Which Language Should you Speak to Your Buyer

by Story

When they present their company, none of my clients want to sound like a pushy salesperson who tries to trick you. I don’t think anybody wants that.

When I worked in retail sales, I hated myself for failing to avoid that mimicry.

Why is it that at some point, we all fall into the trap of doing it?

I think it’s because we make the false assumption that selling something is being concerned only with that thing.

The art of selling is essentially human because it is first of all about empathy.

Selling is all about others and the value we can create for them.

So to help us avoid the trap of sounding like the narcissistic pushy salesperson, I like to think of the buyer-seller relationship as follows.

The seller wants to sell a solution. For that, she likes to speak “seller-ese”. The “Seller-ese” dictionary is mostly comprised of words about features and benefits, curated by marketing.

On another end, the buyer likes to speak “buyer-ese”. Buyer-see dictionary has almost no “Seller-ese” words. That’s because the buyer is initially not interested in buying a solution, but rather an understanding of her own needs.

When someone articulates your problem in a new and insightful way, you believe the person must have the solution. But the solution comes in much later.

A few more things:

  • We are all the same. What matters to us first is our own needs.
  • We think we know what we need, but in fact, we all crave a new perspective on that.
  • People don’t buy the best solution or product around. They buy the solution that they understand the best, and from the seller that seems to understand them the best.

Whose responsibility is it to do adapt to the other language?

That’s right, the seller.


This is one of the topics I cover in my training workshop called “The Bigger Story: Strategic Storytelling to Drive Profit and Engagement”. I am gearing up to deliver it remotely for business leaders at Microsoft in a couple of weeks. You will hear me talk more about this topic in my upcoming posts. If you’d like to know more about this workshop, let’s talk.


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