Turns out that in sales, what you say matters more than how you say it.
Using a different word here and there can increase your odds of getting a bigger commission by a minimum of 6%. And you just might be amazed at how easy it is to add more of the most persuasive words to your extended warranty sales script.
*Hint* You just read two of them in the sentence above.
Read on and you’ll learn what you should be saying — and the psychology showing why.
Don’t Say “Remember.”
Do Say “Imagine.”
We’ve all had to take our car to the shop or had an appliance go on the fritz. And if you haven’t experienced that, please send some of your luck our way!
Asking a prospect “Remember the time your check engine light came on?” might seem harmless on the surface. But selling involves digging deep into the subconscious psyche — and asking them to remember might actually hurt your cause more than help it.
Few people have a real photographic memory. They’re more likely to distort what happened or just flat out recall something that never happened.
So, you’re opening the door for your prospect to remember that the check engine light took care of itself the next time they started up.
Instead, you should ask them to imagine.
“Imagine what would happen if your furnace stopped working in January.”
“Imagine if you needed a new engine and didn’t have an extra $4,000 handy.”
Imagining activates the same parts of the brain as remembering, just with fewer constraints and more creativity. Your prospect now has to place themselves in a worst-case scenario. You’re also telling them to do something (imagine) instead of asking them (remember).
After all, people can always just answer “No” if you ask them to remember.
Don’t Say “Contract.”
Do Say “Agreement.”
There’s just something so… definitive and final with a contract. It can make one feel trapped with zero chance of escape.
And that’s precisely why you should avoid using that word at all costs.
Yes, extended warranties are contracts. That’s why they’re also called service contracts!
Just imagine (see what we did there?) what would happen if you tweaked your messaging ever so slightly and said “Agreement” or “Partnership” instead?
Now, instead of making your lead feel like they’ll have no way out — and they really might not, depending on the warranty they get — by phrasing their purchase as an agreement, they are agreeing that your service is valuable. They view your concern as something only a partner in their wellbeing would feel.
After all, purchasing decisions often come down to how they make a prospect feel.
Speaking of feelings…
Don’t Say “Problem.”
Do Say “Easy.”
We can’t argue that service contracts are supposed to solve problems. Just ask one of your customers who filed a claim.
However, just because your products solve problems doesn’t mean you should flat out say that word.
Here’s why: Negative words, words like “problem” or “risk” or “repair” — while all relevant in our industry — conjure up feelings of worry, uncertainty and all things associated with stress.
No one likes being stressed.
Words that trigger positive emotions — a word as short and sweet as “easy” or “fast” — can help make your prospect feel happy or curious or satisfied.
You know, good feelings.
So, phrasing a message like “This extended warranty makes your life easier because your car will be taken care of,” instead of “This extended warranty will help you avoid expensive repair bills,” will make your prospect feel more confident.
And confidence is key.
Don’t Say “But.”
Do Say “And.”
Sometimes, your sense of hearing gains supowerpowers. You can hear something coming from a mile away, even though it hasn’t been said yet.
What are we talking about? The most common word associated with any objection or refutation.
How many times do you think you’ve said “but” during your sales calls? A hundred times? A thousand?
The truth is, that three-letter word might be costing your close rate.
Why is that? Saying “but” implies you aren’t acknowledging your prospect’s concern. You always want your client to feel acknowledged.
“But” builds a verbal barrier.
“And” makes you more sympathetic.
Here’s an example.
Prospect: “I can’t afford that right now.”
Wrong Reply: “I understand your budget is important to you, but you’ll end up saving money in the long run.”
Right Reply: “I understand that your budget is important to you and we want to make sure to find a solution that fits your needs.”
See the difference? How you were less combative and more collaborative?
Try it for a week. Swapping one word for another might pay off more than you think!
Don’t Be Vague.
Do Be Specific.
“Vague words are the enemy of clarity.”
We wish we could claim that quote as our own, but it belongs to Mark Twain.
And almost 200 years later, it’s as true as ever.
Vague words are weak. Vague words are wishy-washy.
Vague words won’t get you anywhere near your goals and specific words just might.
Let’s take the mandatory “asking a prospect for a ‘follow-up’” as an example.
You probably say something like “Would it be alright to follow up with you next week so you have some time to think?”
Now compare that to the definitive, assertive confidence below.
“I’d love to follow up with you for just 10 minutes so you have time to think and come up with any other questions. How does Thursday at 11 am sound?”
By being specific, you:
- Give expectations
- Provide context and clarity
- Promote who’s in control (you)
Not convinced? Here’s another example. Which of the following sounds more convincing?
“Our average client saves hundreds of dollars.”
“Our customers with (a 2009 Honda/10 year old furnace) end up saving an average of $1150 with our (specific tier of service).”
When you’re specific, you demonstrate knowledge and authority. So, be specific — especially when explaining why.
When In Doubt, Say “Because.”
Every decision we make and every action we take has a reason behind it.
Now, that doesn’t mean all reasons are good. And in sales, the reason doesn’t even have to be compelling! In fact, a simple “because” is sometimes all it takes.
In 1978, Elleen Langer, a professor at Harvard University, had people request to cut in line to use a copy machine. The requests were slightly — but specifically — reworded.
Below are those requests and their associated success rates.
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine?” 60% success.
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I have to make copies?” 93% success.
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?” 94% success.
Did you see the jump in compliance with the second example? 33%! That’s statistically significant to say the least.
And the reason is absurd if you think about it: What else would you use a Xerox machine for in the ‘70s?
Here’s how you can put this word to work during your sales call.
Instead of saying: “Can I send you an email with more information?” say “Can I send you an email with more information because you’ll have a better idea of how amazing* our warranties are at making your life more manageable?”
*Amazing is another one of those positive words.
What Else Is There to Say?