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Using Word Pictures to Sell

Editor’s NoteWe will continue to share with you sales messages from Zig in this newsletter.  We believe his message is timeless and can live on.

Most—no, change that to all – ambitiously aggressive salespeople are always on the lookout for the magic word, the key phrase, or the new technique that will give them a persuasive edge and leave the prospect powerless to resist them.  Fortunately, no such “weapon” exists, but there are many words, phrases, and techniques you can learn and use which will enable you to present your offer in a more attractive light.  The result is a more persuasive presentation which will enable you to persuade more – but not all – of your prospects to take action.

To some hard-liners this will sound like heresy, but I am convinced the moment you recognize that not everyone could or should buy your product or services, you will sell to more of those who can and should buy.

You do not enhance your reputation or build your career by overloading your prospects or by browbeating a non-prospect into buying something he really doesn’t want, doesn’t need, or can’t afford.  Once you clearly understand that basic premise it will be easier for you to forgive yourself for missing a sale you thought you should have made.  This frees your mind to give maximum effort to the next sales interview.

Careful.  This involves some common sense and mature judgment.  Otherwise you might rationalize that everyone who does not buy really isn’t a prospect.  From a sales career point of view, that would be a fatal mistake.

Now let’s look at some words and procedures which the legitimate salesperson, selling to  legitimate prospects, uses to persuade the prospects to take action in their own best interests. 

My friend, sales trainer Thom Norman, has done considerable work and research in telephone sales specifically.  He has identified twenty-four words that sell and twenty-four words that “unsell.”  Thom has agreed to share these words with us.  I encourage you to memorize and learn them by getting a good dictionary and finding out exactly what each one means.  From the list I promise you at least a half-dozen pleasant learning surprises when you pursue them in a dictionary. 

The first word that sells is your prospect’s name.  I think everyone recognizes this as being true.  His name is the sweetest sound of them all.  You should use it from time to time throughout your presentation.  Here are the other twenty-three:

Understand, proven, health, easy, guarantee,money, safety, save, new, love, discovery, right, results, truth, comfort, proud, profit, deserve, happy, trust, value, fun, vital

Note: Yale University has added five words to Thom’s twenty-four selling words: you, security, advantage, positive, and benefits.

Thom also researched and came up with twenty-four words that “unsell,” and here they are:

Deal, cost, pay, contract, sign, try, worry, loss, lose, hurt, buy, death, bad, sell, sold, price, decision, hard, difficult, obligation, liable, fail, liability, failure

I encourage you to give these words the same dictionary treatment.  Obviously, there are many additional words which are soothing to the prospect’s ears and others which leave the prospect in neutral or even turn him off.  Words and phrases that paint word pictures can sell effectively for you and your company.  Make sure your picture is clear and compelling.

This article was adapted from Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar.  Zig Ziglar was known as America’s Motivator.  He authored 32 books and produced numerous training programs.  He will be remembered as a man who lived out his faith daily.


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