How to Improve Vocabulary for Better Sales Conversations
The trick to better sales conversations may be as simple as having more words.
Even if you’ve nailed your sales pitch, you may still struggle with articulating both the features and the benefits of your product or service to your prospects, especially if they ask you a lot of questions. Do you sometimes stumble on your words? Do you occasionally draw a blank during conversation? If so, you may benefit from improving your vocabulary so you have more words in your sales arsenal.
Increasing your vocabulary will not only allow you to describe your product or service in exciting, new ways but also help you appeal to different types of prospects. Some may want you to be more technical in your explanation, while others relate better to descriptive language that tells a story.
When you have access to a wide variety of words, then you can adjust and pivot as necessary. In this article, we’ll explain how you can boost your vocabulary for sales success.
Read Widely and Voraciously
One of the best ways to boost your vocabulary is to start reading many different types of genres and formats—novels, nonfiction, poetry, newspapers, magazines, etc. You’ll want to try to sink your teeth into all types of reading materials, because each one will teach you something new about how to use language effectively.
If you encounter a word you don’t fully understand, then pay special attention to it instead of ignoring it: look it up in the dictionary, observe how it’s being used in context, try to use it yourself, and then make a point of using it in conversation when you can.
If you prefer to read on a device like a phone or a Kindle, there’s usually an option to click on any word and pull up the dictionary definition. This process is seamless and is highly recommended for building your vocabulary. If you’re looking to speed up both your rate of book consumption and your lexicon’s growth, grabbing a device with this kind of feature can do both.
Remember to make more time for reading, too. We might all say we’re too busy, but we also spend way too much time on social media. Stats from 2019 showed the average user spent over two hours a day on social media; considering everything going on in 2020, that number will likely be higher for the foreseeable future. Limit your social media consumption sessions to 15 minutes once or twice a day, and replace those other “reach for the phone” moments with a book, your Kindle, or an ereader app on your phone. If you’re generally glued to your phone, use that time (or that phone) to instead read something a little more weighty.
Before you know it, your friends and colleagues will start telling you how impressed they are with your new language skills. We even have some reading recommendations for sales reps.
Play Word Games for Better Sales Conversations
Expanding your vocabulary doesn’t have to be boring — we don’t recommend opening the first page of the dictionary and digging in. Instead, you can make the process of growing your vocabulary by playing word games!
For example, you can pick up a crossword puzzle, set a recurring Scrabble game night with friends, or try the Words with Friends app. Games that rely on speed and a hard time limit, like Boggle, can help you the next time you’re trying to flex your vocabulary when you’re on your feet or feeling pressured.
When improving your vocabulary can mean the difference between winning or losing a game, you’ll be more motivated to start learning new words. In addition, you may learn some new words from your competitors.
Commit to a Word a Day
Make learning new words a normal part of your daily routine with a “word a day” calendar, app, or website.
Did you know that Dictionary.com features a Word of the Day? Simply visit the website on a daily basis, and then commit to learning that word and using it in context.
You can also sign up for various word-of-the-day email newsletters or use smartphone apps that will help you expand your vocabulary. Apps like Word of the Day are available in the Google Play store and in Apple’s App Store and will send you a notification once a day with a new word, its definition, and suggestions for how to use it in context. The Oxford English Dictionary site has a simple sign-up process for a newsletter that drops a new word in your inbox each day.
With all these resources at your fingertips, you have no excuse not to expand your vocabulary!
Plan Your Conversation
Some may balk at this idea, but many people aren’t born with the gift of gab. The idea of extemporaneous sparkling conversation may be quite difficult, especially at the beginning of a career.
Others may worry that rehearsing a conversation may end up killing the spontaneity, making the words and tone feel rote. So the question is, does planning conversations help or hurt?
Trying to write down the whole conversation before it happens is destined to fail, but you can certainly create a brief little outline or list of questions for yourself to help steer the conversation. Having an outline will also prevent you from getting off track. Include a few of your favorite new vocabulary words in this outline, and you’ll remember to use them (and use them properly) when the time comes.
Practice Makes Perfect
Verbal communication skills can be improved like any other skill. Consider recording your next couple sales calls and going over the transcript to see where you could use some work. There are plenty of guides out there to help you improve your language skills; maybe schedule time once a month to sit down and do a post-game analysis on your own communication.
You might be surprised in a year to find out you have a brand new silver tongue.
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