Language Differentiation Contributes to Effective Selling

BY Jessica Helinski
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A lot of factors influence effective selling, including how a salesperson speaks and their language choices. From using certain words to embracing pauses, both what a seller says and how they say it influences buyers. 

Language can be a major differentiator when it comes to sales, according to Paul Petrone. In an article for LinkedIn, Petrone writes, “The key to differentiating yourself with your language – using different language than other sellers.”

Language differentiation contributes to effective selling

Petrone shares three ways that sellers can stand apart from competitors simply by the language they use. First, reps should actually consider talking less. This may seem counterproductive to selling, but the opposite is true. “Most buyers complain that salespeople talk too much,” Petrone writes, and SalesFuel’s research backs up this statement. The Voice of the Buyer study found that talking too much about a product/​service is the top deal-​breaker for buyers. 

Instead of controlling the conversation and going on about your offering, shift the focus to the prospect and what they have to say. Petrone suggests asking open-​ended questions to generate a thoughtful response from the prospect while also creating opportunities to gain knowledge about them. “The less you talk, the more your client will talk,” he explains. And the more they talk about their challenges, the easier it is for you to tie those challenges to your solution.” The insights you’ll gain from these prospect-​led conversations will be what contributes to your overall value proposition and ability to personalize your offering to the prospect.

And don’t be afraid to pause or have a lull in the conversation. As Petrone notes, “You don’t need to fill every second. This gives your buyers time to think and articulate themselves, which often builds connection.” 

If you feel that talking too much is getting in the way of effective selling, check out SalesFuel’s advice on the topic. It includes insights into why you may be overtalking, as well as tips that include coaching advice and finding balance. 

Don’t overplan 

Another way to leverage your language use is to not plan every aspect of a conversation when you embark on an effective selling strategy. Sellers may feel more confident if they map out every part of a sales call or meeting. But doing so leaves little room for spontaneous dialogue, especially from the prospect. Instead, be flexible and focus on specific points to guide the conversation rather than a strict script. 

You want to know what you want to accomplish in a call and you want to be flexible,” explains Lisa McLeod in the LinkedIn Learning course, Craft Your Sales Pitch With Competitive Differentiation. “If you get too hung up on a script, a diversion is going to rattle you. So instead, use talking points. Be authentic and guide the conversation naturally.”

Customize your language

Word choice is another key component of effective selling. You can differentiate yourself by being thoughtful about the language you use when speaking with prospects. Often, sellers get caught up in buzzwords, industry jargon and cliche phrases. Avoid the temptation to fall back on these. As noted in another SalesFuel article, “Clear, easily understood language is best when communicating with prospects. If you’re not sure if something is too jargon‑y, ask yourself if it’s a word or phrase that your best friend or neighbor would know. If not, leave it out.”

Also, pay attention to how the prospect speaks and their own word choices. This can clue you in to their preferences when it comes to language, giving you the opportunity to align your style with theirs. 

Differentiating yourself, including your language and word use, can have an impact on your effective selling overall. Consider implementing these tips the next time you plan a sales call or have a meeting with a prospect. Avoiding seller stereotypes can not only make you memorable among a sea of competitors, but also boost your credibility and professional image.

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