Successful selling is like blagging a discount at a Spanish greengrocer’s: you need to speak their lingo. If you pick the wrong words – or a whole other language – you’ll be understood by the brain, but not felt by the heart…and if a deal doesn’t feel right, it’s not happening.

If you think a sale is the exchange of money for products and services, think again. A sale is the transfer of emotion, thereby, making someone feel the way you do.

So how can you make a deal feel right?

First of all it has to sound right.

One of my little icebreakers when speaking at conferences is to ask people to scribble down as many different words for emotions as they can. How many could you get? Most people get around five or six. That’s a poor return, when there are 3000 emotionally-descriptive words in the English language.

In sales, words turn into meanings turn into feelings turn into actions. You need to be comfortable with describing your own emotions before you can touch anybody else’s. Generally speaking, us Brits are rubbish at feelings because we don’t talk about them much. Stiff upper lip is a stereotype, granted, but stereotypes don’t spring up from nowhere do they? If only we could express ourselves better, we’d all be better sellers.

Be animated with feelings

Our southern European cousins tend to be much more animated about feelings. If you’re on holiday somewhere like Spain or Italy, watch the locals, how much they talk with their hands, how whatever they are talking about seems either the best thing ever or the worst of the worst. The energy and commitment that they put into describing situations is inspirational. If you can bring little bit of that home with you, you’ll be a better seller for it.

But back to speaking the right language: we do deals when it feels right. If you wanted the Spanish greengrocer to do you a discount, you need to speak good Spanish. You say tomato, he says tomate…you’ll pay top price. I’m not saying Spanish people don’t like the English – they like the English who make an effort.

Be a tailor-made seller

Same goes for selling. You have to be flexible, mix it up. You can’t go round doing the same presentation wherever you go. Make your presentations relevant to the language and culture of the businesses you are selling to. Use the language they use. Talk about the emotions they feel. What emotions does your product or service conjure up? You can find all this stuff out, it’s just a matter of research, of asking and caring.

What I’m saying is, if you can recognise and express emotions, and know every person and situation has different expectations, you’re halfway there. Do your homework. Be the classy ‘foreigner’ who makes an effort to ‘act local’, and you’ll go far.


If you want your team to be better at selling, drop me a line on:

Now read: To grow your business, sell the sizzle, not the sausage

<a href=”″>BCN: Butcher</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

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