Several years ago, I was working with a company that sold a wide variety of insurance products. Although insurance is a critically important product that plays a big role in our financial security, the EVP of sales felt his team of 120 sales people just couldn’t communicate the value of their products in an exciting and compelling way. He asked me how I’d explain, to a young couple that just got married, what a life insurance policy could do for them.
I responded with, “I’d say something like this: What young couples tell us they love about our whole life insurance policy is they know they’re not only insuring themselves in the event of an unexpected death, but they’re actually investing at the same time. They love the fact that it’s forced savings that helps them accomplish two important pieces of their financial picture. What they tell us, is it gives them both security and confidence that their future will lead to financial independence. So I’m curious, how important is financial independence to you by the time you reach 55?”
When I finished that example and several others, he leaned forward and asked me if I could teach his people to communicate more like that. During that project, we learned that all of his people knew their products much better than I did, but what I did is insert a few phrases into my communication that transformed my product description. When I taught his team those phrases and put them through verbal drills to use them, it had an immediate and transforming impact on their communication.
That’s when I became fully aware of the power of prompter phrases. So let’s take a look at what they are. A prompter phrase is a short phrase that helps us communicate from the perspective of an existing, happy customer. Here’s an example of a few of them:
- What customers tell us they like most about…
- What we hear from customers all the time when it comes to…
- I was talking to a customer of ours last week and he told me he really likes…
- In a meeting several weeks ago, a customer asked me about our…
Although these simple phrases may seem unimportant, they have an astounding impact on the way we communicate. They help bring our message to life and animate our voice tone because it helps us connect with real people and memories we can fashion into interesting dialogue and stories. I have seen ultra-seasoned veteran sales professionals try these prompter phrases for the first time in training and then call me a month later to let me know that this simple technique was the most useful new sales idea they’d heard in years. For some, it was decades. They’d tell me, repeatedly, how it just reduced the resistance to their ideas and how powerful it was at creating a great first impression on the phone. Since that time, we built many of our training modules around this simple technique and have developed drills to help salespeople learn how to insert these prompter phrases throughout the sales process. The impact is enormous. They work because:
- They force us to communicate in a more interesting way
- They get us into the positive habit of communicating the benefits of our products through the lens of our best customers
- They get us to think the way customers think
- They turn on a more creative communication style that prospects and customers really respond to.
When working with a the SalesGym practice coach, you’ll often hear him/her ask you to use a prompter phrase. Those drills will make you a much better salesperson.
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