Archives for July, 2014

Choosing the Right Words

July 31st, 2014, Comments Off on Choosing the Right Words.

Language is one of the most vital tools of the trade.

The challenge of every sales call is to convey an attention-grabbing message that creates awareness and satisfies a need. From the start, you’ve got your work cut out for you—and to do this work, you need the proper tools. Just as every craftsman works with tools, so does the salesperson work with words. Here are some words to consider that will help you make your sale.

No “buts.”

When a customer voices a concern, you may hear an objection. If a poor word choice is made in response to the concern, the sale can be stalled, or even lost. By first acknowledging the concern, and then following with the word “but,” you effectively negate everything said before it. What your customer hears is the disagreement that precedes an argument. Instead, first acknowledge the concern and follow with the word “and.” For example, your customer might comment that the process you recommend sounds complicated. You would respond, “Yes, it is complicated, and with our technical assistance…”

Avoid the phrase “no problem.”

As humans, we are delighted when customers show their appreciation for special results and express their gratitude. Some reply with the phrase “No problem.” Instead of gaining an opportunity to generate customer satisfaction points, these salespeople have left their customers associating their hard work with the word “problem.” When your customer says “Thank you,” a productive response would be “My pleasure. I am always happy to help you.” Let your customer know that you look forward to helping him or her. This will ensure that the customer will turn to you to solve future problems, instead of turning to your competition.

Keep it simple.

Wordy language can put off customers. Avoid legal sounding words and phrases such as:

  • Enclosed, please find…
  • Contained herein…
  • Thank you in advance for your cooperation…
  • Pursuant to your request…
  • Under separate cover…

Create images.

Understanding is everything, and selling involves listening as well as speaking. You listen while the customer speaks, and the sale cannot take place without the customer listening to what you have to say. Choose words that make it easier for the customer to hear your message. Metaphors and similes are easy on the ear because they are essentially pictures in the form of words—and thus increase comprehension. A metaphor is when we use a term to symbolically represent something else without using the word “like” or “as.” An example could be: “This is the Cadillac of retirement plans.” A simile is a comparison of dissimilar things using the word “like” or “as.” An example is: “A good financial plan is like a map, illustrating how to reach your desired destination.” Paint a vivid picture for the customer, making it easy to conceptualize your message.

As Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” Careful selection of the proper words will help you enlighten customers and avoid unexpected jolts.

By Maura Schreier-Fleming

Maura Schreier-Fleming is president of Best@Selling, where she works with business and sales professionals at company and trade association meetings to make selling easier and more productive. She is the author of “Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results.” For more information visit, email or call 972-380-0200.





Life Happens Makes Your LIAM Planning Easy

July 28th, 2014, Comments Off on Life Happens Makes Your LIAM Planning Easy.

Turnkey marketing resources for Life Insurance Awareness Month make putting a campaign together a snap.

Many of us dream of an “easy” button. Instantly clean car! Folded laundry put away! Papers on desk magically filed! What about an easy button for a month-long marketing campaign? Done!

The nonprofit organization Life Happens, which coordinates September’s Life Insurance Awareness Month, has created LIAM marketing resources that will allow you to run a marketing blitz in September with minimal effort. Easy! And as a NAIFA member benefit, you can access all these resources for free.

From leveraging the star power of NFL MVP quarterback Boomer Esiason, who is again this year’s celebrity spokesperson, to moving videos, to prewritten social media posts, it’s all there for you to pick and choose from. The range of materials will allow you to reach out to prospects and clients how they like to be contacted: in person, by mail, email or social media.

To access this wealth of material, go to the new Life Happens members-only site at You’ll be asked to create an account, if you haven’t already (choose NAIFA as your professional affiliation). Once signed up, you’ll have free access to all the content that’s there, including:

  • A pre-recorded webinar designed to help you pull together your campaign.
  • Downloadable flyers that range from serious to motivational to funny, which you can send to clients and prospects by mail or email
  • Great spokesperson related materials including Boomer Esiason’s Real Life Story, a flyer aimed at Millennials and some great quotes to use on social media
  • Videos you can link to from your website or in an email, including a funny “hidden camera” video that features Boomer
  • Life insurance related “infosnacks” and “hints” you can post on your website or share via email or on social media sites
  • A social media content plan that gives you prewritten Facebook posts and Tweets that you can use throughout September
  • Access to great marketing “giveaways” that tie LIAM spokesperson Boomer Esiason’s passion for football to life insurance. These give you a novel way to reach out during September … and much more

The groundwork’s been laid out for you, so it’s time to get your hands on these great resources and get your month planned out.