Word to the Wise

Word to the Wise

It was 2001 and I was working the evening shift at my local newspaper office with the mind-numbing job of ringing customer after customer to ask if they had received their free paper that week. Morale was low as most people hated being called at that time of night and our results reflected that back at us, with the vast majority of people telling us with passion,

No, I bloody well haven’t got my free paper.”

Feeling utterly bored and fed up, I decided to play with the words I used to ask people about their newspaper delivery. I had noticed that due to our low mood we were all asking the question in the same way,

I don’t suppose you’ve received your free paper this week have you?”

So for the next 3 nights, I changed the wording and instead said,

Just confirming you’ve received your free paper this week…”

The results were staggering. Suddenly, just by asking the same question in a different way the newspaper’s delivery rates went up by over 80% and everyone was much happier – customers, staff and the boss!

And so I fell in love with the power of words.

You see, the way we feel and respond is all down to two things – the pictures we make in our head and the words we say to ourselves. It could be argued that the pictures don’t even matter that much because it is the words that create the pictures really.

If I say ‘lemons are ripe and juicy’ then you’re picturing a lemon in your mind right now, aren’t you?

When my colleagues at the newspaper said ‘I don’t suppose you’ve received your paper’ this created an image in the customer’s mind of no paper being received. They painted that picture for the customer and opened the door for a negative response. When you look at it for what it is, we were even telling the customer the result we wanted and expected so we shouldn’t have been too surprised when that’s what we got!

When you change that to ‘Just confirming you’ve received your paper this week’, a whole different image is created in the customer’s mind. A much more positive one. Quite often customers would even say,

“Oh, I’m not sure, but yes, I’m sure I must have done.”


Words are amazing and the way we use them can create vastly different results, both for our customers and for ourselves. We need to be using words that paint the picture of the outcome we desire and we need to, wherever possible, make them powerful words. Simply by changing the words we use, we can dramatically increase success in our business and our own lives.

Spend a little time today and think about the message you give to your customers on your website, social media platforms or when speaking to them in person.

Are you painting them a picture of phenomenal success or one that ‘will do’? Read it back to yourself and think about what images come to your mind when you hear or read the words. Are those the kind of images you want your customers to have in their minds and are they the kind of pictures that will encourage them to buy?

Perhaps when talking to a customer you might explain your services/product, the price and then ask them ‘Is that OK?‘ in order to clarify if they are satisfied with what you have explained.

Stop for a moment and ask yourself what image the customer has in their mind with that question. Perhaps it makes them question you or your product and wonder if you really are OK? It provides them with a more doubtful picture in their mind, one that isn’t sure yet and perhaps needs more thought.

Simply by changing that to ‘sound good?’ instead creates a whole different scenario. By saying it this way you are still asking for confirmation that the customer is happy but are doing so by actually telling them this sounds good, without offering them doubt or the picture in their mind of other possibilities.

Another great word exchange is in relation to explaining the cost of your product or service. Most of us use the word price. It’s obvious and normal for us to do so. However, when you think about the word price, doesn’t that actually conjure up images of sacrifice? Something you have to give up? Price can be painful, a hurdle to overcome.
A great example is something I said to my colleague only last week when she was complaining about her headache,

“Well, that’s the price you pay for staying out drinking till all hours.” 

Price is painful and painful is not what we want our customers to feel.

So what if, instead of telling a customer what the price of our service or product is, we tell them what their investment is. After all, aren’t they investing in themselves, their family, their business or whichever applies by buying something from you?
Let’s face it, investment is so much more appealing – it paints a picture of getting something back, of accumulating, being better off. It feels like a mutually beneficial exchange and trust me, your sign up rate will increase just by changing this one word.

Then there’s you, and the way you feel. If you feel great about yourself and your business then there is no doubt that this energy will pass through to your customers and bring you better results all round.

So what can you do with words to encourage yourself?

Firstly, I would highly recommend you ban the words ‘hope’ and ‘try’ from your vocabulary. If you try to do something you imply there’s a chance of failure. You give your mind a second option of not succeeding. Instead, use ‘I will’ and make the decision to do something for sure. The word decision comes from the Greek word incision which means to cut off from. So cut yourself off from the possibility of failure in what you set out to achieve and make the decision that you will.

Secondly, when setting out your goals, business plans or simply your daily action lists use powerful words to motivate yourself. For example, instead of ‘I want to earn £100 this week’ you could say I will transform one life this week or instead of having a ‘to do’ list have a ‘I will achieve list.

It’s still the same list with the same content but the words you use to describe it will change the game in your mind completely.

For those times when your mojo goes a wandering, you have a down day, or refusal, pay very close attention to the words you say to yourself. If you find yourself saying ‘this job is killing me’, ‘I am dying under this pressure’, ‘I just can’t cope’, then guess what kind of pictures your mind will start imagining and what sort of results it will start delivering to you in response.

Your mind’s job is to do whatever it thinks you want and if you repeat words like this to yourself don’t be surprised when you get more of what you’re imagining. Whatever words and pictures you fill your mind with, you will get more of – fact!

Last, but certainly not least here is one more phrase you can use. Use it regularly every day, write it on your mirror in lipstick, have it as your screen saver and never stop saying it to yourself.

‘I am enough.’

I have witnessed incredible life transformations from people just by using these 3 little words in their life on a regular basis. These words create self-love, self-belief and confidence and that kind of stuff creates a domino effect of success throughout your whole life!

Light the touch paper and enjoy the fireworks folks because when you think phenomenally, amazingly and incredibly, you will get phenomenal, amazing and incredible right back at you!