Words are important because they dictate those mental images (and thus the customer’s decisions).

Using Concrete Words

As an example, you should write concrete tasks in your calendar as opposed to vague tasks:

  • Vague: Study for chemistry
  • Concrete: Review past exams in chemistry

Concrete tasks are easier to imagine, so they seem easier to do.

A new study verified this idea in sales (Packard & Berger, 2021). Customers were more likely to buy a shirt when the salesperson described the shirt in concrete terms.

Vividness Is Important

If you can easily imagine the product, you can imagine the value it provides. Your emotional reaction is stronger. With clothing, the term “top” refers to many styles. Customers translate this word into a blurry mental image. They can’t imagine wearing the shirt in the future. And, naturally, they can’t imagine their emotional reaction. Therefore, read your marketing materials/website/sales page/email marketing. Replace vague words with concrete terms — like the previous sentence.

It is important that the customer support team uses concrete terms.

Oftentimes, their messages will describe general/vague capabilities:

  • General/Vague: I can’t add a new product to your order. But you can cancel the current order, and then add a new item.

But this response is general/vague. A better response:

  • Concrete: I can’t add those jeans to your order. But you can cancel the shoes, and then add jeans to the order.

Both responses convey the same information, yet — as the researchers verified — the second response creates happier customers that spend more money.