Should You Be Using Red Letter Language?

by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

Do you remember learning how to ride a bike? If you were like most kids, you had a set of training wheels that your parent carefully screwed on to the frame of your new bike. What would have happened if you never took them off? Take a moment to visualize yourself today as an adult zipping down a bike path…with your training wheels faithfully spinning right alongside! Seem a little silly? So is red letter language once you’re past your first year in the business.

If this feels a little scary, try to remember what it was like when you were a kid and your parent took the training wheels off your bike for the first time. “Hop on!” your Mom or Dad smiled at you with excitement. Your stomach was probably filled with nervous butterflies. But this experience helped you grow up, gain confidence and later be able to have your independence.

Red letter language is a gift in the first few months of the business while you’re learning the ropes. However, I have yet to meet any Financial Representative (FR) anywhere in the country who doesn’t actually know what to say and do in a meeting. Those training wheels worked and you learned the One Card System (OCS)…now you can fly on your own.

Why veer from proven language? Because it is somebody else’s language. The best language is your own genuine language. Speaking from your heart conveys authenticity, trustworthiness and who you really are to your client. If your aim is to create relationships with clients for a lifetime, let them see who you are by talking as yourself. Isolate the basic message from red letter language and now make it your own. How to do so varies by your leading Kolbe mode. (If you don’t know your Kolbe score, please take 10 minutes and find out!)

Fact Finder: If this is your leading mode, you will be more comfortable being yourself after you let yourself learn everything you can. Take time every day to read new things, learn things in greater depth, ask questions and slow down to your natural speed. Determine how you will approach language in phoning, prospecting, fact finders, closes, etc. once you get your arms around what you are trying to accomplish. Get to know yourself, too, and be true to who you are.

Follow Thru: You are all about getting organized and following a system. So make your own! The OCS system may prove to be just the thing (it often is for Follow Thrus who naturally gravitate toward a step-by-step approach). If it is not, take what is working and use it and toss what isn’t. Then add to it. Refine the language until it feels like you.

Quick Start: This is the style that performs best with NO language or script. It is a highly improvisational mode! Quick Starts excel at reacting to whatever is happening in the moment. Allow yourself to draw from your experience and knowledge and be responsive and dynamic with your language. It’s who you are.

Implementor: If this is your leading mode, you enjoy the physical/spacial realm. Try getting out of the office and do business with clients on the golf course, out shooting clay pigeons or while building a house for charity. You will be more comfortable when you can use your hands. Prescribed language will not feel right for you. Learn the system and then build it custom for yourself.

Red letter language helped you get where you are today. Take the gifts you learned from it and now speak from your own heart. You are no longer a wobbly kid with training wheels. You are strong and ready to fly. Let go and see what you can create.