One of my coaching clients gave me a gift of ballroom dancing lessons last year.

I thought great…this will be fun. Neither Julie or I have any experience dancing, so why not go for it?

It was private instruction. And I felt he did a very good job of teaching. At least we did stop ramming into each other constantly after a couple of lessons.

We had fun. We liked the instructor. And the fees seemed reasonable. I thought to myself we’ll probably do this.

But then it came time for him to “sell” us on additional lessons to keep it going, he made the worst statement he could have ever made. He lost the sale with a single sentence…with no chance of redeeming it or getting it back.

Was he rude? Nope. Did he offend us? Nope.

He simply said, “This will be the hardest thing you have ever done.”

Are you kidding me?

Like I’d want to sign up for that…and pay for it!

No thank you.

After he said that, there was no chance whatsoever we’d sign up for more classes. He could have given free classes, made the most wonderful claims about what he could accomplish, or flattered us till the cows came home.

It was over. No chance.

I’m not sure if this line motivates some of his customers, and they say, “Wow…that’s awesome…a challenge!”

But for me it was simply, “No way I’m signing up for that!”

The words you use on your website are either leading people toward what you offer or away from it.

Those words he used shut it down completely in a moment when we had been considering it for every moment up till then.

The words you use are important, because there are emotional connections to them.

Let’s look a recent big “competition” taking place. Apple currently owns phone with their iPhone. Google launches the Android.

Watch the terminology each company uses.

The Android talks about how they have an OPEN system while the iPhone is a CLOSED system.

As you think about the connections you have with those terms, CLOSED seems so final. It’s restrictive. They’re purposely limiting you! While Android is open and allowing you more freedom. Who wouldn’t want more freedom over restrictions. But notice they didn’t say that…it’s just a few of the connections you could make with those phrases.

When Apple talks about the differences, they’ll say the iPhone is INTEGRATED while the Android is FRAGMENTED.

Isn’t this actually a similar message? Yet it repositions the discussion in a totally different light. Of course you would want everything integrated and working well together. Fragmented sounds horrible. Who would want that?

So the feelings about the same subject can be changed by just changing a few words. And the likelihood which one you connect with will have to do with your feelings toward those companies and their products already. So the words connect back into their brands.

What words are you currently using to describe your product or service? Do those words carry the emotional connection and meaning that you want?

One of your best investments would be picking up a great thesaurus or using one of the many online ones.

If you really want to see how much power there is here, listen to a politician some time. Don’t listen too long or you’ll waste a lot of energy listen to them talking in circles. But listen to how they phrase certain items such as “Health Care Reform.” Did you notice how that bill was really just about insurance and some extra business hassles and taxes. But the “Insurance Reform & Tax Bill” wouldn’t have had a lot of support I’d expect.

So they have to use words to position it the way they wanted. We’re in an election time coming up soon and political ads are full swing. They use names and words like this to motivate people, to get them angry, and to get them on their side against the “enemy.”

While I can’t stand politics in this country any more…I still always look for what you could pick up and learn from what happens.

It’s all about the words.

How are you using them?

Terry Dean
Terry Dean

Terry Dean has been in full-time internet business since 1996 and has helped thousands of entrepreneurs get started online through his articles and products. He lives in Ocala, Florida with his wife and 2 dogs. Find out more about how his step-by-step courses can help you today.

    15 replies to "How to Lose a Sale In 5 Seconds"

    • […] Dean posted an article on his blog today about how drastically the words you use can affect how your message is received. He drove the point home with an interesting example: Apple currently owns phone with their iPhone. […]

    • Terry,

      Spoken like a true copywriter 🙂 I always tell people “words matter” because one little word can change everything. For example, did spot jump “over” the fence or “on” the fence? each way gives a totally different picture.

      By the way, I made a special page on my blog just for your book “Financial Freedom” as I believe it is critical no matter where one may be in life.

      Thanks for the tweet… I’m @


      • Terry Dean

        This is one of those reasons we always find the best “copywriters” spend more time in research and the editing phases that they do in the actual writing.

        One little word can definitely change everything…and the words we use create images in our readers or listeners minds. Agreed totally.

        If anyone is wondering why I put “copywriters” in quotes, it’s because I don’t feel this is the right term anymore…more on this in the future.

    • Chris

      Had to read it really quickly and can’t get to the video til tonight, but in my opinion this is one of the most valuable tutorials I’ve read in a very long time.
      Thank you Terry Dean !!

      • Terry Dean

        Hi Chris,

        Welcome to the site…and I hope this really helps you with your communication. This is simple, but vital to an online business.

    • Good points Terry. What I don’t like about the android vs Iphone is that the commercials have this big computer robot working their phone. Iphone has humans working their phone. The Iphone looks simple and easy via those commercials. Where when I see a robot doing the Android operations it looks super technical and I think of the terminator robot (phone death kill destroy LOL).

      So visual connections are just as powerful. Plus the whole “we got a app for that” slogan seems to translate “we have a easy quick answer/solution for that”.

      • Terry Dean

        Great addition Darren!

        I don’t see the commercials but should try to catch them some time (I do watch Netflix but don’t get cable so have no exposure to TV commercials). I like Terminators, so I wonder how those commercials would affect me. 🙂

    • Great points Terry. I had the same experience with my fiance a long time ago. We’d completed 2 of the 3 free lessons when the dance instructor said to my now wife, “You’re fine but he has no rhythm.”

      We didn’t make it back for the 3rd free lesson, of course.

      Sales lesson: Never insult the customer…especially when you’re right!

      • Terry Dean

        Haha – I wonder if that was what he was saying about us also. It could have meant, “Well some people get this, but for YOU GUYS it will be the hardest thing you ever do.”

        I didn’t actually look at that way. Hmmm…Was he making fun of my mad skills?

    • joe

      The difference between the ‘almost right word’ and the *right word* is the

      difference between a ‘lightning bug’ and a *lightning blot*…

      • Terry Dean

        Or maybe even a “lightning bolt…” Typos strike again, but I had to point to that one. 🙂

    • That’s intersting and I completely understand where you’re coming from but it immediately made me think of two words – one was honesty (not saying that you’re not honest 🙂 and two – I like hard and I like achievement.

      If someone told me that martial arts (my passion and day job) was easy then I’d probably walk away because anything in life takes effort but then – I guess this is your point – that can that instructor make your journey as ‘easy as possible’ through his coaching skills.

      Mmm – I guess it’s all about relativity – got me thinking.

      • Terry Dean

        The big issue with this is I’m sure he could have worded that in a different way and still been honest about it.

        How would he have known what we had done before, and that this would be the “hardest” thing we would do? That’s too comparitive of a term to be accurate…unless of course Richard’s comment above applied and seeing us in class he KNEW this would be the hardest thing WE would ever do. 🙂

        I wouldn’t go to a martial arts class either if they told me it was the “hardest thing” I would ever do.

        It is their job to make it easier. And remember we were there to have fun. Everyone would have known it wasn’t a plan for a profession. It wasn’t a plan to be the best. It was just to have fun. And of course that takes effort, but the most effort ever? No thank you.

        I always say even the word “easy” is a comparitive term. One of my brothers is a doctor and my wife asked him about whether they ever listen to music and relax in surgery. He told her they do during “easy” surgeries. If you don’t have his training and experience, no surgery is easy. But if you do, then there obviously is an “easy” surgery…for him.

    • Terry,

      I just wanted to say thanks for all the very helpful info that you provided in your SEO pack.
      There’s so much quality information in there that one-time through will just not be enough.

      SEO just isnt tweaking our pages anymore with keywords, its become a whole ball of wax to make
      it work, and you cover everything so well, thanks.

      I could say Im surprised at how much you cover for so little cost, but knowing you, you always
      Over Perform what you promise, so much material.

      You are the one source that is a lighthouse for us.


    • […] Terry Dean wrote a story about how he and his wife received free ballroom dancing lessons, but declined to continue the paid lessons because the instructor said, “This will be the hardest thing you have ever […]

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