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Why the words that work for other salespeople won’t work for you

5 min readJanuary 2, 2019

Many salespeople struggle to find the right words to say and the right way to say them – whether that is to prospects, to their bosses about their work, or in social content if they do that.

But that isn’t really the problem.

The truth is, sales reps who are struggling to find the right words are approaching their conversations with the wrong thinking. The (faulty) logic goes like this:

  • Good salespeople use the right words.
  • I need to copy good salespeople to be one myself.
  • THEREFORE, if I use the same words as the good salespeople, then I will also be a good salesperson.

A much healthier and ultimately more effective approach looks like this:

  • Good salespeople use the right words.
  • The right words come from an authentic place
  • THEREFORE, if I come from an authentic place, I can become a good salesperson.

Supercharge your quest for improved sales performance by embracing this truth:

There are no magic words and there is no formula for putting words together that will make you a success.

So what should salespeople focus on to improve their effectiveness, especially with prospects and customers?

Temet Nosce

Did you see The Matrix? I haven’t met many who say no.

Do you remember when Neo met The Oracle? She pointed to a sign above her kitchen door that said “Temet Nosce” – Latin for “know thyself.”

That’s what salespeople need to do to find the right words. Their right words, as an extension of their authentic, professional sales self.

In spite of what you may read – the number of questions you ask, the ratio of talk time or the number of minutes you spend in pitch mode isn’t as important as knowing who you are as a salesperson, how that relates to your prospect and the problems you solve for them, and how you choose to articulate that in your own unique way.

How does knowing yourself help salespeople succeed?

When you know who you are as a sales professional, knowing what to say comes naturally.

Think about a subject you know a lot about, are passionate about and do a lot of. Maybe you watch or play a sport of some kind, cook, garden, love movies – it could be anything.

Now think about how you feel when you talk about that subject with your friends. You are most likely well-informed, confident, articulate, maybe even passionate – and when it comes to a disagreement, you are probably sure of yourself and engaged – much more than when you are talking about something that you are not so passionate and/or informed about.

The point is, when you know who you are and how you feel around a subject, you are rarely at a loss for words about it. If you apply this idea to your sales work, and combine your knowledge and passion with some structure around who you engage with and how you engage, you have the basis for a solid selling system.

But it’s not because you found some magic words.

It’s because you know who you are in the context of your sales work.

It’s very powerful.

So how do you figure out who you are as a sales professional?

Here are some questions that will point you in the right direction:

What is the problem that you solve?

When you understand deeply the problems you can help solve from the perspective of the customer, you will articulate value in a way that they will pay attention to.

Who do you serve?

When you know the problems that you solve, you will more easily and immediately recognize those who have those problems the worst, and you will recognize them as people you can help – the most qualified prospects with a true sense of urgency.

How do you get into a sale?

Initiating a sales conversation can seem difficult, but when it starts by articulating problems to people who have them and want to solve them, it’s much easier to get a conversation started.

How do you get through a sale?

When a sales conversation focuses on helping prospects solve the problems that are most important to them, it keeps moving in the right direction – the one that leads towards how your solution can help.

How do you organize yourself and keep on top of commitments?

When you get more and more successful, you will have a lot more to do. Being deliberate about how you stay on top of these things gives you the basis to keep promises – a key differentiator of top reps. So make the promises, organize the execution of their fulfillment and impress your prospects with your diligence and demonstrate how important they are to you in the process.

What is and isn’t important to you?

When you are clear about what you need to do to succeed, you are also clear about what is not a good use of your time. Producers value their time because they know that when it is well allocated it pays an ROI. Get clear on what matters, and focus on that to thrive.

Do you have confidence about how you execute your sales work?

When you know you can produce, you exude confidence, and when you exude confidence, people are more inclined to trust you, and when they trust you, they are more likely to buy from you – a virtuous cycle that builds ongoing success.

What is your “sales philosophy?”

And finally, have a sales philosophy – why you do what you do and how that drives how you do it. Mine is that “my job as a salesperson is to help qualified prospects make a good decision about solving a problem, preferably with my products or services if that makes sense for both of us.” What’s yours?

The words are a byproduct. You are the vehicle of sales success

When you have given some deep thought to questions like these, and have worked through how to understand and execute the ideas behind them, your work as a salesperson becomes more clear, solid, and systematic.

You will know what to do, why you do it, and how to do it effectively.

You will develop deeper confidence in what you do as a salesperson, and the “right words” will evolve from that place of confidence as a natural result.

From this place – a place of confidence and hard-earned competence – you can execute consistently, and gracefully – and your prospects and customers will feel it.

And this confidence in yourself and the trust it generates – it’s not because you memorized some magic words or the way to say them.

But rather because you know deeply who you are as a salesperson – and why – and the words you use to express that will come naturally to your authentic sales self, and will be plain for all to see.

How does that sound?

About the author, David Masover:

I’m a B2B sales coach with decades of experience. I work exclusively now with individual salespeople – directly – not the companies they work for, and very much along the lines of what is in this very article. If that’s interesting for you and you are ready to take personal responsibility for your own sales success, please check me out on LinkedIn.