Linguists have long known that language can shape drive thinking and shape entire cultures. We might believe that a thought comes first and then the words follow, but there is a lot of evidence that words actually affect our thoughts and attitudes as a blended process. This has huge implications for us as salespeople, because using the right words to present our value proposition can make a huge difference . . . not just at the conscious level, but at the subliminal level too.
On a recent edition of a fascinating TV show on the brain, the hosts conducted the following experiment. Around a dozen people were gathered and a fake car accident was staged. An “investigator” then went from person to person to get eye witness accounts. In half the cases, he asked, “How fast do you think the runaway car was going when it “slammed” into the parked car?” For the second group, he asked, “How fast do you think the runaway car was going when it “bumped” the other car?”
In every case, the people to whom he posed the question with the word “slammed” gave a higher estimate of speed than the people to whom he posed the question with the word “bumped.” This was within five minutes of the accident, so it dramatically demonstrated how carefully chosen words can drive our thoughts and impressions.
This week, take a little time to review your “selling vocabulary.” Make sure you are using words that really energize and support the impressions you want to make about your products and services. Words drive impressions and impressions drive sales!
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