That one word resulted in the release by China of the 24 U.S. spy plane crew members. “Regret” wasn’t good enough. “Sorry” wouldn’t do. But adding “very” to “sorry” did the trick.

Perhaps a word or two of yours might not save 24 lives, but words certainly can make your job easier and more profitable, or more difficult.

According to communication experts, the impressions you make in your first two seconds of communication are so vivid, it takes another four minutes to add 50% more impression-positive or negative–to that communication.

Here are a few telephone communication tips that can help aid in the release of your customers’ dollars.

  1. Use the words “you” and “your” to help them visualize themselves already enjoying the results of what you have to offer.
  2. Saying “Do you understand?” or “Are you following me?” is insulting. Instead, place the burden on yourself: “Did I explain that clearly enough?” or “What’s your understanding of what we’ve agreed to do?”
  3. Be specific about times and dates. Don’t say, “I’ll call you sometime next week.” Instead, ask, “Would next Thursday at 1:30 be a convenient time for you to speak with me again?” or “What would be a good time for me to reach you next Thursday?”
  4. While in your car (preferably alone!) pick out a billboard, a building, or an object, and practice describing it in colorful, emotional, desirable terms. Use plenty of inflection. Avoid words like “thing” and “stuff.”
  5. Don’t use five words when one will do. For example, use “now” instead of , “at this point in time.” Use “because” instead of “due to the fact that.” Use “many” instead of “a great number of.” Think of the wordy phrases you use.
  6. End calls with a positive, instead of the self-demeaning, “I don’t want to take any more of your valuable time.” Simply say, “Thank you. I look forward to our next conversation.”
  7. When dealing with an irate customer, don’t refer to their issue as a complaint. Use terms like, “situation,” “concern,” “this matter,” “issue”, or “misunderstanding.”
  8. Avoid using the word “just” to belittle yourself and your importance. For example, “I was just calling today …”
  9. Avoid words that put them on the spot, such as “Of course you will agree …,” “Everyone knows that …,” “And of course you’d want that, wouldn’t you?”
  10. To direct them back to business after going off on a small-talk tangent, transition by saying, “Getting back to what we discussed earlier…,” then ask a question.
  11. Avoid saying “I’ll be honest with you …” It’s a waste of words. Plus, people might wonder what you were when you didn’t say it.
  12. Avoid the use of “disclaimers” like “I might be wrong, but …,” and, “I could be mistaken, but …” People want definite answers, not wishy-washiness.
  13. Use “when” instead of “if” to help your prospect visualize himself enjoying your benefits. For example, “When you use this system, you’ll find yourself breezing through your projects in a fraction of the time it took before.”

As you can see, how you say it is often more important than what you say.

Good selling,

Dave Rothfeld