One of the most important things I learned as an entrepreneur is that, surprisingly, a large part of my job was to be a salesperson. And selling – whether you are fundraising, pitching, or actually trying to find buyers for your product – is really about language. There is a great deal of meaning in the words we use, the way our words are phrased, and the various verbal constructs (intonation, cadence, tone, etc.) surrounding the message. The importance of language in the sales process is often sorely underestimated, leading to a general misunderstanding of your pitch, their needs, and ultimately – why they actually said “no”.
Remember this – Getting to the “close” is about paying attention to “prose”. (I’m sorry…that was horrible…I just couldn’t help myself)
Before we dive into tactics, a quick primer – one of the product leads for Airbnb once told me that an internal mantra for their engineering team was “the whole screen matters”, meaning that team members needed to prioritize every single item that appeared on a user’s screen, since they were all equally important. In your sales process, the same is true – the whole screen matters, except think of each communication as part of that screen. Newbies often make the mistake of over-emphasizing the pitch itself and ignoring all the communications that happen before, during, and after the pitch. The point is – you need to be vigilant and care about the language used by all parties in every single email, call, and meeting so you can build a strong case for the “sale” & gain insight into what they really need, want, and think.