Thursday, August 18, 2016

Perspicaciously Simple Speech

Perspicaciously Simple Speech

Does your sales pitch sound like mixture of Pig Latin and a Dennis Miller comedy rant?  If so, you’re probably leaving business on the table.  Keeping it simple is the key to communication.

Some salespeople insist on using every brain cell to craft the perfect sales pitch.  They design explanations for the logic and reason that supports buying their product using Youtube footage from the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee.  While it sounds great in their heads, essential information is not sinking in because the client’s brain is in turmoil.  

One of my favorite clients is a well aged Italian fellow who is a no nonsense, shrewd, somewhat intimidating self made millionaire.  About 10 years ago, I sold him the first of many insurance policies for his large estate planning need.  Even then, I knew more than most, but prepared for several hours for the meeting so I could pull back the curtain to explain to him all about the inner workings of the policy options I was recommending.  I also talked about ownership options, premium financing possibilities and the like.  Thankfully, he liked me just enough not to boot me from his office but instead scolded me.  “Stop!,” he said sternly, “I can tell you know what you’re talking about, but I’m not getting it.  Start over and explain it to me like I’m a child.”  Maybe I shouldn't have put that in quotes since I edited all the swearing, but he was dead right.  I felt about two feet tall after he snapped at me.  I was wasting his valuable time.  He really only needed to know the essentials.  I gathered myself and gave him the info using simple language and sold him that first policy.  From then on, our meetings rarely lasted more than 20 minutes because I condensed all the information for him into its simplest form.  Wasting his time could have resulted in him changing agents or my waking to find a severed horse head in my bed or both.  I have learned a lot as I have worked with him and his family over the last several years and I value those lessons.  Here are a few:

Drop the industry jargon.  Just because the person across from you is nodding his or her head, that doesn’t mean they understand what you’re saying.  If they leave to “think about it,” it might be so they can google some of the words you were using.

Use simple speech.  There’s no reason to use big words in a sales meeting.  It makes you sound like a phony.  Studies have shown that those who use large academic words are regarded as having lower intelligence.  In other words, trying to sound smart makes you sound stupid.  By the way, Guetapens was the winning word in the 2012 National Spelling Bee.  Ironically, Guetapens could be used as a metaphorical substitution for “Sales pitch.”

Focus on the result.   Mr. Client, buying my product will make you happier, healthier and wealthier.

“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” – Albert Einstein