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Even in this era of self-directed learning, people still crave demonstration. Consider the popularity of YouTube tutorials and "how to" articles. People like to learn when they want and how they want, but they'd still like someone to walk them through the process. 

The promise of an experienced teacher is reassuring when venturing into a new subject or concept; for instance, learning how to use a newly purchased product or service. With this in mind, the word "show" -- signifying experience and assistance -- can be a powerful persuasion tactic for salespeople.

Jeff Haden demonstrates the positive implication "show" contains for buyers in this Inc.com article

"My wife wanted to buy bicycle, but she was worried about getting stranded if she had a flat tire. At one store the salesman said, 'Changing a flat is easy once you learn how to do it.' Another said, 'Come on over to the workbench. First I'll show you how, and then we'll do it together,'" Haden writes.

The two salespeople made significantly different impressions on the couple. "'Learn' implies the customer has to do some homework, [but] 'show' means you'll help," Haden explains. And salespeople should strive to be helpful above all else.

"Show" also plays on our brain's psychological preference toward sensory language, which is another reason the word resonates with buyers -- especially visual learners.

"Neuro-linguistic programming is a theory that claims people react more strongly to language that invokes one of their senses. Most people have an innate bias towards their eyes, ears, or hands, which translates into them preferring visual, auditory, or kinesthetic language," explains Jeff Hoffman. "Visual people process information through their eyes, and are therefore drawn to content types they can see, such as infographics, videos, and SlideShares. Use language that evokes color, brightness, and sight -- 'show me,' 'green with envy,' etc."

Show and tell isn't just for kindergarteners. Using the word "show" in product demos and prospect calls can result in more clients showing their interest and giving you their business.

Verdict: recommended.

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Originally published Feb 12, 2015 9:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017

Topics:

Persuasion in Sales