“You” Messaging for Better Sales Communications

Sales Wars is pleased to bring you a guest blog post from Sales Jedi Andrew Moravick, Content Marketing Manager for Aberdeen Group and editor of CMO Essentials

Imagine if one simple change to your sales communications could dramatically alter your overall performance. You want to set up a sales call? This one change will ensure you can communicate that it’ll be well worth your target’s time. Want your buyers to immediately understand the value you’re trying to convey? This one change, by function alone, will get you there. So what do you have to do?

Well, it all comes down to you – well, “you” messaging, that is. Forget statements like, “I want to share our latest…” or, “We’re pleased to announce…” Instead, write your sales emails, structure your sales calls, and plan out your pitches to revolve around the person you’re speaking to by using “you” wherever possible.

By changing the focus of your statements from “I,” “me,” “we,” “us,” etc. to fit into true “you” messaging, you can ensure that your sales communications are effective and on point in the eyes of your prospects and contacts. This is more than switching from a first or third person narrative to a second person narrative, however, so here’s what you need to know…

What is NOT True “You” Messaging for Sales Communications

It’s important to note that both grammatically and thematically, “you” messaging has rules. Basically, “you” has to be the subject and focus of a sentence or an idea. It’s not just throwing “you” into a sentence. “I’m only asking you for 90 seconds of your time…” for example, isn’t “you” messaging because “I” is the subject of the sentence and “you” is its direct object.

“We have an amazing offer for you…” is an even worse example as “we” is still the subject, “offer” is the direct object, and “you” is relegated all the way down to being the object of the preposition “for.” You could completely cut “for you” out of the sentence, and it’d still be a complete thought.

Other examples of what’s not “you” messaging include:

  • “Just thought you’d…” The “I” is missing, but it’s implied. You’re saying, “I (me, the important one) just thought of something that might apply to you (the not-as-important-as-me one).”
  • “You won’t believe what we have to offer…” “You” may come at the beginning of the sentence, but it’s a rhetorical clause. You’re saying, “What we have to offer (the thing that matters most) is something you (a person deprived of such glorious knowledge) won’t believe.”
  • “If you’re not the right person to talk to, can you please…” The focus is really on “the right person.” You’re saying “I (me, again, the important one) want to talk to the right person, and if that’s not you (the person who doesn’t matter enough for me to know if he or she is the right person or not) could you please do something for me (because I matter more than you).”

The point: Your buyer doesn’t want to feel like he or she is replaceable, unimportant, or second fiddle to what your organization has to sell. “You” messaging is about communicating on your buyer’s terms. If you can cut your buyer out of the message, it’s not “you” messaging.

How to Train the Voice in Your Head

Of course, it actually takes an incredibly selfless (or potentially self-conscious) person to fully think in “you” messaging terms. For the most part, we all think in “I / me” terms: “What’s in it for me?” “What do I want?” “I want to…” So even when we’re well-aware of advantages from focusing on the buyer, our own thought patterns can still throw us off.

By practicing “you” messaging, however, we can all train ourselves to break our typical thought patterns when necessary. You may be pressured to push a new product to your contacts, for example, and your first thought might be, “I need everyone to know about product X.” To adhere to true “you” messaging though, you’d have to stop yourself, and plot out what product X actually means to your buyers – if marketing hasn’t already done this for you, that is. Through “you” messaging, however, you can ensure that product X will land in a way that’s most relevant to your target contacts. The best part, though, may be that the more you practice “you” messaging, the easier it is to think from your buyer’s point of view.

A few examples of effective “you” messaging for product X might look like:

  • “You’re probably well aware of the advantages in [something that product X supports]…” In a statement like this, you’re putting your buyer at the forefront, complementing their competency in whatever arena product X functions, and you’re still setting the stage to actually talk about product X.
  • “When you’re trying to achieve Y [something else product X supports] you may want to consider…”
  • “How well are you able to [do something associated with product X]?” As the buyer is the focus of your message, you can’t always assume you know everything about him or her. Sometimes, asking a question can be the best way to get your buyer to think about what you’re trying to say.

It’s All About the Buyer Anyway

“You” messaging also isn’t just a hack to the English language. It’s an intentional decision to put your buyer at the center of your story during sales communications. As a seller, your buyers hold the keys to your quota, so “you” messaging only reflects the reality that the ultimate decision to close is in their hands. You need them to see the value you’re pitching, and realize for themselves that it’s the right fit for their organization. You don’t want them to think “Joe Schmo is trying to sell me on product X,” which will inevitably happen if you’re the subject of your communications with “I/me” language. Instead, you want your buyer to think, “You know what, we really do have a need for product X. I’m going call that nice sales person back.”

What do you think about “you” messaging for sales communications? Does it really matter, or have your tried it in your own efforts? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Andrew Moravick

Andrew Moravick

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