that all the claims I have made are absolutely true.” I think this phrase gets people to pay very close attention and really sells them on the savings. Remember that if they don’t believe you about the savings, you won’t get the sale. This powerful introductory sentence goes a long way toward getting the sale. To leave it out would be to cut the effectiveness of the demo by a huge amount.

Sell Quality

There are even winning phrases for people who tell you they think their water is good enough without your equipment. A salesperson at a seminar gave me this phrase and I liked it. “Fred, can I ask if you are saving for your retirement or are you going to get by just on the social security?” Most customer usually say they are saving. When asked why, most say they want a better standard of living. The salesperson then can reply. “Exactly, and that’s why I am here tonight. I’ll test your water. If you are happy with the quality of your water, you don’t need us, but if you want a higher standard for your family—like you do when it comes to your retirement—we can help.”

Sell Availability

Here’s a final one I use when the customers tell me they buy bottled water. First I ask how much they spend on bottled water per month. Then, I ask if they cook using bottled water. Most couples say “No.” I ask why and they almost invariably say, “It’s too expensive.” I reply, “It doesn’t make sense to cook your chicken, rice and noodles in water you don’t consider good enough to drink, does it?” When they agree, I am well on my way to a sale. I have found this to be a very powerful inducement to consider an RO and a way to justify the payment easily.

Final Thoughts

I think all devoted water equipment salespeople will agree that they choose their words, phrases and body language very carefully. So ask yourself how does your demo measure up? Is every word and action carefully chosen based on the reactions of hundreds of customers in the past, or do you just “wing it” and a river of words pours out without much prior thought?

Here is an interesting parallel. If you go to see a comedian doing a 60-minute one man show, they will make you feel they are just making it up as they go along. But it takes a lot of hard work to come up with 60 minutes of material that works. They are constantly editing, improving and honing their craft. You need to hold yourself up to similar standards. The words, phrases and body language you use have to draw an emotional picture to make people want to buy no matter how much your equipment costs.

Work on your phrases, words and body language and you will be surprised how much these factors contribute to increased sales.


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About the Author

Carl Davidson

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