How to Use Words to Grow Your Relationships in Sales

BY Jessica Helinski
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Sales research has uncovered just how impactful certain words can be during different parts of the sales process. To nurture and grow relationships in sales, sellers need to be aware of their word choices, making sure their word selection aligns with what buyers want to hear in the moment. LinkedIn’s J.C. McKissen reports on Gong’s analysis of sales calls, uncovering how words can move a deal forward (or stop it in its tracks). 

Words impact your relationships in sales

While word choice always matters in sales, Gong found that particular words used at specific points of the sales process could be particularly impactful. For example, during a cold call, McKissen reports that friendliness matters, as does getting to the point of the call. “Start by showing you care,” he writes. “Gong’s research shows that opening the call with a simple, ‘How have you been?’ was six times more likely to lead to a booking than a question that didn’t ask about your prospect’s general well-being.” 

Keep in mind that buyers want friendliness, but they don’t want it to feel forced. Keep your tone light and be authentic. Genuine relationships in sales come from a place of authenticity and empathy, so make sure that shows when you’re checking in.

And once you’ve made a kind inquiry, make sure to make your reason for calling clear. While SalesFuel’s research shows buyers still want their first contact with a seller to be by phone, their patience may be limited. Use your words to educate and inform. As I noted in another article, “You need to let the prospect know what you can do for them and how your product or service is relevant. They likely receive many calls; what you say will determine if you stand out or not.…Use this time wisely to immediately capture their attention and their interest.”

Words to use when discussing your solution

Part of building relationships in sales includes creating shared enthusiasm for whatever it is you’re selling. It’s up to you to get the prospect excited, and Gong found certain types of language can do this better than others. “Being specific, vivid, and engaging in your conversations with buyers will always move a deal forward faster than telling them how amazing your solution is,” McKissen writes. Consider storytelling techniques to incorporate exciting language into your discussion and paint a picture of your buyer using your solution. 

And be specific: Labeling is one way to add specificity to what you're saying, which will resonate with the buyer. “Labeling is when you name the emotion your buyer is expressing,” says Gong’s Senior Vice President of Enterprise Sales Kevin Guthrie. “Accurately describing how your prospect feels or summarizing their challenges can be an important way to show you’re listening.” Buyers want to feel heard and valued by sellers, so this tactic can accomplish both. In fact, SPARXiQ reports that buyers were “almost 60 percent more likely to accept the salesperson’s recommendation when the salesperson acknowledged their point of view, thoughts and feelings.”

Other effective word choices include focusing on words that put your prospect in control (“you” statements), as well as sensory words that describe exact actions and steps in more detail. These will all help buyers see the value of your solution while also nurturing connections. 

Your words matter

Seller’s choices of words at various points of their process can have significant impact on the outcome of a conversation. Make sure the language you use aligns with where the buyer is at in their journey. Doing so not only helps build relationships in sales but also gets sellers closer to closing deals. 

And for even more advice for smart word choices, check out other tips from SalesFuel.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska