All of us in selling make mistakes from time to time. We say things we regret and make promises to clients with the best of intentions and then......
So learning to apologise both for our individual mistakes and (where appropriate) on behalf of our team, is important if we are to earn and sustain the trust of our customers.
It is also critical what our choice of words are, and how they are conveyed .
Our words maybe not as scrutinised as the politicians manifesto, but because their mistakes are covered in the media perhaps we can learn from their communication successes and failures.
In our selling work we may never be so exposed as Liberal Party Leader Nick Clegg has been in the last few days but I guess we can learn from political leaders about their use of words to their customers ( from party members to the voters) - whether we think they do so effectively or ineffectively.
The Deputy leader of the Coalition Government not only had to 'eat his words' ( on the student tuition fees pre- election pledge) but has been 'made' to sing his words by the You Tube community and with a record riding high in the download music charts.
"Of course people are going to sneer, mock and say it is not good enough. I just genuinely thought what we did was wrong and I should apologise for it.I just hope that reasonable people - whether they have heard it to music or not - will think OK, fair enough, he's come clean"
Interview with The Independent Newspaper
Nick Clegg's Sorry Song by the Poke and Alec Ross
Of course the dilemma of when , how or whether to apologise is not just wrestled with here by politicians in Europe.
In the current US Presidential campaign Mitt Romney has criticised President Barack Obama's apology
"I think it is a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values," Romney said of the statement issued by the embassy in Cairo that condemned the anti-Islam video that fomented protests outside the compound”
Frank Luntz the pollster / communications specialist and adviser on political campaigns is worth reading. He analyses how words are received by voters.
|Frank Luntz Eleven key phrases 2011|
Here are his selection of phrases plus his explanation of their power. They are American examples but I think the principle translates well enough for UK.
Sales Directors / managers could substitute 'voters' with 'sales force' and Salespeople could replace 'voters' with 'customers' and equally adopt and adapt these phrases in their work.
As the speeches during the UK Political party season this autumn are broadcast, it might be interesting to see how many of the above are used in the Party Conferences in Brighton , Manchester and Birmingham.
And subsequent Sales Conferences for that matter !
Some books worth reading around the subject of "words and communication"
Click for post on effective use of your voice in business presentations