“There is a big difference between a green sofa and an overstuffed chair with arms that come up to your ears when you sink into it with a child in your lap.” [Dave Lakhani. Persuasion: The Art of Getting What You Want]. Yes, there is a big difference between forming a mental image in your brain about this comfortable chair and paying no attention at all to the ‘green sofa’. Yet in selling, it seems we often forget the power of words to involve our customers in the discussion.
Last week I wrote about words that create emotions and the value of choosing the right words to appeal to your customer’s feelings. A corollary to this discussion is choosing words that are so descriptive that your customer can’t help but become involved in the story.
I would contend that if you don’t use words to evoke great images, you are probably missing selling opportunities. If I can’t picture myself using your product, why would I want to buy it? The secret is to create a product story that involves your customer.
Each product that you sell should have multiple stories—it is how you position that product in the mind of your customer. Every story needs to be compelling, logical and visual. How can you enable your customer to “see” what you are describing? You can use analogies, anecdotes, or testimonials. If you use descriptive words, then you increase the odds that you involve that person by enabling that part of their brain that creates those great mental pictures.
Especially when you are describing something new, you want to create a link to something that the listener can readily understand. I remember when computers were introduced in the workplace. It may seem hard to believe but back then, many were fearful of computers and thought that they could replace humans. A friend who was selling computer time sharing to financial executives said they routinely stated, “You’ll be able to use the computer as easily as you use your desk top calculator.” The calculator was the major tool used by these financial analysts and executives. By describing a new offering and comparing it to something that they used routinely, their minds were opened. They could picture themselves using this computer.
I think at times we forget how important the minor details of a story can be. It is what gets us interested and it is what we remember. There is the classic theme of the story of forbidden love in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The same theme is in West Side Story but how different those two stories are. However, if you asked for a 30 second summary of Shakespeare’s story, it would be the same as the West Side Story. It is the details that matter!
The 3 hour movie the Titanic can be summed up as “unsinkable boat sinks”. Think of that the next time you try to summarize what you want to say to your customer. Yes, there are time constraints that you need to be cognizant of—but if you say something interesting, something that your customer can relate to, he’ll want to continue the conversation, if not now then at a later date (when there is more time).
Torture your words! Think of ways that you can involve your customer in your product story by choosing words that will describe what your customers can relate to. Doing so will increase the likelihood that they can then picture themselves using your product—which can translate into increased sales for you.