Do Start-Ups Need Sales Linguistics?

Do Start-Ups Need Sales Linguistics Training? Everyone is looking for data. A linguistic approach to sales ties scientific insights into action. Steve Martin popularized Sales Linguistics and applied some of the basic linguistic framework and methodology to sales. Why start ups? 

Linguistics and Sociolinguistics, which includes the study of language and society, seeks to explain how we communicate with each other verbally. Sales Linguistics explains how we are communicating with each other during the sales process. We are drawing on information from Steve’s article here, for start ups, and applying our demo and presentation spin. 

Normative Language 

Steve Martin asserts the Start Ups rarely have marketing departments to churn out influencing language. Without the resources or a devoted team, bootstrapping sales need to come up with their own way of getting clients excited about their solution. 

Steve Martin says: ”Think about the startup. The startup doesn’t have all that marketing oomph, so the salesperson has to go out and create their own. In most cases the salesperson has to create the language that creates the relationship, establishes the personal connection and also psychologically influences the customer to buy from them and their company,”

Demo Solutions says: 

One pitfall of this is coming up with buzzwords, we have a whole section devoted to this, but when you use a buzzword that you need to explain, it is usually over the head of the audience. It is a great way to lose momentum during a presentation. Instead, use Sales Linguistics to find normative language that is used within the organization that you are targeting.

Consider how distracting it would be to sit in a presentation that you did not speak the language and part of the presentation, not including a sales solution, was learning the language. 

Culture Differences 

We wrote a piece recently on corporate culture and national culture clashes that affect your deal velocity and close rate. (Linked Here) Steve Martin echoes this sentiment and cautions against Start Ups and their scripts for how they are selling themselves. In short, if you are looking to sell a solution in a different country or to buyers in a different region, they may not appreciate your break room full of bean bag chairs and sharing circle. 

Steve Martin says: “Startups have a belief system that helps them and hurts them. Part of that belief system is ‘we’re the next Apple or Google or whatever. We’re really hot — there’s free food in the pantry!’” Martin says. “That also hurts you because of the reality of the world out there. If you’re a startup in Silicon Valley and you’re trying to persuade John Smith of Idaho to buy your product, those are two completely different cultures. That’s what sales linguistics is about. It’s about understanding the cultural, societal and psychological difference.”

Demo Solutions says: The presentation you are giving is going to need to land neatly no matter who the audience is comprised of. We recommend using a Demo Set list for your script and understanding your own Demo Identity prior to crafting your delivery. You do not need to have a presales team to better understand your own presentation style. We can help. 

Inexperienced Sales Representatives 

Steve Martin contends that young representatives are not great on the phone and will not make it past a phone call, because they lack the ability to communicate a narrative and need a lot of sales linguistics training. Communicating a narrative is part of Sales Linguistics, but it is also part of learning to communicate better overall, we have a segment on this as well. (Click here) 

Steve Martin says: “It’s a cultural thing that this generation is very lackadaisical on the phone. Ten or twenty years ago people who graduated could get on the phone and be more commanding in their presence talking to someone they don’t know. This generation almost feels a little embarrassed to pick up the phone,” he says. “If you have a 24-year old who comes off as very timid, who comes off as young and doesn’t establish that they’re a peer, it won’t work.”

Demo Solutions says: While it may be true that many people would prefer to text than call, when there is skin in the game in terms of deals or dollars on the table, a Zoom call is the answer. We have developed a number of tools to help deliver better remote demos and communicate better over video. 

Do Start Ups need Sales Linguistics? Final Word 

With a limited budget or recent funding, investing in Sales Linguistics and training for your sales team in communicating with different cultures is essential. Remember you are fitting your SaaS software into their culture, not your culture or language in their organization. 
Want more on Sales Linguistics? Click Here

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