Guest post: By Matthew Parker

What on earth can an optician teach anyone about print sales?

A visit to the optician is always a worrying time for me. For one thing, I don’t want the cost of a new pair of glasses! So I’m always keen to try and do as well as possible in the eyesight tests.

There’s always one test where I struggle. I am shown a little series of lights, and I have to say what colour they are. In order to get a high score, it’s important not to blink. The optician always reminds me not to blink. It’s at that point that I’m done for.

As soon as he says don’t blink, I’m thinking about blinking. I can’t help but blink. The optician has guided my actions. But not in the way that he wanted.

There’s a useful lesson here for print sales people. If they use positive language, they’ll have a better chance of controlling their prospects’ actions.

What is positive language?

What can an optician teach you about print sales?

What can an optician teach you about print sales?

Positive language relates to the way you phrase questions and statements. People think about doing what you say. But very often they don’t take the positive or negative instruction into account. Say whether I am told to blink or not to blink, I still can’t help thinking about blinking. Therefore, it’s important to tell someone what you want them to do rather than what you don’t want them to do.

Print sales people who use positive language are more likely to control their prospects. They are more likely to get the prospected to do what they want.

Print sales people who do not focus on positive language may have more issues in controlling their prospects. That means they are more likely to lose the sale.

Those may sound like sweeping statements.

Let’s look at how this works on a print sales pitch

One of the first things that most print sales people to call is to check if it’s a good time to speak. If you don’t do this, you may risk annoying your prospect by trying to engage them when they are busy.

I have had quite a few approaches like this. The print salesperson has launched into a full pitch when it has been the wrong time to speak to me. In doing so, they have severely lessened their chances of eventually making a sale. So it is vital to check if it’s the right time to speak.

The trouble is, it’s very easy to throw away the chances of conversation in asking this question. Quite a few sales people ask me if it’s a bad time to speak. My automatic answer to this is yes. I have been given an easy way out of having a conversation.

It’s far better to ask if it’s a good time to speak. Psychologically, it is harder to say no. If prospects say no to me after this question, they often apologise at the same time. This makes it very easy to check when is a good time to speak. Suddenly I have created a verbal contract with a prospect to have a conversation.

Some sales people in the printing industry may think that this will make little difference.

Won’t prospects just say no anyway?

Your prospects won’t say yes if you have a dull sales message. They won’t say yes if you have a poor offer. However, you may be surprised at how things go your way more often when you use positive language.

You should try it out and see for yourself.

Here are three action points to help you start using positive language

  1. Record one of your conversations
  2. Listen to it with a colleague and, together, pick out any negative phrasing
  3. Highlight positive phrases that you could have used in their place

The optician could have learned from this too

If only he’d told me to keep my eyes open.

About Matthew

Many printing companies are frustrated how hard it is to gain profitable clients. That’s where Matthew Parker can help. He is a gamekeeper turned poacher. Matthew has bought print for more than 20 years and received over 1,400 print sales pitches. He now uses his buyer’s point of view to give practical advice to printers via his website

Get some more ideas on how to sell print at higher profit margins. Download Matthew’s free e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them.”

Matthew Parker
Champion of Print
07939 583503

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