In Sales, Stop Saying ‘We’

In Sales Stop Saying We

Think about the way you sell and the way you present your product or service. How many times do you think you use the word we? Likely hundreds. How many times should you use the word we? None.

Everything you do or say is in “we” format—especially if you have a marketing department. Does the customer care about you or themselves? Obvious answer. So why do you “we-we” all over them? They don’t care about you—unless you can help them.

The key in mastering sales is switching statements about you and how great you are and what you do, to statements about them, and how great they are, and how they will produce more and profit more from ownership of your product or service.

Here’s the secret.

Take the word we and delete it. Delete it from your slides, your literature and especially from your sales presentation. You can use “I”, but you can’t use “we”. When you stop using “we”, you have to substitute the word you or they and say things in terms of the customer. How they win, how they benefit, how they produce, how they profit, how they will be served and how they have peace of mind. “We” is for selling. “You” is for buying.

Go through your presentation, record it, listen to it actively, which means taking notes. Count the word we. I’ll bet there are plenty. Take out the “we” and begin to make value statements instead of selling statements.

Here’s the reality in plain English.

The buyer, the prospect, the customer expects you to have knowledge of their stuff, not just your stuff. To transfer that knowledge, the prospect needs to understand and agree with your ideas, feel your passion, feel your belief and feel your sincerity beyond the hype of the sales pitch.

  • You have to know their industry, not just your product.
  • You have to know their business, not just your product.
  • You have to know what’s new, what’s next and not just your product.
  • You have to know the current trends, not just your product.
  • You have to know their marketing, not just your product.
  • You have to know their productivity, not just your product.
  • You have to know their profit, not just your product.

Are you committing these classic examples of “we-we” thinking?

1. We have to educate the customer. 

Do you really think any customer on the planet wants your education? I can just picture your top 25 prospects sitting around doing nothing and saying, “Boy, I sure hope those people at Acme come over here and educate us, ’cause we’re pretty stupid.”

2. You feel like you have to tell the prospect all about you, your company and your product.

These three things are guaranteed to put any prospect to sleep while you lose the sale.

3. We offer solutions.

Hey Albert Einstein, do you think I’m just sitting here all day doing everything wrong, hoping that you will come along and rescue me with your “solution”? Solutions are an insult to a prospect. Answers are better and more partnership and relationship-driven.

4. You compare yourself to the competition, rather than differentiate from them.

You’re still selling your features and benefits. More “we-we.” I don’t want features, I want value. I don’t want benefits, I want value.

5. You have a PowerPoint presentation that brags, rather than proves.

Power points focused on brags instead of proving the value of your service will not put a prospect to sleep. It will put them in a deep sleep.

Here’s what you need to make a sale.

  1. Answers they need.
  2. Ideas they benefit from.
  3. How you differentiate from the others.
  4. Value they perceive.
  5. Trust they perceive as a result of all the other elements being in place.

Meanwhile, the customer is qualifying you. They are forming a perception of you as you present. They are evaluating their risk of buying and doing business with you. They are formulating barriers. They are aware of their urgency of need, or not. They are doing a mental comparison between you and the others. They are thinking, and their thoughts will become your reality.

In sales, it’s not what you say; it’s how they perceive what you say.

If the prospect perceives that it’s all about you, then there’s going to be a higher chance for unspoken risk and a lower sense of urgency on their part. If they perceive the presentation is about them, and they understand it and they need what you’re offering, then their barriers and risks will be lowered or removed, paving the path to purchase.

This article was published in May 2011 and has been updated. Photo by @Korneevamaha/Twenty20

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Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible and The Little Red Book of Selling. President of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service.

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