Closing Words are Critical Whether You Win or Learn

BY Tim Londergan
Featured image for “Closing Words are Critical Whether You Win or Learn”

Words have power, and language can change our perception of the world. Choosing how you frame your argument can lead your audience to think about it in a specific way. Your words cannot erase ideas from people’s minds, but they may dampen a distasteful image. Additionally, carefully chosen words can bring thoughtfulness to your ideas even among those with short attention spans. Specifically, your audience will think about those things that are named. We, of course, want our sales pitch to be highly visible and remain top-​of-​mind with our prospect. So, remember that closing words have power. Using the right words assures that your carefully chosen language can change perceptions to help you sell!

Closing words bring greater comprehension

Sellers and prospects are equally goal-​directed according to a Yale study of intuitions. Therefore, opponents approach debates with distinct mindsets and a reasoning pattern which can be sparked by carefully curated cues. This premise is set forth by Matthew Fisher and colleagues for their article in Cognitive Science. Further, the study explores the concept of truth and how it can be perceived objectively or subjectively. In final analysis, the researchers suggest that arguments can be seen as a cooperative endeavor or a fierce competition. By intentionally choosing cooperation, your closing words can lead to better understanding and a more open and accurate take on the issue at hand.

Arguing to learn is the smarter course

Among your team members, selling is positioned as a competition. However, when dealing with customers, your credibility and a mindset of cooperative endeavor is most beneficial. Behavioral scientist, Nick Hobson, compares the argue-​to-​win mindset (ATW) and the argue-​to-​learn mindset (ATL) in an article for Inc​.com. Interpreting the Yale research above, Hobson explains that study participants adopting a competitive stance with an ATW mindset assumed an objective view and saw a single truth. As such, they were less likely to accept opinions different from their own. Conversely, participants with a cooperative attitude took an ATL mindset and a subjective view. Favorably, arguing-​to-​learn encourages one to focus on empathy, understanding and discovery. The ATL mindset allows your closing words to reflect a more receptive and diplomatic attitude.

Arguments take place in the head, heart and hands

Disagreements and arguments, although stressful, are not always bad. In sales, productive disagreements are deliberate attempts to explore differences and achieve common ground. Harry Guinness, while reviewing Buster Benson’s book, for The New York Times, highlights three simple realms of arguments. At the outset, Benson qualifies that, “In order for someone to have a better disagreement with you, there has to be this sense that you are looking at the same material.” Following that caveat, Benson helps you determine the kind of argument you’re having:

  1. The realm of the head” – Elements that are factual, verifiable and true are dealt with here. These truths are generally considered objective and straightforward.
  2. The realm of the heart” – These arguments are about moral value judgements or what is meaningful to personal tastes. These ideals are subjective, extremely complex and warrant further investigation.
  3. The realm of the hands” – These quarrels wrestle with what’s useful and practical. These pragmatic matters can be proven with experiment or simply letting the issue play out.

It’s likely that your disagreements will wander through all three territories. Therefore, in choosing your closing words, it’s crucial to accurately address the type of argument you’re having. In Benson’s words: “By stepping back and asking whether the disagreement is about the facts, a matter of opinion, or how something should be done, you can make sure everyone involved in the argument is participating in the same realm.”

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash