Are You Inadvertently Talking Down To Clients?

Relationship Selling - Sales Maven Blog

Is there anything worse than someone who wants to sell you something as coming off as¬†condescending? Let’s face it; nobody appreciates being talked down too. It’s a huge rapport breaker, and if you’re anything like me, people who come off as condescending have zero chance of earning my business.

Yet, you might be surprised when you look back at your communication with clients to realize how some common language may come across as condescending or at the very least antagonistic. Chances are, this is not your intent. These phrases are widely used in our society.

Last August, I wrote an article on this topic called Phrases That Repel Clients. This week’s article offers some additional phrases you might want to avoid when talking with clients.

One phrase in particular that has been showing up lately is, “What you don’t know is….(then the person tells you something about their product/service).” Umm, how do you know what the other person knows or doesn’t know? It’s not a rapport builder to act like you know someone better than they know themselves.

Another phrase that showed up in an email this week was, “It is important that you realize…(then the person told me something about their company).” My knee-jerk response was, “Important to who? You don’t get to tell me what’s important; I decide that for myself.”

Are you starting to get a sense of how these phrases can come across as a little antagonistic or maybe even condescending?

Your Savvy Sales Tip this week: Choose your words wisely when communicating with clients. Rephrase any statements that can be misconstrued as condescending or antagonistic.

Now, let’s look at how to rephrase these statements to be more effective and to support your intention of providing information to prospects and clients.

Statement 1:

Instead of saying,

“What you don’t know is…”

Consider using,

“What you might be surprised to learn is…” or
“What you might not know is…”

Adding might gives the statement a little wiggle room, you’re no longer assuming what someone knows or doesn’t know, you’re simply offering information.

Statement 2:

Instead of saying,

“It is important that you realize…”

Consider using,

“What many clients find important is….” or
“You may not have realized yet…”

Might, may, and yet are words frequently used in my communication. Consider taking a look back through the first few paragraphs of this article and see how many of these phrases pop out at you.

Wishing you continued success this week in your client interactions.

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