It’s that time of year when Facebook posts are flooded with pictures of kids on the first day of school, ready for a new year and a fresh start at learning.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we are going back to school too—well, sort of—to learn the basics of verb tenses and the impact these simple tweaks can have on sales.

You see, verb tenses are a very powerful tool we can use to influence people when we speak, especially in sales. Here’s a quick lesson to improve the way you overcome objections in your sales interactions.

When we think of events, we naturally order them in a time sequence. Time distinctions are expressed primarily by verb form.

To determine how you represent verb forms internally, take any simple behavior and notice how your internal experience (e.g. pictures in your head) shifts when the same content shifts position in time via the three simple verb forms below.

“I talked to her.” (past)

“I talk to her.” (present)

“I will talk to her.” (future)

The experience is different, isn’t it?

Now try these three:

“I was talking to her.”

“I am talking to her. ‘”

“I will be talking to her.”

The “ing” ending adds the experience of movement to your internal images.

So, how do you use this in sales? When a prospect brings up an objection, it is very useful to move that objection into the past. Then focus your prospect on the future and on successfully using your product. Finally, when they have a good feeling about using your product, bring that feeling back into the present. Look at this example:

Prospect says: “Your product is too expensive.”

Your response: “Wow, let me get this right, you thought our product was too expensive.

(This response moves the client’s objection into the past and hints that the person could think differently.)

Amazing! I haven’t heard that for a long time. When I’ve spoken to clients who had thought our product was too expensive it usually turned out that they hadn’t considered X,Y and Z.

Just suppose you used our product and you noticed improvement in your business in the areas of X, Y and Z.

(This moves the prospect’s thoughts into the future and successfully using your product or service).

That would be a good result for your business, wouldn’t it?

(This associates them with the good feelings.)

And, as you think about those positive outcomes now, how differently are you feeling about using our product?”

(This moves the positive future feeling to the present and also suggests they’ll be feeling differently in the present.)

Sales is about getting your prospect to imagine using your product enough times in their head and feeling good about it so that they actually go out and do it in real life. That’s what happens in the example above. Try this technique to further your sales success.

Source: Greg Woodley is a sales expert, author and sales trainer with 25 years of experience in B2B sales.