Excellent technical skills are a must for any business. Outstanding verbal skills are also, as they influence customer service, sales, team effectiveness, efficiency, and turnover. If you say the wrong thing, or say something the wrong way, you risk losing customers and prospect opportunities. You jeopardize effective communication with everybody.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you are in, you are also in the business of interacting with people. This requires developing and managing both new and ongoing relationships. You must have a good understanding of persuasion and influence. In other words, you need to know how to get the outcomes you really want by using the power of your words.
There is a very thin line in any dialogue between being tactful and persuasive and not being understood. Or being confrontational. Which do you think leads to better outcomes?
I have listed a few things to be aware of saying or not saying. I have also explained the “why” for you.
With a few small changes you will find yourself getting much better results!
Say: Yes! Find ways to answer questions with “Yes!” It leads to the perception of great service.
Don’t say : No. Don’t use any other negative words either. They communicate that you are not interested in helping. It’s really anti-customer service. And it basically shuts down any dialogue.
Don’t say: Can’t. You want to be perceived as customer friendly, right? Say what you CAN do. CAN”T communicates that you are unwilling to cooperate.
Reword “I’ll have to ___” with “I’d be happy too ___.” Because the former makes it seem like a burden. The latter communicates you are pleased to handle it.
Replace “That can’t be done” with “We can ____.” You want clients saying “Why would I ever go someplace else? These people are great to work with!”
Rephrase “I would like you to ___” with “Would you do me a favor?” Don’t tell people what you want. They don’t care. Most people are willing to do you a favor. This is a request not a command and people will respond in a more positive manner.
Don’t say “It’s going to be a problem.” This is one of the worst phrases a customer or client can hear. Life is full of problems already. Don’t add to them. Instead say “Here is what I recommend.”
Don’t say “I’ll try to ___.” It doesn’t communicate your commitment. Instead say “I will ____.” Can you feel the difference between these phrases? Remember the words of that wise philosopher Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try!”
Don’t say “That’s impossible.” It communicates that you don’t want to do something and you won’t help. Worst of all, if someone else does that later, you will look incompetent. Instead say “It’s possible we could ___.”
Don’t say “You’ll have to ask someone else.” Say “Let me find out for you.” Customer service is not about telling the customer what you can’t do, but giving positive answers about what you CAN do.
Don’t say “That’s not practical” or “It doesn’t make sense.” Don’t make judgments. Instead say “Thanks for bringing that up. I can look into that option for you.”
Don’t say “Our policy is ___.” I’ve been known to respond to this with: “Don’t let your policies get in the way of good customer service.” Instead say “What we have found works best is ____.”
Don’t say “Won’t.” It can create anger and resentment. It communicates that you made a decision to not take care of a customer. Instead say “I will be able to ___” and look for a compromise that works for both.
Don’t say “I disagree.” You are the expert in your field. But when you use this phrase, it’s fighting words. Avoid confrontation by accepting that people have a variety of opinions. Instead say “I understand your point of view. However, I’d like to share some other options with you.” Or “Have you considered ____.”
Your ability to speak effectively with prospects and customers, both internal and external, will make a tremendous difference in your business. It will impact your top line, customer satisfaction, morale, production, and your stress level.
These are pretty simple ways to be better at persuasion and influence. And so, it will certainly set you apart from your competition if they are not doing these things!