Maybe it’s old fashioned.
Maybe it’s passé.
And maybe it’s even a dying concept.
But the seven most powerful words in selling are these:
‘I give you my word of honor.’
Honor – What is it?
Honor. Honor is defined as “personal integrity without legal or other obligation.” Think about that for a moment. It’s heady stuff. Your word of honor is your personal bond. It is the absolute highest commitment that you can give someone. It’s your pledge. It’s your defining moment.
And that’s what makes it so powerful particularly in selling. If you can establish with your clients that you can give and keep your word, you have an asset which is far more powerful and far more effective than any corporate guarantee or warranty in the world. Your word transcends organizational dogma. It is sacrosanct.
There’s another reason why giving your personal word is so powerful in selling: few people give it. It is rare and fleeting.
This is what I mean about old fashioned or passé. It’s not something you hear very often. It’s a forgotten code of conduct. Instead, we provide contracts and agreements and clauses. Not that paper documents are any guarantees of peace of mind. There are loop holes, interpretations and naturally, lawyers. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
But when you give your word, there are no sub clauses and ‘parties of the third part.’
There’s only you. And your personal honor.
With many clients this will resonate. It has value. It builds trust.
How to Use Your Word of Honor – Implied vs. Given
Let’s get practical. How do you use these seven words when selling?
First, your personal word of honor can be used in virtually any circumstance. It can be used when you promise to call someone back by a given date. It can be used when solving a problem or providing a special price, term or condition. But it will be the most effective when there is something important, vital, critical or sensitive on the line. Use it strategically. Use it wisely. Use it when it really matters. Use it when the client needs to hear it. Use it when no one else will. Use it to make a difference.
Second, your word of honor is not something silent and implied. The client should not have to guess or assume that it is there. You must communicate your word of honor. It must be made verbal. You must say it out loud, clear and strong.
“I give you my word of honor.”
Say those 7 words out loud. Right now. Say them. That’s how it sounds.
Notice I have not used “I promise.” Promises can be cheap, given hastily and broken often. A word of honor is on an entirely different plane.
To make it work you have to SAY it! You have to DECLARE it.
It’s simple. You look the person in the eye or you use your tone of voice over the phone to deliver the message. You pause before you deliver it so that it stands out. You don’t have to rant or rave. You say it with simple conviction.
Why it Works For You
When you give someone your word it compels you to deliver.
It’s like you’re under a microscope and the whole world is watching. It’s a bit daunting. It creates pressure and stress…and that’s a good thing. There can be no excuses; nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. You are personally held accountable.
It is no longer your company or your product that’s under scrutiny.
Your character is on the line. You are the only judge.
Keep Your Word
Here’s the catch: you either have honor or you don’t.
There is no half way about it; there are no ‘ifs’, ‘ands’ or ‘buts.’ You can either look yourself squarely in the eye or you can’t.
That means keep your word.
This means if you can’t or won’t deliver on it, don’t give it. You see, your word has a lifespan that can last forever or die in a nanosecond. If it is given and abused, its’ life is over. There is no more value. It is not renewable to that client.
Breaking your word is betrayal! It’s an ugly word, isn’t it?
The Pay Off
Understand this: your word of honor might be met with dismissal or scepticism. Heck, who can blame anyone for a healthy dose of cynicism these days? But my bet is that you’ll probably be met with surprise; maybe even shock. You’ll catch them off guard. You might even confuse them.
The initial pay off to your word of honor comes when you deliver on your promise; when you come through as you promised. Clients appreciate it. They don’t always tell you but some remains seeded deep inside.
But when it will REALLY payoff is the next time you give your word of honor to that client. The next time you give your word the client will not hesitate. He or she will remember.
And then … and then you will build a reputation that will spread throughout your company, industry and market that you are honorable; that you can be trusted. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but someday you’ll get referrals and sales.
I have been told that I am being somewhat naive when I talk about personal honor in business. So be it. I think there is a place for it. I think it’s time to bring it back into business.
How about you? Let me know what you think.