Changing Our Vocabularies!


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The words we use betray our thinking and focus. How we express ourselves shows our biases, our priorities, our prejudices. So what, what’s this mean to sales professionals?

We always talk about sales and selling–it’s natural, it’s what we do, it’s who we hang out with, so we do talk about selling. We do this with our customers all the time, we talk about selling.

And perhaps that’s the problem buyers have. All we talk about is selling. It’s incredibly self-centered, it focuses on us and what we do. In some sense, we’ve trained buyers–they ask us what we are selling.

The words we use shift the focus of the conversation. If we talk about selling, the focus of the conversation is on us. What if instead of talking about selling, we constantly focused on buying? How would our focus and that of our customers change if we just banned the word “selling” and started constantly looking at “buying.”

Just using the word “buying,” immediately changes our mindset. All of a sudden, rather than focusing internally, the focus becomes external–on the buyer. We know that we are more impactful when we are focusing on the customer and what the customer wants to achieve. What we sell is meaningful only how it helps the customer achieve their goals.

Somehow, however, it’s very difficult to keep focused on our customers. Part of it is human nature, as human beings, we tend to be self-centered. We constantly talk about what we do and what we sell. So it’s easy to understand how we lose focus on the customer.

But the simple cue we get just by changing our language can be tremendously impactful in the way we behave and engage our customers. We can’t banish the words sell, sales, selling. But we can reduce their dominance and frequency in our conversations–particularly those involving customers. If we start positioning our discussions and the words we use in terms of buyer and buying, we will shift our perspectives and behaviors.

Words are important. They shape how we are perceived and many of our behaviors. If we want customers to buy, perhaps we should stop talking about selling, and focus on their buying.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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