The Power of Words – Claire McTernan

The Power of Words

The Power of Words

I was surprised by their language

I’m currently in a bit of a battle with our car insurance company.

My 19 year old daughter wrote her car off (she’s fine, sadly the car is not) and I’m in the midst of agreeing the valuation.

Or not!

I had been really impressed by their communication throughout the process.

That was until they sent me the 1st valuation.

Now I’m a great believer in being clear and focused on the language you use with prospects to drive their behaviour.

But I was shocked when I saw it from the insurance company.

So what did they write?

The email said, “Please can you log on and reply with your acceptance for us to process payment.”

Well, hang on a minute!

At this point, I didn’t even know what the valuation was, let alone decided whether I was going to accept it.

Their language was clever.

They were giving me a very clear instruction to do exactly what they wanted which was to accept the valuation.

Why? Because that means I take their (painfully low) offer so they save ££££’s!

What’s this got to do with growing your business?

Think about the language you use when you send a proposal/email/message.

How clear are you with your language?

The insurance company could have said “Take a look and let me know what you think”.

Or “Have a look through it and I’ll call you in a few days”.

Or “Please let me know if you have any questions”.

Now that seems quite funny right as you wouldn’t expect an insurance company to say that.

But that’s exactly what most business owners put in their communications.

Do you?

They could have said “Please can you log on and reply with your acceptance or rejection of the offer.”

So why didn’t they?

Because it puts the notion of rejecting their offer in my head. 

If I reject it (which I did!) it results in them spending more time and usually more money to resolve the situation.

In a business context when this happens to your proposals it means people take longer to consider them and have more scope to push back and negotiate with you, costing you time and £££.

Let’s be like the insurance company

How can you change your language to drive a better outcome?

Simple, assume “they” will sign up and use the appropriate language to drive that outcome.

Stop giving them wiggle room by using loose language.

It’s your job to instil confidence in your prospect that you’ll do a great job.  Does your language reflect that?

Close down their objections instead of triggering them.

Use a clear, strong Call To Action at the end just like the insurance company did.

Take Action

Go back through your last 5 proposals/emails and check your wording at the end.

Now change it and create yourself a new, clearer, stronger template to drive those “yes’s”.

PS.  Why was I shocked

Because I felt it was highly manipulative in a situation where that person is upset and destined to lose a chunk of money.

I spotted it and didn’t fall for it, but I bet a lot of people do.

I’m not suggesting we should use similar manipulative approaches on vulnerable people but we should all use clear firm language to drive a great outcome for all involved (unlike the insurance company where they are set to win while their client loses).

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