It seems only natural. We rehearse, over and over, what we say and how we say it. “Put the em-pha-sis on the right syl-la-ble.” “Po-ta-to, po-tah-to.” “Take my wife—[wait for it…] please.” And so on.
What you say and how you say it is indeed critical—especially if you’re a stand-up comic or a keynote speaker.
But when it comes to sales and client relationships—what drives impact is not your saying—it’s your doing. You sell by doing, not by telling.
Behaving Trumps Talking
How often have you heard:
– Actions speak louder than words
-Walk the talk
-Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand
-You have two ears and one mouth for a reason
There is much wisdom in folk wisdom like this. We over-emphasize content, over-analyze our words. Worse–our actions can contradict our words. If part of your spiel is that you’re client-focused—in that moment, you’re not.
It’s your actions that will sell—or not.
Five Opportunities to Replace Talking with Actions
You can read elsewhere tips about your demeanor, look, body language. Here are five ways you can design your actions to help your customers experience what you’re about.
1. When you illustrate a point through an example–make the example about this client, not your other clients. Everyone’s favorite subject is—themselves. Indulge them.
2. Offer free samples. It works with ice cream, but ice cream has color, taste, texture. Tax advice doesn’t. It becomes tangible only when the client gets some. Give some samples.
3. Work side by side with your customer. Don’t waste time back at your office pondering what your customer might want—ask them.
4. Put potential clients in touch with past clients–let them talk directly. They each learn a lot, and you get the credit for the introduction.
5. Ask for advice, not feedback. You can replace a hundred customer-sat written surveys with one serious, face-to-face meeting asking your customer to help you redesign your processes.
And one final bonus tip: Don’t say ‘trust me.’ Let your trustworthy actions do your talking for you.