In sales, we need to frame our terms to eliminate or at least pad out the “No,” to reduce stress and increase positivity. You also want to minimize words like “don’t,” “can’t,” or “won’t.” For example, instead of telling prospective clients that you cannot currently take on anyone with their specific project, try something a little more positive that still gets this point across, like this: “I am currently assisting with many other projects of this nature at this time. I will be able to take on new projects within the next two weeks. I look forward to touching base then.”
The former sounds like a hard no; it can give the prospect the impression they have met a dead end, which may lead them from looking elsewhere right away. The latter buries the problem in the solution, so that prospect understands that you are still able and willing to serve them even if you cannot do so presently.
This is important because—as mentioned in the introduction—words affect your perception. If you go into a situation after hearing positive words, you are more likely to regard it in a positive light. The opposite applies if you go in after hearing negative words. Using the previous example, if the client does not need the item urgently, then the latter framing leaves open the possibility of purchase. They may ask if they can pre-order the product or set up an email-reminder for when it is in-stock. While it might not result in an immediate sale, you are creating an opportunity.
Another important reason to watch your words is because clients want to feel like their needs are being understood. Let us say you are a travel agent ordering plane tickets for wedding guests. One guest was not sure whether or not they’d be able to make it, so they waited until last-minute to book their flight. Now, there are no flights left on Friday, the day of the wedding. Here you have a choice. You could say “There’s no more flights on Friday,” or you could put a positive spin on it, “The flight is not available on Friday, but with potential delays and holiday traffic, that might be cutting it close anyway. What if we booked you a Thursday flight so you get there with time to spare before the festivities?”
Moreover, these understanding builds trust and rapport. Using another example, let us say you are a graphic designer. A small business owner reaches out to you in need of the perfect logo, but they appear to be so impatient and flustered that you are not sure where to begin. Instead of doing nothing or rattling off the options you have available, you ask them what they want customers to notice when they look at the logo. Once you get your answer, you can brainstorm with the client to come up with the perfect design. This helpful attitude and careful consideration will make the client much more likely to return for future projects.
People want to feel heard, so listen and customize your responses to their needs. If all you do is read a script or rattle off the first thing that comes to mind, you may end up losing leads and missing out on opportunities. Stay positive and listen carefully.