Communication Coach: How the right words predictably sell



I get it. Writing is not your thing.

You would rather craft your message with a video. That’s your preferred communication medium. Or maybe you like to use snapshots on Instagram to tell your story. What matters is finding a medium that you are comfortable using.

Just keep in mind that whether your message is written, spoken or communicated nonverbally with a photo, its meaning will be interpreted in words.

That’s why your business needs to have a plan for consistently using the right words that resonate with its current and prospective customers.

Prior to the internet, salespeople listened for words that got the attention of buyers. We call these trigger words. Now we optimize our online content for them.

Think of words as packets of thoughts, feelings and ideas—because that is what they trigger.

And those thoughts, feelings and ideas trigger important actions, such as signing contracts, writing checks and making referrals.

Considering these facts and what we know about search engine optimization, let’s tackle how to strategically optimize for the right words to close more deals.

Words signal awareness of what matters most

In a recent an interview about his journey to becoming a self-made billionaire, Richard Branson was asked where he gets his inspiration for starting or buying into a business. He replied, “A business is an idea that makes people’s lives better.”

You have to know what makes your customer’s life better because it influences his or her purchasing decisions.

People make decisions using their brain, heart and another part of their body. For millennia each part has been tasked with a different aspect of survival that nowadays is apparent in buying behavior.

The sales and marketing disciplines are challenging because you have to know what drives the decision-making process and align your messaging with that.

Remember, there are different types of customers.

Rational customers
If you are selling landscape management services, you are appealing to the rational brain. You want to use words that signal safety and security because in the customer’s mind it’s a game of costs and benefits.

Emotional customers
A residential lawn care business is appealing to the emotional heart that nurtures and protects families and pets. This love overrides rational logic. Therefore, margins can be higher for services that fit this customer category.

Irrational customers
Selling design/build services can be a roller coaster ride because you are appealing to desires that are rooted in sexuality, which we know overrides just about everything. The irrational customer expresses and displays his or her power and attractiveness with a faster sports car, a more exotic swimming pool, and yes, a finely kept lawn and landscape. Power words that communicate taste and style and wealth and privilege work nicely here. It goes without saying that this work can be highly profitable.

Words are data that predict behavior

Forget about what people say. It’s behavior—what they do—that reliably predicts their next action. Have the intention of using words that get customers taking the actions that are right for them at their particular stage of the buyer’s journey.

To do this you will have to map out all of your media and properly integrate it with the links being keywords that tend to spark appropriate responses.

For example, in the examples above, most of the suggested trigger words should be used early to achieve likeability and trust.

If they don’t, you will discover what does. And that should be used to refine your messaging for future selling situations. Sometime in the future you’ll have artificial intelligence to automatically handle this.

Until then, here’s how to get it done, step by step.

  1. Define your ideal customers (buyer personas).
  2. Make a list of their trigger words (thoughts, feelings, actions).
  3. Map out your process (buyer’s journey/customer experience).
  4. Optimize your media (sales scripts, website, social media, newsletter) to tell your story using their words.
  5. Consistently make new content that strategically employs these words.

Your job is to help make your customers’ lives better by fulfilling their needs and desires. The right words can activate those desires and trigger buying behavior.

All you have to do is optimize your communications for them.

This is why the web runs on (key) words and your business should, too.

Jeff Korhan

Jeff Korhan

Jeff Korhan is the owner of True Nature Marketing, a Naples, Fla.-based company helping entrepreneurs grow. Reach him at jeff@truenature.com. Jeff works with service companies that want to drive growth and enhance their brand experience with digital platforms.

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