Written by Jacky Lim in Business, Soft Skills
Nov 11 th, 2017
Are you in a sales career? Do you run your own business? If so, understanding the use of language to improve sales can hugely benefit you. According to world-renowned leadership coach John Maxwell, “Everyone communicates, but only few truly know how to connect”. You see, in order for your prospects to even start reading or listening to what you have to offer, you have to first connect or establish rapport with them.
I remember when I first started my career in sales more than a decade ago, I often struggled to connect effectively with my prospects and customers. It was not until I came across a powerful NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) tool known as Meta-Programs that I finally discovered the art of rapport building.
Meta-Programs can be referred to as our inputting, sorting and filtering preferences. They play a part in shaping what we constantly focus on and how we make decisions in our life. When you are able to identify the Meta-Programs of your prospects, you will be able to better influence and persuade them.
In this article, I’d like to share with you one Meta-Program you could use to enhance your ability to connect with anyone. ‘Representation systems’ is the study of how our customers habitually re-present or process information in their mind through their five senses. While there are people who are more inclined towards processing information in their mind with images, some prefer to do so with sounds, while others do so through sensations or feelings. As such, they may have different language processing in their brain.
As a sales professional, engineering your words in the way that appeals to your prospect leads him to be more open to your proposal. This is the art of using language to improve sales. By getting your foot in the door, you create more opportunities to effectively sell your product and finally, make them buy it willingly.
The question is: How is it possible for you to detect someone’s preferred representation system? The answer lies in spotting the habitual language patterns a person uses in a conversation! The key is in identifying the prospect or customer’s preferred language.
There are individuals who are more visually-oriented and tend to use certain words or phrases like “see,” “look,” “picture this,” and more illustrative words. They are people who will respond very well to visuals and thus you should never miss out the visuals in your sales pitch. I remember I once made a mistake while presenting to a sales director. Having not prepared any presentation slides for the sales presentation, she was a little taken aback (she is a highly visual person) and felt that I wasn’t well prepared for the presentation. As a result, I was constantly struggling to connect with her. Lesson learnt! Thereafter, I would always prepare powerpoint slides prior to meeting my prospects. In the event I meet someone who is more visual-inclined, I would be ready and able to connect easily with him/her.
Then, there are others who may resonate better with you based on what you say and how you say it. These people often prefer to use auditory words such as “listen,” “hear,” “sounds like,” and even phrases like, “Can you hear what I’m saying?”. They are good listeners and tend to focus a lot of what was being mentioned during a negotiation.
Finally there are those who are more kinesthetic-inclined and prefer you to speak to them using words and phrases that connect with their emotions. Several years ago, I had an interesting revelation when a very close friend of mine gave me honest feedback and told me how I rarely use the phrase “I feel” during our conversations. He did not feel connected to me whenever I used the phrase “I think”!
Identifying the preferred representation system and preferred language of your customers can actually do magic in your ability to connect with them. Build up your sensory acuity skills and be highly adaptable in the use of your language with your prospects. Practice often and you will eventually see yourself making progress, eventually becoming a master of influence and be more proficient in selling.
For more insights on how you can become better at selling, you may also read: Learn the Secrets to Successful Selling
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