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Words of Influence

Mandy Bass believes salespeople who customize their messages for each client and prospect are more successful. Is she on to something?

By Lucretia DiSanto Jones

Salespeople know the importance of communication. Insurance and financial advisors are especially aware of the need for clear, simple words and explanations when speaking with their clients or prospects.

“When people communicate, they tend to take other people’s words and interpret them into their own system of what those words mean.”
—Mandy Bass

According to Mandy Bass, however, even the most successful salespeople use phrases that sabotage their success—many times without even knowing it.

What did you mean?
“Words and phrases don’t mean the same thing to all people,” she says. “When people communicate, they tend to take other people’s words and interpret them into their own system of what those words mean. My presentation will help advisors communicate and reach people in a way that is meaningful to each person they come in contact with.”

Bass will give attendees specific guidelines. Take the word ‘but’, for example. “It can be used very effectively, but usually, it neutralizes whatever came right before it. It discounts what was said before. So I’ll show people how to use other words that will get their point across.”

In the right place
Bass explains how and why it is important to get a prospect into a receptive emotional and physical state. If you are speaking to your client or prospect after he has had a bad day at work, has had an argument with his spouse, or has just received an awful report card from his son, he won’t be in an optimum frame of mind to be open to what you have to say, Bass says. “If he’s not in the right state when you are presenting or speaking to him, you’re unlikely to convince him of anything--no matter how much he needs your product.”

Dealing with stress
As a business coach, Bass, of course, has clients who experience stress, and she will also share her ideas on how to deal with the stress monster. Insurance and financial services professionals typically experience two types of stress, according to Bass. One is external stress. A good example is when the market is bad or when underwriting refuses a client.

The second is the internal stress of finding time for family, work and continuing education, and financial pressures. There are a lot of ways to cope with this type of stress. “One very important thing for advisors to do is to make sure that they make a mental download at the end of each week,” says Bass, “when they write down everything they should, would and could be doing. To stay relaxed, focused and in control, their minds must be clear. This mental download helps clear the mind and provides a lot of relief. Then they can begin to direct their minds on outcomes instead of problems.”


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