Several years ago I was a sales management coach & trainer. That was my entire role – coaching & training sales managers and sales people.
The focus with managers was to enable them to become ‘head coach’ by being better leaders of their people – and for the salespeople to write better sales results.
As my time in the role progressed, I realised there were some conversations I wasn’t well equipped to handle. For e.g., when I was working with a sales rep and I found out the reason they weren’t performing was because they were going through a divorce – I realised talking about sales was futile – though I wasn’t clear on how to help them through those tough times.
I needed more and different skills to better serve the people I worked with.
So, what to do? I went and researched several coach-training schools and eventually selected one. As a matter of coincidence, it was by far the most expensive school (at least twice the fee of their competition) – though clearly the market leader.
I remember the day I faxed back my enrolment form. I felt nervous – as it was a significant financial commitment I was making in my own education.
Later that day I swung by the coaching school to pick up my enrolment pack – and I was also able to meet the person I’d been liaising with on the phone. Her name was Ramona.
You know how sometimes when you get along famously with someone on the phone – and when you meet in person and it just feels weird? Well, that wasn’t the case at all.
Ramona made me feel completely at ease about my decision. It was almost as though she knew I was thinking “have I made the right decision” (and, I later came to learn she knew more about me than I could have imagined).
The word she said that really validated my decision was when Ramona said “congratulations” (with a beautiful smile).
It made me feel much better about things.
Ramona then introduced me to one of her colleagues who was nearby – and as soon as I mentioned I was doing the Diploma she also said “Oh, that’s fantastic. Congratulations.”
That was now two people who said “congratulations” within a matter of minutes. I was starting to feel good.
A few minutes later as I stood in their reception area while Ramona prepared my pack, the owner of the coaching school, Sharon also came up and introduced herself. She also said “congratulations.” It was sincere and heartfelt – and completely unexpected. By now I was feeling great.
Within the space of 10 minutes, 3 people had congratulated me, so not only was I feeling fantastic. it was quite apparent their choice of language was no accident.
Ramona, Sharon or any of the team members could have said just about anything, and all 3 said “congratulations.”
Not only did it help manage my buyer’s remorse, it also made me more certain about my decision.
So, let me ask you this. When you work with clients – do you “thank” them or “congratulate” them?
It might sound like semantics – but I promise you it’s not.
One statement makes the conversation about you and the other makes it about them.
The more the conversation is focused on you (whether it’s intentional or otherwise), the less appealing you actually are to your clients. The more it’s about them, they’ll never want to leave you (because, for everyone in the world, their most important topic is “self”).
If you send out a post-settlement gift, does the gift card say:
- “Thank-you for being a client of ours. It’s been a pleasure to assist you through the loan process.”
or does it say:
- “Congratulations of becoming a new home-owner. We are so happy for you and wish you a lifetime of happiness”
Sure, the first statement is nice – though it’s self-centered. The second is all about them – and will make them feel fantastic.
Sometimes, the language you use may not increase your conversion rate (although at times it can have a dramatic impact), but it can change the context from ‘transaction’ to ‘memorable experience you wan to tell others about.’
Remember, the most important topic on the planet is “self” – and the more your language reflects this, you’ll continue to make your clients feels great – and as a rule of thumb, people who feel great by being around you typically refer more people to you.