Have you ever walked into a store, asked for an item, and heard some ineffective response like, “I can’t help you with that”? Doesn’t move the relationship forward, does it?

Have you ever walked into a store, asked for an item, and heard some ineffective response like, “I can’t help you with that”? Doesn’t move the relationship forward, does it? You probably felt like leaving. How much better it is when the salesperson says, “We don’t carry that brand, but I can show you similar models that accomplish the same thing. What are you needing the product for?” You have someone interested in your needs, and the sale is moving into gear.

The type of language we use is a powerful force in the sales process. Successful agents use “empowering” phrases that keep both seller and agent from feeling like a victim. The phrase, “I can’t,” implies we have no control over outcomes. Try substituting the words, “I choose not to.” For instance, instead of saying, “I can’t get there on time,” you might say, “I choose not to get to that appointment on time because I want to see my kid’s school play, therefore I will reschedule the meeting.” I choose not to do this, and I can do that instead.

Rather than saying, “I should,” use, “I choose.” The phrase, “I should” makes us feel like dodging the duty, as in, “I should call that prospect who can’t make up his mind about listing his house, but I’ll do it later.” Instead say, “I choose to call that prospect one last time.” These words help you detach yourself from the outcome, which makes the activity seem less burdensome.

Other victim phrases are, “This is a problem,” and, “It’s not my fault.” Instead try, “This is a challenge,” and “I am totally responsible for what I do next.” Say you are listing a home in a neighborhood about which you have heard bad things. Tell yourself, “This is a challenge. I have an opportunity to learn something new about this area.”

When you attribute your feelings to something or someone else you are also disempowering yourself. Saying, “This market makes me so mad,” suggests all your problems are the market’s fault and there’s nothing you can do. Instead name your emotions without blame by saying, “I’m upset prices are falling.” Now you have room to explore your feelings and consider your options for handling the situation. Or try the words of Julie Garton-Good,renowned trainer. Instead of saying, “The market is terrible,” she says, “The market has not been as generous lately,” or “In the economy we are given today, the reward factor isn’t as high as it was last year.” These words remind clients that markets are beyond our control, and good things will still come of a sale. 

In pricing, don’t tell sellers to “reduce the price.” Instead, give them the opportunity to, “reposition the home in the market.” They don’t “have to list” at a certain price, they can, “choose to place the property anywhere in the market that fits their needs, considering that homes sell faster at one price compared to another.” It’s their choice.

Your job is to lie out the facts and give customers choices, just like the clerk in our earlier example. Every day when you go out there in front of your customers, ask yourself who is “minding your store,” and make sure you use positive, empowering language that keeps the action moving forward.

Howard Brinton is a real estate sales motivational speaker and the founder and CEO of Star Power Systems, a sales training organization that offers tapes, books, videos, conferences and a club that distributes selling techniques from the nation’s top producers.

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