How to Pick the Right Words to Sell Products

by Jackie Lohrey; Updated September 26, 2017
Mid adult woman looking at a car in a car showroom

One of the best things a salesperson can do is ditch a traditional sales pitch and replace it with a two-way conversation. According to an article by Forbes staff writer Jacquelyn Smith, a dialogue is much more effective, both in getting your message across and in engaging buyers. Despite this, finding words that strike a chord with customers and encourage them to buy may sometimes be difficult and other times seem impossible. However, the secret to picking the right words really isn’t a secret, but a process that anyone can use.

Adopt the Customer’s Perspective

Throw out your sales script and narrow a list of potential “right” words by adopting a customer-focused approach to selling. The next time you’re reading an email or a business letter or speaking with a customer in person or over the telephone, listen to what the customer is saying and how she is saying it. Listen for phrases the customer uses and note how the customer formulates questions or comments. Note whether the customer uses formal or matter-of-fact words and phrases. Use the same perspective when you respond.

Choose Sensory Words

Pick words that make your customer see, hear, smell, taste or feel something. Words that evoke sensory feelings are among the most effective, according to an article published in the National Association of Realtors online magazine, featuring an excerpt from the book “Fundamentals of Marketing for the Real Estate Professional.” For example, choose visual words and phrases such as “take a peek,” “mind’s eye” and “imagine that,” auditory words such as “loud and clear,” “listen in” and “pay attention to,” and kinesthetic words such as “illustrate,” “tasty” and “demonstrate.”

Engage the Subconscious Mind

The words “you,” “new,” “free” and “guaranteed” are more apt to engage a customer’s subconscious mind and increase your chance of making a sale, according to Mark Hayes, head of Communications at Shopify.com. Words such as “you” and “your” can personalize even the most general sales pitch and make a customer feel like you're speaking directly to him. Many customers respond positively to words such as “new” and “newest,” especially with products pertaining to technology. The word “free” is an emotional trigger that most people love. The words “guaranteed” or “money-back guarantee” conjures up feelings of trust and security.

Use Call-to-Action Words

Every sales pitch should end with strong call-to-action words that create a sense of urgency and compel the customer to buy. Actionable verbs and phrases that a customer can carry out immediately are often the most effective. For example, if you’re writing a sales letter, use an action phrase such as “call us today for a free sample.” For an in-person sales pitch, an effective call-to-action statement can include “order today and get free delivery,” or “let’s get this order written so you can start saving money today.”

About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.

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