Dairy Marketing Practice | Contributing Columnist


The 3 Things You Need To Use Words That Sell

Dan Strongin ASQ CMQ/OE Uncorporate Consultant

June 14, 2019


Let’s talk clarity. People click on pretty pictures, but do they buy? They see the flashy package. But these are decorations. What sells are words. Simple changes in a sentence can make a world of difference.

Most of us talk about our products and what makes them great. It means a lot to us, but not always to them. For your customer, do any of those things make the difference? For years I did not have a clue. One day a hotshot asked me, “if you don’t speak to consumers how can you know what they think?”

We come up with clever phrases. Do they like our phrases? Do they help a prospective buyer overcome their resistance to buy? Lots of people make good cheese, lots of people have state of the art stuff. Is that what consumers are looking for?

Some selling language is annoying. Those titles with the three or the five things you need, or The Ultimate this or that, for instance, are annoying, but they work. They appeal to what people want. Good taste aside, they work. We are talking sales here.

But it goes deeper. Most of us see the world through the lens of ME. To sell, we need words that talk to what other people see in their lens, not ours. We do not count when we are doing the selling.

Most people want similar things: to be safe, to eat, to love, to do dignified work, to matter. They fear spending money. They distrust confusing situations, and do not like having to think too much. They like when told what to do. Not everyone, but most. For example, the deli sign that sold the most for me back in the day was a simple “You must buy this cheese!”

In our words we need to talk to THEM.

We need to tell them, in simple declarative sentences, how our product will help them be safe, eat better, love, etc. I will share a few things to help you do that.

The three things you need to use words that sell are:

1) Clarity
No complex words or sentences, please! If you cannot say it so a 10 year old can understand it, you do not understand it yourself. Go back and think it through some more until you do. To help, there is a wonderful app online at hemingwayapp.com. It highlights our worst sins, and explains how to remove them. The key to clarity is to condense. To compress big ideas into a few simple words. Start big, make small. Think of all the ad campaigns you have heard over the years. The simplest clearest ones worked the best, no? Apple’s “Think different!” is a good example. Nike´s “Go for it!” too. If I had a dollar for all the times I have had people say it to me...

2) Humilty
Customers want to be the heroes. Let them. Put yourself and your product second. Brainstorm how your product can help them live better, matter more, enjoy more, eat well, be safer. Not kidding. Get a piece of paper right now and start. Share it with the key people in your business. Share it with some customers. Choose a few and test them to see what works. Stop selling and start serving

3) A Call to Action
Tell people what you want them to do, over and over again. Give them a simple roadmap on how to buy your products. I am talking three to five simple steps.

Something like:
1. Call this number: 555-555-5555
2. Tell us your order
3. Get your stuff.

Repeat the steps in every communication, every email, over and over again. I am amazed how difficult it is to find out how to buy from so many companies. Often when you do it is worse. Make it easy and enjoyable for them to do business with you and they will.

People like lists. Give them one: a list of what you promise. For example:
Why buy from us?
1. Our cheese tastes good, and is safe to eat, every time.
2. Ordering from us is easy.
3. We listen, call us!

Delighting customers, and making it easy for them to buy from you is not silly! Making a good product is a given. Helping them fit it into THEIR lens, with words, is not, but it should be

Dan Strongin is a former president of the American Cheese Society, chef and business coach for small to medium value added businesses. Dan can be reached via email at dan@danstrongin.com




The views expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of Cheese Reporter.



Dan Strongin

Dan Strongin is a former president of the American Cheese Society, chef and business coach for small to medium value added businesses, and the owner of the sites learn.managenaturally.com, and the Facebook group Enjoy Cheese. His online course: “Cheese: How to Buy, Store, Taste, Pair, Talk About and Serve”, is available at enjoycheese.net. Dan can be reached via email at dan@danstrongin.com.

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