We don’t mean to be tentative, do we? We want to be bold, strong and confident when dealing with clients. Yet time and again, we use words that are stumbling blocks. Our fear takes over. And we use tentative language. Words that offer the client a reason to doubt us. Phrases that reduce our credibility.
Tentative language: How do you know you’re using it? Do you use words like ‘normally’? The client asks you, how much do you charge? Do you start off by saying, ‘Oh, normally’. Disaster! Right there. The battle is lost.
You’ve stepped onto a landmine. When you say “normally”, the client knows at once that your price is negotiable. She knows you are not sure of your price. You may not even believe in your value. And hey presto – the client is in the driver’s seat. There are many words we all use that prevent us from being in the driver’s seat – ’Approximately’. ‘Usually.’ ‘I feel that…’ ‘Sometimes’. ‘Our average price’. ‘Ballpark figure’. All of these words send an instant message to the client’s brain that you’re a bit unsure. Just a little insecure. The insecurity spills over.
When the client (or talent for that matter) hears insecurity in your words, they can’t but help simultaneously hear the insecurity in your work and your service.
Don’t say “Firebrand is one of the leading marketing, creative and digital search companies in the world”. You have qualified the statement by prefacing it with “one of the”. Say “Firebrand IS the leading marketing, creative and digital search company in the world”.
When a recruiter says to a client “ For this job, we charge $20,000 and we deliver an outcome in two weeks or less”, your client is instantly impressed. The client didn’t hear tentativeness in your price or your ability.
Talent are sensitive to tentativeness too. Don’t say, “this job might have some of the things you are looking for in a new role”, or “this job is probably worth looking at”. Why would that compel me to go to see that client? Say, “This is an exceptional company with a superb client list and an excellent culture. What’s more it fits all the criteria you outlined for a job move, including more client-facing time and the international travel you are looking for “ (This is an example of course. What you say has to be true!)
Specifics impress. Remember, it’s not just you that’s having the uncertainty in the sales situation. The client is walking in unknown territory as well. As a client what would you prefer to hear? “The job will be advertised tomorrow, my database will be fully searched by Friday night and my research team will map the market in a week, and I will have a shortlist in two weeks or less” or “We’ll get down to it and get the job done soon.”
As a candidate would you rather hear “You have great skills and I am going to market your resume to clients A, B and C by Tuesday.” or “I will do my best to get you interviews with suitable companies.”?
Think about your words. Think about your voice tone. It can make all the difference. One thing is certain. Stop using tentative language. It isn’t doing you any good.
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- Posted by Greg Savage
- On March 31, 2011
- 10 Comments