Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth right now?

By David Szen on Dec 5, 2012

Yes, that is a quote from a funny Jackie Chan movie. However, it has real meaning in professional sales. Stop and think about the amount of hours and weeks that are burned preparing for strategic sales calls. Sales reps, sales leaders, marketing departments and top executives pour their souls into very important selling opportunities.

This is the right thing to do. Companies absolutely should invest heavily in the right selling opportunities. What might need some attention? Planning the dialogue and that means planning the “words that are coming out of my mouth right now.” We have to leave time for planning and practice. 

Sound basic? It’s not or more sales reps would do this while less sales reps execute the show-up and throw-up. That is not unkind – it’s just true and we have all done it some point in our selling careers. It’s time to fix this and plan our words. Let’s look at the benefits of planned and practiced words first.

Benefit #1 – Less will be more. When we plan the sales dialogue we edit along the way and select less words. When we "wing it" we babble and take too long to deliver messages that could have left more time for the most important thing – LISTENING TO THE PROSPECT!

Benefit #2 – You will plan stories that build a better dialogue. Adults love stories and they liven up a sales call. It frees the sales rep from reading bullet points to prospects and lets them add colorful stories that make for memorable calls.

Benefit #3 – You will know if you have too much to cover and edit immediately. This helps you avoid the dreaded – “I will leave this behind so you can review since we don’t have time.” When you edit you leave more time for that most important thing again – LISTENING TO THE PROSPECT!

Here is the easy way to do this and I know it works based on my experience selling, speaking, and working with sales teams in both practice and "live" settings. Professional sales calls for things like – slides, selling brochures, samples, graphs, charts, Ipad presentations, etc. They all do the same thing – Provide something for the prospect to look at while a sales rep creates background noise called sales dialogue.

Use the rule of THREE.

No more than THREE talking points per item/slide/point/graph/sample being presented and they should not just be the same points that are printed. Ask yourself this: What are the words that are coming out of my mouth when the prospect looks at this? Bring the content to life by adding stories of value, problem-solving, cost/benefit and focus on the WIIFM (What’s in it for me?). Your prospect does not care about the font, the pictures, the animations, the paper stock or the brand promise – They only want to hear two things loud and clear. WHY SHOULD I CARE and WHAT DO I GAIN? Make sure your words are about that and not the rest.

So, look at what is being presented and make THREE talking points. Next, write them down on your practice document. Someone is thinking: How long should I take on these three points? Use the rule of THREE again. Not a second longer than 3 minutes and that includes a story if you have one. Many times you will stay well short of THREE minutes but when you practice you have to be aware of time. Why? The adult attention span is brutally short. If we talk for longer than THREE minutes the prospect feels like it is three days. 

Now, buckle up, this is the big finale’. Practice the words. That means you must leave time to say the words a few times so you know what you will be covering and how. Don’t worry about memorizing, even the largest clients seem to be ok with the rep having something in front of them that they follow and it really shows preparation. Practice makes for better sales calls and it elevates the one thing that all sales reps must have onboard during calls – CONFIDENCE. You see I believe that PRACTICE and CONFIDENCE are on a scale together and they climb together. You feel this during a call when you know what words are coming and have practiced the delivery. 

What is the result? Your prospect will “understand the words that are coming out your mouth” when you plan, keep it simple, practice the rule of three and practice the delivery. Go get ready for some great calls and I wish you successful selling.

David Szen

Written by David Szen

David Szen is a master facilitator and leadership development expert. As a Principal Consultant at Symmetrics Group, David has designed and delivered custom sales and leadership content for countless clients. He is most comfortable in front of groups or in keynote settings where his high-energy delivery style connects with people and brings content to life. David’s specialties include sales training design, leadership development, coaching performance management, workshop facilitation and strategic account planning. He recently co-authored the book The Multigenerational Sales Team with Symmetrics Group's founder Warren Shiver.

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