Sell more!

Not hearing “yes”? Learn to recognise and respond to…

The Secret Language of Prospects

No matter what you think you hear them saying, if this isn’t what you’re hearing, one thing’s certain… they won’t be buying from YOU!
The crazy thing is, you already speak this language, fluently!

John CounselBy John Counsel
CEO and Marketing Doctor
The Profit Clinic

Every prospect who crosses your doorstep has one thing in common with every other prospect. They ALL speak this little-known language. No matter what they seem to be saying to you, this is what they’re really saying. So if they’re not buying from you, you’re almost certainly not hearing what they’re saying to you.

Why can’t we hear them say it?

Simple. Like their Real reasons for buying, there’s too much emotional risk to them in just using plain English. So they mask those Real reasons with “Right” reasons.

You’ll never hear them use these words. But they’re there just the same, loud and clear as a bell for those sellers astute enough to recognise and understand them.

And act on them.

The easiest way to recognise the Secret Language of Prospects is to recognise that every single prospect you’ll ever encounter is speaking it, every single time.

There will never be a time when they don’t.

But if you forget this crucial fact, there’s a simple way to sound the alarm: warning bells should begin ringing every time they say “no” or “not yet” or “but…” to your offer.

They may not say those precise words, either. The easiest way to recognise this is that they’re not yet saying “yes” to you.

Just what is the Secret Language?

They’re saying these three things to you, every time:

  1. I want to experience the benefits of what you’re offering and to feel like you do about them (or I wouldn’t be talking to you!) 


  2. I expect YOU to make it safer, easier, better and smarter for me to buy from YOU than to buy from anyone else.


  3. I expect YOU to make it safer, easier, better and smarter for me to buy from YOU than to keep my money and not buy at all.

Lock this into your memory bank. Never forget it. Write it down. Put it where it will remind you when you’re about to talk to prospects.

Why safer?

People aren’t born in control, and they don’t come with an instruction manual. Most of them spend the bulk of their waking time and effort in Emotional Risk Management mode.

In other words, without even being aware of it, they try to avoid, reduce, eliminate or prevent emotional risk.

So if they’re worried about what a seller might do TO them, most prospects won’t be interested in hearing what that seller can do FOR them. They’ll be too busy trying to find ways to minimise that perceived risk.

They won’t be listening to what you’re telling them, or the Vision you’re trying to create for them. They’ll be frantically trying to find a way to politely (safely) say “no” to you.

So “safer” is the first cab off the rank, always. Ignore this fact at your peril.

Why easier?

Human beings are creatures of habit, so we tend to act like water when confronted with decisions of any kind. We go for the line of least resistance. If you’re trying to get them to do something that requires a change of behaviour, or some degree of selfdiscipline, in order to enjoy the benefits—or even to get them to say “yes” to your offer—they’re unlikely to buy from you.

If you can show them a safer, easier, better and smarter way to say “yes” and enjoy those benefits, you’re more than halfway there.

Why better?

Unless you can show them that they’ll be measurably better off when they buy from you, they won’t buy.

If you’re selling basically the same product as your competitor, at much the same price, you need to find more perceived benefits to attach to those products, or you have to add more perceived benefits for buying from you instead of other sellers.

Why smarter?

Demonstrate the advantages they’ll enjoy by dealing with you and they’ll soon realise that buying from you is not only smarter… others will see them as smarter for doing so.

If your prospect hasn’t yet said “yes” to you, you haven’t yet made it safer, easier, better or smarter for them to buy from you than from anyone else, or to keep their money.

That’s exactly what they’re telling you: “Sorry, but you haven’t yet made it safer, easier, better or smarter to buy from you than to buy from anyone else, or to buy at all!

Keep going!

Did you notice?

Nowhere in the Secret Language of Prospects does the word “cheaper” appear. Price only becomes an issue when all other factors are equal.

They never are!

If you think they are, you need to think again… fast! (You’re not seeing the forest for the trees.)

Remember… the only thing dumber than allowing price to be the issue when you’re the seller is making it the issue.

The same goes for other buying factors, like faster… they tend to be aspects of those four key decision-making factors: safer, easier, better and smarter.

  • Think.
  • Be creative.
  • Innovate.
  • Find more perceived benefits for your products or services.
  • Reduce any possible perceived risks from dealing with you.
  • Find ways to add perceived value to your products and services.
  • Give them information.
  • Give them guarantees, free trials, easy payment plans and other forms of risk reversal.

So why don’t we hear this Secret Language of Prospects?

It’s ironic, really, because we all speak this language… fluently!

Whenever we’re the prospect or buyer, and our money is the only resource we have to exchange with a seller (because that’s usually the only resource we have that they want) we revert to this Secret Language — without even thinking about it. It’s automatic!

We have to learn to recognise when this language is being spoken to us, because what we typically hear only the words and expressions being used to disguise it!

It’s people who are in Emotional Risk Management Mode again! (They may even signal that fact to you with responses like “Ermm…”.) 🙂

It’s your responsibility as the seller to learn to hear and understand what’s really being said, and to respond appropriately by giving them more reasons why it will be safer, easier, better and smarter for them to buy from you, right now.

Next: The Importance of Intelligent Follow-up — putting the Secret Language of Prospects to work in your selling!

© 1998 John Counsel. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.