Which Words Change Customers’ Minds?

Your customers pay attention to how you attract and treat them.  If you do not understand what truly motivates them, they are likely to get their needs met elsewhere.  The “one size fits all” approach has become a sign of disrespect.  Demonstrating that you comprehend your customers is enormously profitable.  The risk of not doing so is enormously dangerous.

Increasingly, as customers have become more and more difficult to deal with, suppliers needed better ways of understanding them. We needed a mechanism for tracking what truly motivates customers and how their motivation shifts from time to time and place to place. The LAB Profile is a subtle psycho-linguistic tool (that is, it’s based on the words people use) that enables us to understand motivation and thinking patterns, whether it be for mass marketing or one-to-one communication. With relatively small verbal shifts, one can influence major communication problems or find the open door in what appears to be a closed mind.

CAA Case Study

For the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), I taught their marketing department to understand the primary motivation for why people become members of the CAA and therefore how to market and sell services to them. Their problem was to get new members to renew after their first year of membership. Their research told them that if a new member had not used any of the other benefits that come from membership in the first year, they were much less likely to renew.

Research had also shown that CAA members’ primary motivation to become a member was to avoid having a problem on the road when traveling by car. They were not initially motivated by other benefits that could be gained from membership. Therefore the language used to communicate with members needed to be what we call “Away From” Language, that is wording that describes problems which can be prevented or solved by membership, rather than “Toward” Language, which would outline the benefits gained through membership.

The CAA sales staff learned how to sell other benefits to members by using the same Away From Language. Instead of promoting their free TripTiks simply as route maps, they began to talk about they could help clients “avoid getting lost”. They could book your hotel, so you “wouldn’t have to worry about where to stay” on your route. This switch in language helped them increase the use of these services, and ensured that many more members renewed their memberships.

A friend of mine wanted to motivate her brother to go on vacation for a week with her. Once she realized her brother was much more Reactive than she was, she stopped using Proactive Language such as:  “Let’s go! Let’s just go, come on let’s just do it!” which incites a person immediately into action and she began to say things that matched how her brother actually got motivated. When she said to him, “I’d like you to think about whether or not you’d like to go away on holiday with me to such and such a place, because I suspect it might be something you would like. Please let me know what you think.” This Reactive language invited her brother to do what he preferred to do; to reflect on the idea and consider it. He thought about her offer this time, and accepted immediately.

Knowing someone’s LAB Profile Patterns will help you prevent and solve communication problems.  You can decode the factors that motivate people as they are making a purchase or speaking with customer service. These motivations can and do shift when customers are having different experiences, which means organizations need to know how to anticipate the patterns and respond to the shifts as they occur in order to meet their customers’ varying needs.

In my upcoming blog posts I will show you how to do just that.

Try this for yourself!
Choose a family member or friend who has a Toward pattern.  A person with a Toward pattern

  • focuses on his/her goals
  • thinks in terms of goals to be achieved
  • is motivated to have, get, achieve, attain, and so on
  • has trouble either recognizing what should be avoided, or identifying problems

The next time you are trying to convince this person of doing something or going somewhere, try using the following phrases:

  • Here is what you want ……..
  • The benefits of this are ……….
  • When you do this the positive consequences are ……….
  • Here is what you will attain, obtain, have, get, achieve …….
  • The goal here is to ……..

Want to learn more on how to get someone to take your ideas seriously?  Click here

This information can be found in my new book “The Customer is Bothering Me” – Click here to learn more

Upcoming blog post: “The Shift between Normal and Problem Transactions”

Please share your comments/ideas below.  I would love to hear from you.

2 thoughts on “Which Words Change Customers’ Minds?

  1. Grahame Morgan-Watson

    Hi Shelle… well now…I thought I was going to be directed to a customised page that matche my specific traits, given how much you know us all by now! I guess that’s expecting toooooo much though 😉 have a great summer. Love Grahame


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