Stop Using “I”
There’s a story that’s told about a personable guy at a social event who meets someone for the first time and proceeds to spend the next thirty minutes talking about himself. Realizing that he hasn’t given the other guest an opportunity to share their views, he immediately apologizes and says, ” But, enough about me talking all about myself. Let me ask you what you think about me.“ The rub is that this guy is still keeping the center of attention on himself, even when he allows the other person to talk. Although most sales professionals aren’t quite that egotistical, it can be very easy to fall into the trap of trying to impress someone by talking endlessly about who you are and what you’ve done with your life.
The rule of thumb to follow with prospects is: “People don’t care what you know, until you know that you care.” The easiest way for a sales professional to alienate a prospect is to make the conversation all about themselves, by using the word “I’. This is the one word that really turns other people off, unless the reference to yourself and your experience applies directly to the other person’s situation. A better approach is to turn the focus away from yourself by making the conversation revolve around your prospects needs. In other words, turn the “I’s” in your conversations into “You’s”. Talk about your experiences only when you can relate them to the other person. This will help you form bonds with your clients and prospects.
Consider the following examples of what you shouldn’t say and what you can replace it with.
- What not to say: “I been doing this for 20 years.” (The implication is that you’re a “know-it-all”).
Say Instead: “With 20 years of experience in the industry, I’m able to help you avoid the pitfalls that many people experience with buying (or selling) a home.”
- What not to say: “I have sold more homes in the neighborhood than any other agents because I’m the best.”
Instead, say: “My success in the neighborhood over the past several years has allowed me to gain insight that few other agents have, and then I use that insight to best represent my sellers’ needs.”
- What not to say: “I can get you a better price than other agents if you list with me.”
Instead, say: “My deep understanding of market trends allows me to justify a much higher price to buyers. If you allow me to represent you, I will use that knowledge to get you the best possible price.”
- What not to say: “I have the best website optimization and I get the most buyer leads.”
Instead, say: “Exposure to as many buyers as possible will insure you get the best price for your home. My investment in website optimization insures that you have maximum exposure all buyers.”
In each of the examples above, “Me”, “My”, and “I” were turned into statements about the buyer or seller. A good way to practice this approach is to always remember to explain the benefit to your client of any fact you introduce, especially if that fact involves you.