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21 Communication Tips to Make More Sales
Written by: Sean McAlindin
Sean McAlindin, a business and arts writer, has a decade-long experience in music and culture journalism and recently ventured into business writing.
Edited by: Sallie Middlebrook
Sallie, holding a Ph.D. from Walden University, is an experienced writing coach and editor with a background in marketing. She has served roles in corporate communications and taught at institutions like the University of Florida.
Updated on October 3, 2023
21 Communication Tips to Make More Sales
Communication is the key to relationships and, therefore, the secret to sales success.
The words we use, and how we use them, have an immediate impact on people’s perception of who we are and what we have to offer. If we can “speak someone’s language,” it means we have the power to persuade people and influence their buying decisions.
By understanding how language, tone, and word choice influence human emotions and thought processes, salespeople and marketers are able to speak effortlessly and effectively. When we combine power of persuasive language with communication techniques that engage listeners and draw them in, we create authentic, compelling narratives that inspire action.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover all the communication strategies and tips you need to know to build business relationships, create a positive perception of your brand, and, ultimately, make more sales.
Language has the power to influence perceptions and drive decision-making by connecting to our emotions, beliefs, and desires.
Effective communication comes down to having the right mindset to inform your approach to sales conversations, presentations, and pitches.
1. Speak in a genuine, down-to-earth manner
While you want your customers to develop a positive opinion of you and your business, fancy language and technical jargon is not the way to do it. The more you try to come off as a know-it-all or self-declared expert, the more likely they are to shut the door and walk away.
Most people like working with those who are like them. Talented salespeople are chameleons who know how to talk to practically anyone in a way they’ll understand and relate to. Unless you’re selling to the King of England, your best bet is probably to talk like a regular person or adapt to the linguistic habits of the region you’re in.
2. Personalize to your target audience
You’re not going to sell insurance to a single, white, female marketing executive in Manhattan the same way you would to a Native American small business owner and father of six from Arizona. Every time you make a sales presentation, it’s important to know who you’re talking to. Then prepare a pitch that will resonate with them.
While demographics can be a helpful consideration, instead focus on the details of a person’s life and business that make them a unique individual. Take time to research your prospects intensely and develop a game plan, not only for the content of your pitch, but for the way you are going to communicate it.
3. Lean into nuance
To “lean into nuance” in sales means to pay close attention to subtle details during the sales process that reveal the needs and preferences of each individual customer. It requires being attuned to the special characteristics, desires, and pain points of your potential clients, and adapting your selling techniques accordingly.
By leaning into nuance, sales professionals move beyond a one-size-fits-all approach and delve deeper into each customer’s situation. Taking the time to listen actively, ask insightful questions, and read between the lines empowers salespeople to customize their pitch and provide solutions that are highly relevant and compelling to each prospect.
It also means developing the ability to read and speak between the lines. Between two people who truly understand each other, the deepest communication often goes unsaid. Tone, choice of words, emphasis, and double meanings all play a part in developing the nuance that will speak directly to your customer’s real feelings.
4. Create your own language
Revolutionary marketing campaigns sometimes take things a step further by actually creating a new language all their own. The iconic example of this sales tactic is Starbucks.
They have their own lingo. You either speak Starbucks, or you don’t speak Starbucks. If you do, you’re in the club. If you don’t, then you might want to be. When “tall” means “small,” and you can get your drink “black,” “blonde,” “skinny,” or “dirty,” you better learn the language if you want control over your image, not to mention your order.
In-N-Out Burger accomplished the same feat with their “Not So Secret Menu” that rewards customers who know the parlance with additional ordering options. Animal style, anyone?
5. Place the buyer at the center of everything
Never forget who the true star of the story really is. No matter what, you always want to make the customer the main character of your sales narrative. Your job is to help them imagine how their life or business will improve if they invest in what you’re selling.
Keep the focus squarely on their pain points, hopes, and needs to maintain their interest and build a genuine sense of empathy. This increases trust and ensures customers that you’re there to help them specifically, not just to make another sale.
Too many salespeople forget this and revert to making themselves or their product the principal actor. This is a mistake – your customer is always the protagonist of their own story, and that makes them the hero of your sale.
If the story doesn’t end happily for the customer, it is not like likely to end happily for you either, as the sales rep.
6. Keep it positive
When you work in sales, the glass is always, always half full. No matter how bleak your sales prospects may look, always do your best to frame things in a positive light. Using words like “opportunity” or “advantage,” instead of “problem” or “challenge,” can provide the subtle shift in tone your prospect may need to open up.
As a salesperson, it’s your job to be the eternal optimist. For you, no river is too wide to cross, and no mountain is too high to climb. Fortunately, this type of positive thinking is contagious. If you can get your clients to believe things can and will get better, especially once they try your product, you’re on the right path.
Even if they eventually decline, end the conversation on a confident, forward-looking note. While it probably won’t lead to a future sale on its own, it’s one more event in the chain of positivity that could eventually carry you to the promised land.
7. Make it a conversation
Talk to your customers like they are real people. Too many salespeople recite a laundry list of product features, rather than engage the customer on their terms. The lost art of conversation can set you apart as a salesperson.
Gone are the days of one-sided sales pitches and monotonous spiels; today’s customers crave more personalized and interactive experiences. By transforming your sales interactions into a back-and-forth dialogue, you create a deeper connection with your audience that helps you understand their individual perspectives and needs.
The first step to starting a conversation is to ask open-ended questions. Instead of bombarding customers with information, encourage them to share their thoughts and reactions. By actively listening to their responses, you gain valuable insights into their pain points and desires. Be transparent and authentic, addressing concerns and providing valuable solutions in a friendly, approachable atmosphere.
8. Leverage emotional triggers
In order to motivate your prospects to buy, it’s essential to tap into the human psyche and connect with them on a deeper level. By using words that evoke strong emotions and resonate with subconscious desires and fears, you can create a powerful connection that drives sales.
Imagine you’re a travel agent promoting an exotic vacation package. Instead of simply listing the features and amenities, you could craft a compelling narrative that speaks to your customers’ desire for adventure and escape. Using phrases like “adventure of a lifetime,” “unforgettable experiences,” and “seize the moment,” paint a vivid picture of excitement and exploration.
By using emotional trigger words, you ignite a sense of wanderlust that subconsciously invites customers to envision themselves basking in the sun on an exotic beach or embarking on a thrilling safari, possibly prompting them to book the trip impulsively.
Studies have shown that most people make purchases based on emotion, and only later use logic to rationalize their decision. Playing to emotion allows you to go beyond the transactional aspect of selling and appeal to the deeper needs of your customers. Whether they realize it or not, this builds trust and loyalty, leading to more impactful conversations and successful sales conversions.
For more information on how to use emotion to make sales, read Making That Sale’s article “What is Emotional Selling?”
9. Humanize your brand
In a world where AI is becoming ever more ubiquitous, we are all looking to connect with a real person. Humanizing your brand with the right language helps to create authentic connections with your audience. By adopting a personable tone, your brand becomes approachable, genuine, and relatable, just like the customers you are hoping to attract.
Focus on conversational language that speaks directly to your customers as individuals. Address their concerns and aspirations in a way that shows you understand and care about them. Incorporate humor, empathy, and warmth into your conversation.
Share stories that showcase the human side of your brand, including testimonials, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and real-life experiences. Define your brand’s personality and let it shine through.
Avoid jargon or overly formal language, and instead, use words that resonate with your target customers, reflecting their values and interests. Soon, you’ll be transforming prospects into brand advocates who genuinely believe in your mission and vision.
10. Become a master storyteller
Storytelling is a powerful tool to captivate your audience and make more sales. By weaving narratives that resonate with your customers, you draw them in and create emotional connections that go beyond mere product features.
Start by identifying the core values and mission of your brand, then craft compelling stories that align with these principles. Real-life testimonials are a fantastic way to do this.
You might even choose to incorporate a universal hero’s journey into your storytelling, where your customer is the protagonist. Present the challenges they face and demonstrate how your offering becomes the magical solution that transforms their lives.
You become the mentor, the guide, the wise friend who leads them to a better world and a greater sense of satisfaction. By sharing meaningful stories that resonate with your customers’ values and aspirations, you are participating in an ancient human tradition, possibly creating a lasting impact that might lead to lifelong loyalty.
For more information on how to use storytelling in your sales practices, read Making That Sale’s article “How to Sell with Storytelling.”
11. Play with the music of words
While you don’t have to be the Bill Shakespeare of advertising, it doesn’t hurt to put a little bit of poetry into your marketing slogans and sales pitches every now and then. Literary devices such as alliteration, repetition, and rhyme are all great ways to draw an audience in and get them to listen to what you are saying.
After all, there’s a reason why jingles get stuck in our heads. When a brand has you singing their song long after you’ve since seen their commercial, they’ve got you hooked. Pay attention to the rhythm of your words and how they roll off the tongue. When you’ve stumbled across something special, you’ll know it because it will reverberate inside your mind, again and again.
12. Be descriptive
The power of descriptive language cannot be underestimated. Using vivid and sensory-rich language allows you to paint a captivating picture of your products or services, igniting the imagination of your audience.
Instead of settling for plain and generic descriptions, use language that engages the senses. Describe how your product looks, feels, tastes, or smells, depending on the nature of your offering. Craft narratives that transport your customers to the experience of using your product or enjoying your service.
To maximize the impact of descriptive language, focus on the specific features and benefits that set your product apart. Use adjectives and adverbs that evoke emotions and highlight the uniqueness of your offering. Showcase the special value your product brings to your customers’ lives, guiding them toward making a confident and informed purchasing decision.
13. Ask open-ended questions
Though it may sound simple, asking open-ended questions is a strategic and powerful technique to engage your customers on a deeper level. Unlike closed-ended questions that elicit a simple “yes” or “no” response, open-ended questions encourage thoughtful and meaningful conversations.
When engaging potential customers, craft questions that invite them to share their thoughts, opinions, and experiences. Encourage them to elaborate on their needs, preferences, and pain points. This valuable information allows you to tailor your sales pitch and solutions specifically to their requirements.
Open-ended questions create an opportunity to showcase your expertise and understanding. Actively listen to your customers’ responses and demonstrate empathy and interest. Show that you genuinely care about addressing their needs and finding the best solution for them.
By asking open-ended questions, you create a two-way dialogue that fosters trust and builds rapport with your customers. This interactive approach makes them feel valued and understood, increasing their likelihood of becoming loyal customers. Through this authentic and engaging communication, you forge lasting connections, gain valuable feedback, and ultimately drive more successful sales conversions.
14. Use action-oriented words
In a competitive and overwhelming consumer landscape, action-oriented language can be your secret weapon to propel potential customers into taking decisive steps. By employing verbs that inspire action and urgency, you create a sense of momentum that compels your audience to move forward with confidence.
Craft persuasive calls-to-action that motivate customers to “buy now,” “subscribe today,” or “take the next step.” Use strong action verbs that leave no room for hesitation and create a clear path toward making a purchase or signing up for your services.
Incorporate language that conveys a sense of excitement and possibility. Use phrases like “unlock your potential,” “transform your life,” or “experience the difference.” These powerful expressions evoke hopeful emotions, instilling confidence in customers that they are making the right choice.
Avoid passive language that may leave customers feeling indifferent or unenthused. Instead, infuse your communication with proactive language that empowers and energizes your audience.
Let them know that they are in control of their decision, and that your offerings hold the key to fulfilling their needs and aspirations. Be clear, concise, and direct in your messaging to eliminate any ambiguity and leave no doubt about the next steps they should take.
15. Learn the industry vocabulary
By utilizing specialized terms, acronyms, and industry-specific vocabulary, you demonstrate expertise and credibility, establishing a strong rapport with potential customers. Craft marketing materials, sales pitches, and content that showcase your in-depth knowledge of the field, speaking directly to the pain points and challenges your audience faces.
However, be mindful not to overwhelm or alienate your customers with excessive technical jargon. Strike a balance by explaining complex concepts in a way that’s accurate, yet easily understandable. Use analogies, real-life examples, and relatable stories to bridge the gap and ensure your message reaches its destination.
Adjust your vocabulary to the level of expertise of your audience. For beginners, adopt a more straightforward and accessible language, gradually introducing industry terms as they become more familiar. For seasoned professionals, leverage advanced vocabulary to demonstrate that you’re on the same wavelength and that you definitely know what you’re talking about.
When you speak the language of your industry niche, while keeping the customer’s experience at the center of the story, you build trust and authority in your brand. Although you might not use it every time, studying up on the right vocabulary is a prerequisite to these productive, high-level conversations.
16. Follow linguistic trends
In any public-facing role, it’s essential to be mindful of the dynamic nature of language. Word preferences and meanings change over time. Depending on the context, the way we explained something ten years ago could be completely useless, inappropriate, or offensive today.
For this reason, selling to Baby Boomers or Millenials is usually much different than selling to Gen Z. The younger generation sees the world differently and they have the language to prove it. If you want them to think you’re a based baller who’s fully snatched, valid, and goated on the sauce, you better learn the lingo.
No matter your age, it’s important to avoid getting stuck in a sales rut rather than continually evolving and updating your knowledge and understanding to reach customers of all ages and backgrounds. So keep up to date with the latest vernacular if you don’t want to be left behind.
For more information on the vocabulary you need to sell to Gen Z, read Making That Sale’s article “The Slang You Need to Sell to Gen Z.”
17. Always be inclusive
Inclusive language is a powerful tool that can foster a sense of belonging and acceptance among your customers. By using language that encompasses diverse perspectives and experiences, you create a welcoming environment that reaches a broader audience.
Instead of assuming a one-size-fits-all approach, be mindful of different backgrounds, cultures, and identities. Avoid using gender-specific language or stereotypes that may alienate certain groups. Embrace gender-neutral terms and pronouns to ensure your message is welcoming to everyone.
Inclusivity extends beyond gender; also, consider using language that caters to diverse age groups, abilities, and backgrounds. Emphasize the value your products or services bring to a wide range of individuals, acknowledging the unique needs and preferences of each customer segment.
It’s up to you to demonstrate a commitment to embracing diversity and creating a space where every customer feels valued and respected. Inclusive language builds trust and loyalty, encouraging customers to see your brand as a source of support and understanding, ultimately leading to more meaningful connections and increased sales.
18. Avoid clichés, jargon, and buzzwords
As tempting as they are to use, clichés, jargon, and buzzwords can actually be detrimental to your sales efforts. While these phrases may seem familiar and convenient, they often lack originality and fail to hit home with consumers. To truly connect with potential customers, steer clear of overused expressions and industry-specific terminology when possible.
Instead, focus on clear and straightforward language that communicates your message effectively. Use relatable terms that your audience can easily comprehend and identify with. Avoid clichés that may come across as insincere, and opt for fresh and original language that showcases the uniqueness of your brand.
This authenticity builds trust and credibility, as your audience recognizes your commitment to delivering meaningful and genuine communication. Embrace language that reflects your brand identity while staying true to your customers’ needs, and watch as your sales efforts flourish with increased customer engagement.
19. Know the power of fear
It may not be the noblest method for attracting sales, but playing to fear is a time-tested strategy that always gets the customer’s blood pumping. Fear is a strong emotion that motivates swift, direct action to avoid a negative outcome. If buying the right product can stop the threat, no price is too high.
Leveraging fear in sales requires a delicate balance, as it can be a powerful motivator or a turn-off depending on how it’s used. The trick is to identify genuine pain points or challenges your customers face and demonstrate how not addressing them could lead to negative consequences. Highlight the potential risks or missed opportunities they might encounter without your product or service.
At the same time, try to avoid creating unnecessary fear or using fear tactics that may come across as manipulative. Instead, focus on offering practical solutions and showcasing how your offering can alleviate their concerns. By presenting fear in a constructive manner, you can create a sense of urgency and drive sales without compromising ethical marketing practices.
Some popular words to use in fear-based sales include: “failure,” “danger,” “humiliation,” “vulnerable,” “stress,” “risk,” and “warning.”
20. Sell with scarcity
Scarcity is a persuasive technique to boost sales by creating a sense of urgency and FOMO (fear of missing out). Limited-time offers, exclusive deals, or low stock alerts can spur customers to act quickly, fearing they may lose out on a valuable opportunity.
Demonstrating the scarcity of your product or service communicates to customers the true value and rarity of what you are offering. Reinforce the notion that your product is in high demand and may not be available for long. By effectively using scarcity, you entice customers to make faster decisions, resulting in increased sales and a heightened sense of desirability.
Popular words that play into a sense of scarcity include: “now,” “hurry,” “quick,” “running out,” “last chance”, and “never again.”
21. Handle objections empathetically
When faced with objections, using your words strategically and empathetically is paramount. First, actively listen to fully understand your customer’s concerns. Acknowledge their feelings and validate their perspective. Avoid being defensive or dismissive. Instead, show understanding and appreciation for their point of view.
“I understand how you feel,” “I hear what you’re saying,” “I’m here to listen and support you,”
“I can see why that would be concerning,” and “I appreciate your perspective,” are all great sentence starters that come from a place of empathy.
Next, respond with thoughtful and relevant solutions. Address your customers’ objections with clarity and transparency by providing valuable information that alleviates their concerns while emphasizing how your product or service can address their specific needs or challenges.
By empathetically handling objections, you create a safe and comfortable space for customers to express their reservations, while still keeping the door open to a possible sale in the future. It’s also a skill that’s becoming increasingly rare in this day in age, so you may surprise yourself by what a little bit of caring language can do.
There’s no way around it. Communication is an essential skill for any salesperson seeking to move ahead in their career. Let the tips and strategies explored in this article serve as a compass, guiding your business toward persuasive, impactful messaging that resonates with your target audience.
From evoking emotions through storytelling to embracing the language of inclusivity, it’s all about connecting with customers on a deeper level and generating the reaction you’re looking for. When you have these techniques and tactics in your tool belt, you’ll be prepared to adjust your sales approach on the fly to meet the needs of every customer.
Remember, effective communication is not just about what you say, but how you say it. Be thoughtful, empathetic, and strategic in your language choices, and watch as your sales soar to new heights.
So, go forth, brave and knowledgeable sales warriors! It’s time to unlock the full potential of language to create lasting impressions, build strong relationships, and drive remarkable results.
Being persuasive without being pushy requires finesse. Focus on educating and informing your customers rather than pressuring them. Emphasize the benefits of your products or services and demonstrate how they can address specific customer needs. If your customer isn’t interested, know when to walk away and move on to the next opportunity.
While there are words to avoid, it’s essential to focus on the overall message and tone of your communication. Avoiding clichés and pushy language is advisable, but the key is to convey your message genuinely and authentically, ensuring it aligns with your brand values and resonates with your target audience.
For more information on potentially dangerous sales language, read Making That Sale’s article “The 13 Words to Avoid in Sales.”
Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as conversion rates, customer engagement, and customer feedback can help assess the impact of language on your sales. Analyzing the effectiveness of different language strategies will provide insights into what resonates best with your audience. You might want to try running A/B tests to determine the comparative effectiveness of different words in your sales and marketing efforts.
To make your language customer-centric, focus on addressing your customers’ pain points and desires. Use “you” and “your” in your messaging to create a more personalized and engaging experience, showing that your products or services are designed with their needs in mind. Keep the customers’ needs, challenges, and perspectives at the forefront of your story, and always remember – it’s all about them.
Consistency in language is vital for reinforcing your brand identity and message. Ensure that your language aligns with your brand values and is consistent across all marketing channels, including social media, emails, website content, and advertisements. Once you’ve found something that works, spread it freely throughout all your communication channels so your audience makes the psychological connections you are looking for.
Positive language evokes optimism and enthusiasm, making your products or services more appealing to potential customers. Emphasize the benefits and solutions you offer to instill confidence and excitement in your audience.
Although you can sell with negative emotions such as fear and scarcity, people naturally respond better to positive stimuli over time. If you want them to develop a positive association with your brand, lean into optimistic, helpful language that shows them the possibilities your solution can offer.
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