The 10 most powerful words in the English language

You’ve probably heard of or read some of Robert Louis Stevenson’s books. Books such as Treasure Island, or The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or A Child’s Garden of Verses.

But chances are you’re not familiar with his incredible insight when he wrote, “Everyone lives by selling something.” He learned early on that everyone is a salesperson and that includes YOU.

Everybody is in the business of selling something. You may be a full-time salesperson selling a product or service. You may be a manager selling her team members on the need for a change in procedures. You may be an employee selling your boss or company on giving you a promotion. Or you may be a father selling his kids on going to bed or doing their homework.

Whether you like it or not, you are a salesperson. The only difference between people is that a few people are very good at selling, but most people suck at it.

So the challenge is to get better at selling yourself and your ideas. Because that always leads to greater success and happiness. So let me give you a few tips to get you started that come from my program on 4C Leadership: Communication, Cooperation, Change and Commitment. And don’t forget to pick up the 10 most powerful words in the English language at the end of today’s Tuesday Tip.

►1. Pay attention to the image you are projecting.

One of the more powerful things you can do to be a more effective salesperson is to pay attention to the image you are projecting. Do people see you as a pushover, for example, that they can ignore at will? Or do people see you as someone they should take seriously? It makes a huge difference in your effectiveness.

And this isn’t some foreign concept. When you were dating, for example, you tried to present yourself in a way that would be favorably perceived by your love interest. And when you first became a supervisor, you tried to project an image of confidence that said you expected performance from others.

You need to help other people see you in such a way that they are more likely to cooperate with you. And their perception comes directly from your behavior.

So remember this because it’s a key point: What you permit, you promote.

For example, if you permit someone to speak rudely to you, you have just promoted more of the same behavior in the future. If you permit a colleague to get by with work that is poor in quality, you’ve just ensured more of the same. If you permit your kids to keep on going to bed past their appointed bed time, you’ve just promoted a lot more bedtime hassles in the future.

Tip: If you know the image you are projecting and like it, that’s great. If your image is less than effective, change it. And if you don’t how you come across, start asking around.

► 2. Organize your thoughts.

You can’t expect to sell anybody on anything if they don’t understand your request.

So take some time to clearly define what you want to get from the other person. You might write out exactly what you want, just for the sake of practice. And rewrite your points until your request is clear, your reasoning makes sense, and your words can be easily communicated.

By contrast, I find that most people skip this step. They just blurt out what they want when they either have the time or the guts to say it. They don’t spend much time thinking it out in advance, which is pretty stupid.

When I’m speaking to full-time sales professionals, for example, I tell them that the worst time to think of what they’re going to say to someone else is when they pick up the phone or walk into someone’s office.

Tip: Always THINK first. ORGANIZE your thoughts. Then speak or write out your comments. You’ll never regret it.

► 3. Use the 10 most powerful in the English language.

Words have power. And the simple truth is these ten words are more effective in selling yourself and your ideas than most other words. So sprinkle them throughout your conversation and emails and you will see people respond more positively to you.

1. You

This should come as no surprise. According to the highest paid copy-writers, you have to use “you” three times for every one time you use a word like “I”, “me” or “our”. If you have heard me speak, you will know that I often ask the audience, “Who is the most important person in the world?”. And the answer, of course, is YOU.

2. Results

This is powerful because everyone wants to see some results in their lives.

3. Health

This may be especially powerful if you’re selling a product or solution that offers greater health to the buyer. But even in personal situations, people want to know that what you are suggesting is good for them.

4. Guarantee

If you can guarantee a good outcome for the other person, say so. We all suffer from a bit of fear, but this word takes out the fear factor.

5. Discover

Personally, I love adventure, excitement, and new things. If the person you are talking to has a similar love, using this word may prompt them to go along with you.

6. Love

Most people seem to welcome a little more love in their lives. And if you can show how your idea will make them a little more loveable, you will be a little more persuasive.

7. Proven

When selling anything at work or at home, the word “proven” has proven to be one of the most effective words you can use. After all, most people do not want to be the guinea pig.

8. Safety

To some extent, most people are somewhat risk averse. They don’t want too much danger in their lives. So sometimes telling people that your idea or product is “safe” will be just enough to win them over.

9. Save

Ever since the beginning of advertising, “save” or “saving” has become an all-time classic in the persuasion of others. Don’t be afraid to use it.

10. New

Not all ten of these words work equally well on all people. For example, my accountant might like the word “proven” a lot more than this word “new.” But there are millions of people who buy into this word. “New” is exciting to me and many others, but maybe not you. The point is … you’ve got to take into consideration who you’re talking to as you choose to use these words.

Final Thought: Accept the fact that you are always selling something. Now accept the fact that you can get better at doing so. And do it using these tips.