Words are bullets and language drives behaviour.
Some have killed, others have died for the sake of a few words. Words shape our experience, our attitude and our actions – so it’s important to think about what we say the consequences of our words.
Some words have emotionally charged connotations that trigger an automatic response in our nervous systems, irrespective of the context.
One such word is the verb “to close”. It evokes visions of closure, endings, a finish.
Many phrases that use the word have negative connotations; “close minded”; “closed shop”; “closed door” and so on.
When we use the term “close a sale” it implies it is the end result. And so it is – from the perspective of a salesperson who can move on to another sale he or she can “close”.
But from the perspective of the customer it isn’t an end – it’s a beginning. It’s the beginning of a relationship with a company that’s sold them a product and service. There’s a cognitive dissonance here – the salesperson, who is supposed to care for the customer and help them receive the business benefits they are looking for, has don his or her job thank you very much and can move on.
Meanwhile the customer is passed on to someone else to look after and if they don’t get what they expected or were promised that’s not the salesperson’s problem. All care and no responsibility – or in many recently documented cases, particularly in the financial services arena, no care and no responsibility.
Of course, the majority of salespeople are ethical, they do care about the customer and they do want them to achieve the results they have been promised.
So let’s make our language match our customer facing rhetoric. If we’re committed to building relationships, delivering value, promoting customer satisfaction and selling ethicallywe need to use relevant language
So let’s not ‘close’ any more sales – Instead, let’s ‘open’ relationships.