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Go fly a kite

I am someone who has a kite in my car – just in case.
Not that I’m expecting a kite emergency or anything, rather if someone tells me to “go fly a kite” I’m prepared.
Every time a salesperson opens their mouth ~ even if the person they are talking with is already a customer ~ the person listening is THINKING “but why do I care?
If you don’t answer that question for them and quickly – they might just tell you to go fly a kite.
Seriously, as salespeople, it is our job to connect the dots from the problem / issue / concern / challenge / pain (pick a word for yourself) the prospect is having …. DIRECTLY to what our product or service does to fix it!
Notice I don’t say “what your product does” because your prospects and customers just don’t care. If I were in marketing, I would start to explain about features… but I’m not so I won’t!
I will stress that the facts about your product or service don’t interest anyone. You know, it is the stuff we’re really proud of:

  • small or big
  • how long the warranty is
  • all the beautiful colors
  • fast or slow
  • how it is made
  • where it is made

I’ll also tell you why the stuff you sell is WONDERFUL doesn’t interest anyone either! You may have heard this called a benefit to go along with your features.

  • smaller or bigger
  • longer warranty or faster replacement than the competition
  • brighter, more options, longer-lasting colors
  • faster or slower
  • 10-step process….
  • made locally

no one cares but YOU, so stop talking about what it is or why it is great and

start learning about WHY THEY CARE

Sound easy? It’s not – believe me I try all the time to follow my own advice, then hear myself talk about my “stuff” and mentally kick myself.

To begin, take the advice of Jill Konrath from her book SNAP Selling and begin by making a list of everything your product or service:

  1. increases
  2. decreases

This will begin to change your thought process from what it is to what it does for your prospects and customers.

Need another great idea? Talk with your best customers about what it does for them! No better way to find out what your products and services do than by asking the people who are already using them (plus there is the bonus that they will recommit themselves to you).

Translate what you learned into what you SAY

Now think about your messaging: opening statements, voicemail messages, follow-through emails… you know the language you use when you are speaking with prospects and customers.

The good news is you can change that.

The bad news is it will take LOTS of effort!

Creating Your New Language

Now with that great list of what your products and services increases and decreases start brainstorming for words that describe those things. Need an example?


  • Occasion: moment, lash, instant, jiffy, minute, second, shake, split-second, trice, twinkle, wink, while
  • Adventure: experience, happening, escapade, lark, act, action, deed, doing, exploit, episode, occasion, baptism, ordeal, test, trial, tribulation, enterprise, risk, venture, expedition, exploration, feat, mission, performance, quest, stunt
  • Duration: ate, life, life span, lifetime, run, standing, spell, stretch; span, tenure, term, hitch, tour, turn
  • Age:  day, epoch, era, period, cycle, generation, year, span, spell, stretch, while

All that is from going to and using the thesaurus function.

If on your increase/decrease list you have “decrease time to implement” you’re not going to use epoch… or maybe you are

“Tired of feeling like you’ve completed an epoch journey
after your software upgrades?
That is why our developers took care to ensure
an easy upgrade path even with customization.”

Yup, just made that up while typing. You know why? Because I didn’t worry about it being PERFECT. So make sure while you play around with this you follow a few simple rules.

  1. brainstorming comes up with crazy ideas ~ don’t limit your own thinking, that comes in the editing stage LATER
  2. if you’ve never used mind mapping this may be the time to use the technique
  3. work with other salespeople selling the same stuff? this would be a great working lunch project, multiple people bring different perspectives.
  4. once you have all the ideas out there, step 1 is to make sure you try the words out loud (antiestablishmentarianism may be a cool word, but it will not help you sell if you can’t say it easily and with confidence).
  5. edit your brainstorming to what YOU would say; that means the lovely team you created needs to break up and work this part out on their own
  6. create a few catchphrases for yourself along with how you would use them in an email (the written and spoken messages will probably look different, but with the same intention).

safety tip = there are salespeople out there who at this point are saying “but I work for a company, they do all the marketing and they DON’T do what you’re talking about.” Well if you’re looking for an excuse not to put in the effort on your own, congratulations – that is a great excuse, use it!
If instead you’re looking to increase your ability to sell, realize you can change… how you talk with prospects and customers… how you communicate the value of what you sell… how you word the short emails you send after sales conversations.
Now that you have what you need to begin changing the language you use when speaking with prospects and customers, the effort begins!
Off to fly my kite,

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