The Power of the Word “You”

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Humans are interestingly selfish creatures. Whether you think that you are the most righteous, giving, and caring person that has ever existed, chances are that deep down, you really care about yourself. There is nothing wrong with that at all – humans are wired that way. Historically speaking, we owe our self-preservation to the fact that we always act in our own self-interest.

Dale Carnegie has stated in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People that “the most beautiful sound to a person is their own name.” Generations of salespeople have picked up on this and often repeat the name of their customer over and over again until it becomes blatantly obvious what they are doing.  A more subtle and arguably more powerful method to use is focusing the conversation around the word “you”.

When you are legitimately passionate about centering the call around the person at the other end of the line, the word “you” should be coming up a ridiculous amount of times. People don’t care about anything unless it involves them. A client once gave me some sage words of wisdom that went something like “So what? What’s in it for me?” when I informed her about a new program update.

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Here are two examples of two very different ways of getting the same point across. In this example, we’ll say that a big Internet company has increased data capabilities for clients.

“Our company went ahead and increased your data capabilities. I had the same thing happen to my internet back at home. I was able to download my favorite movie last night and watch it with my wife. It was great!”

“You might notice increased data capabilities with your internet. What do you primarily use your internet for? That’s great – you can now download your favorite movie without worrying about you being charged extra. Isn’t that great?”

Which one do you think will elicit a more positive response? Notice that the first example is full of “I’s” and “My’s”. If you were on the other end of the line, you wouldn’t care what I was doing with my data.  The only thing you care about is what does it mean for you. This is why centering a conversation around the word “you” will always elicit a much better response.

According to Drayton Bird, a professional copywriter, you have to use “you” three times for every one time you use a word like “I”, “me” or “our”. It may sound like a lot, but it really makes a huge difference.

Remember, people will only really pay attention to what you are saying if the conversation revolves around them and there is some benefit for them. Tailor all elements of your call around the word “you” and you’re going to see extremely positive results.

 

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Author: Jason Karaman

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