Have you ever had someone say “Now you’re speaking my language”? This is a really good thing to accomplish as you are saying something that the other person understands and is completely in agreement with.
Imagine being able to arrive at this place with prospects when selling. What a great place that would be, huh? Believe it or not, getting a prospect to at least feel this way is very doable and I will give you a few clear and practical tips that outline how this is done.
Why We Usually Don’t Speak the Prospect’s Language
Before we look at what to do, let’s look at why we often end up not speaking the prospect’s language.
When we sell, we typically follow our instincts for the most part. And our instincts typically lead us in a direction of talking about our products, what they do, the company we work for, etc.
It makes sense for us to want to do this. After all, this is what we get paid on and we have quotas looming over our heads. We also talk a lot about this stuff because this is the majority of the information that we get trained and this is what we live and breathe 40 to 60 hours a week.
Our Language is Not the Prospect’s Language
When you look at it that way, you can see that we talk about all of our stuff because that is what our language is. It is something that we understand and care about.
The problem with that is that this is not the prospect’s language. Not only are these areas that the prospect does not care about as much as we do, but they actually might not even understand our language.
Think about it, all you do every day is think and talk about details pertaining to your products and services. You spend so much time in this area that it all makes sense to you.
Your prospect spends all their time in their business with little exposure to yours (probably) so when you start talking about details from your world, it could sometimes sound like a foreign language to the prospect and they might not really understand what you are trying to communicate. Or they at least might not get it as quickly as they need to during a prospecting conversation.
What is their language?
In the same way that your language is the products that you want to sell and details about the company that we work for and the industry that you work in, the same areas are what make up the prospect’s language.
Details around their company, the products they sell, the industry they work in, the day-to-day things they deal with and care about, etc. is what feeds into their language. It is these details that they understand, care about, and are more interested in talking about.
How to Talk in The Prospect’s Language
If you agree with that so far, then it is easy to see that if you talk about the prospect’s world, you are talking their language. But there are two challenges with that.
First, we have products to sell so we just can’t spend all of our time talking about their stuff. The other challenge is that their language is a little foreign to us (it is their language after all) and it can be tough to figure out what to say and ask in order to talk about their world.
Here are a few tips to minimize those challenges and help you to speak their language:
1. Communicate the value that you offer
Yes, we have products to sell and we need to talk about these in order to drive sales. But one small change that you can make is to shift from talking about your products and what they do and move toward talking about the value that they offer. This is how they help the prospect.
For example, my company SalesScripter provides a library of templates. This is what that product does. But the value that it offers is that it helps a salesperson to improve their ability to get their foot in the door, generate leads, and sell more.
When you talk about the value, you will be talking about your products and about the things that the prospect cares about at the same time.
2. Share examples of the problems that you fix
The products that you sell will also probably resolve or prevent some common problems on the prospect’s side. When you talk about these, if the prospect has any of them or is concerned about them, you will definitely be more likely to grab their attention and speak their language.
For example, my company SalesScripter helps sales managers to decrease sales staff turnover, improve underperforming reps, and shorten new hire ramp-up time. Those can be common problems for a sales manager and when I talk about those, it can sound like I am talking about their world and speaking their language.
If a prospect does not have those problems, there might not be this impression that I am speaking their language as but that is OK because they are not really a qualified prospect because they don’t need the help that I offer.
3. Ask questions that lead to the areas they care about
The last tip is one that does not necessarily get you to speak their language, but more of one that takes the conversation in the direction of an area where both you and the prospect will be more likely to speak their language and that is to ask questions that lead in the areas they care about.
That may sound difficult, right? After all, that is their language, not yours. But here is a trick, for each of the problems that you resolve, you can develop one or two to see if the prospect has that problem.
For example, I might as a sales manager some of the following questions:
- Do you feel like it is challenging to get new sales hires ramped up and performing?
- Are you concerned about the amount of underperforming sales resources that you regularly have?
- Do you feel like you are getting everything out of your sales resources that you can in terms of sales performance?
- Are you concerned with the impact that sales staff turnover is having on your results and costs?
- Do you feel like your resources are performing well enough to consistently hit your sales targets?