Watch your language- Avoid wallet closing words

Social Media Examiner
Social Media Examiner

I’m going to share with you how to use your words to grow your business and what words you need to avoid.  

First let me introduce you to Michael Fishman.  For the last 20 years Michael has been a leading advisor to marketing in the health and wellness and personal development niche.  He has advised marketing strategies with Men’s Health and worked with several admired doctors to improve marketing and branding using choice words.

I recently heard an interview with Michael on Derek Halpern’s Social Triggers Insider Podcast. Derek covers Marketing Psychology in a bright and breezy way and talks to some great people.

While Michael made a lot of sense about the use of language it was the Wallet Closing Words term that Derek Halpern raised that caught my attention. There are many words that we all use in presenting our products and services when presenting our solutions to prospects and we remain totally ignorant of it most of the time.

But before I get to the specifics lets talk about some of the points Michael made that we can readily apply every day.

I think the key message is keep your language simple and conversational…don’t use words you wouldn’t use in conversation with your friends.

But firstly it is vital you know exactly who your audience is and tailor your words to suit. In an upcoming post I will talk more about this in terms of segment and the changing nature of marketing advertising. As Michael Fishburn tells us:

Words of anglo saxon are 1-2 syllables.  They are short simple and to the point and very easy to understand.

Words of Latin origin are 3-4 syllables and usually end in -ion.  These are for more sophisticated audience…

Why say utilise when what you mean is use.

As frightening as it may be you need to dumb your language down and focus on writing and speaking at a 1st Year High School level unless your prospects are nuclear physicists or art connoisseurs.  It’s a sad indictment but this is where most people are in terms of language comprehension.

Selling is like customer service – we all know the difference between good and bad when we see or experience it.   I am sure you would roll your eyes at some on the things you say when talking to a prospect…if they were being said to you as a potential buyer.

So put yourself in the prospects shoes and listen to yourself often…and when you cringe…change it!!

These days it’s all about Helping our Prospects and Clients and to do that we need to understand their needs and be understood.

So lets look at some specifics…

Over the years I have worked with clients in finance and real estate and whilst they are obsessed with legal and ethical requirements to be compliant when giving advice they generally resort to language that the Croc Brain that lurks within all of us would ring alarm bells a…and wanting to have us run or attack!

Jargon words like Mortgage, Loans, Borrowing Capacity, Debt etc  seem perfectly reasonable BUT they are not what a prospect wants to hear when buying a house. They want to hear Finance, Assets, Funding etc.. They want to know how you will help them realise a dream not how you will help them get into debts…because thats what Loans, Mortgages, Borrowing etc mean to most people.

When you say Loan or Mortgage they are immediately thinking how will I afford to pay this back and not listening to your words and about how they will help me and the benefits they get.

I can identify with this as our See Global Media business in Singapore is currently borrowing several million dollars from Venture Capitalists to invest in businesses we work with and want to work with. But never do we talk about borrowing the money which we have to pay back….with 8% interest…we talk about the funding we need. Way more positive feeling to me to think funding not debt.

Another Classic is TRUST…the moment I hear Trust Me…Trust anything I get very wary. Trust is reserved for people we know very well and has been earned over a long period generally. And a Trust Fund etc…who is it that I am going to Trust??

And now lets have a quick look at my favourite words…Weasel Words and Marketing Babble.

When it comes to marketing everyone thinks they can do it…and fail to recognise it’s about understanding people and more so understanding the psychology that drives them.  Real Marketers rarely use the words and terms that the amateurs think are important.

Such as State of the Art, Best Practice, Loyal Staff and my favorite Passionate.

Staff are generally not that loyal…stop paying them for a day or two and see how loyal they are .

People are not passionate about Real Estate etc they are passionate about the money they get from being, in their eyes, good at it.

So once again when you hear weasel words and marketing babble you recognise it and probably cringe (at least a little)…just make sure you don’t use it.

Let me finish by talking about a presentation I attended yesterday with a client. I didn’t want to go because everyone there was in some area of financial services…so I assumed I would be bored or bamboozled or most likely both…I went because he is my best client!!

But I was pleasantly surprised and in fact had a couple of Light Bulb moments during the 2 hour session.

Firstly they largely unconsciously avoided the industry jargon (Loans etc etc) except where necessary. That said a lot to me about the Culture of the organisation.  They had some great signs on their office walls (below) but I assumed that was for show but I observed a culture that supported the (18)

And finally they showed a presentation they give to clients…it started with an example of a real Problem and real solution they had delivered for real people. No features or benefits, no technical product information…no how good are we.

Unless I can identify this is right for me I am not interested in anything you say about how good you are and how great the product is. Let me know that you understand me if you want my attention.  I will go into more detail on this in an upcoming post about the changing nature of marketing advertising.

For now…

“Don’t think OF the market. Think AS the market. – @MichaelFishman

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