Tuesday, September 8, 2009

“You know” is the new “Umm, like”

Even a minimally trained sales person should know not to use the lingual crutch of “Umm, like” to fill conversation gaps, but what has now emerged in replacement is the equally abysmal, yet far less recognized “You know”.  Or, it’s ugly cousin, “Ya know”.  No, they don’t know, because if they did, you wouldn’t have any purpose as a consultative educator!

I was listening in on a call with one of my own reps today, who I have admittedly not spent as much personal time with as I should, and he was littering the conversation with “ya know” like it was magic pixie dust on the trail to sales greatness.  He actually thought it made him sound smart, or at least assuring, and it donned on me that half my team was in the habit of peppering in this filler right under my nose.  The guy from TrainMySalesTeam failed in adequately training his own sales team.  Not my best moment…

The funny part about the whole bit is that “you know” comes out primarily while fumbling through an explanation.  The whole concept of an explanation is that you know and they don’t, so you’re clueing them in on your conceptual mastery.   If they knew, you’d be wasting their time, so it’s absolutely ridiculous to tell them they know while educating.

Ok, so what do you say to avoid silences when gathering your thoughts on the appropriate choice of words?  Nothing!  Practice your phrasing so that the words flow convincingly and without second-guessing, and let yourself grow comfortable with necessary pauses in conversation.  Silence does not have to be awkward.  It can be natural and endearing when it occurs in moments of consideration.  If you’re not comfortable with a silence, it’s because you haven’t sufficiently rehearsed your dialogue.   

To me, saying “ya know” during the educational portion of the sales process is admitting that you’re not up to the task of serving as their decision-making advocate, which is not what you want to say while building trust and rapport.  Practice your phrasing.  Let silences run their course.  End of rant.