Some of us are killing our own careers. Could you be one of them?
When it comes to sales, there are 27 words you absolutely want to avoid. You could be ruining your chances of closing a deal just because you can’t play the language game. And if you aren’t careful with your words, you could lose deal after deal, killing your sales career.
So what can you do to turn your words into money?
Begin by removing these words which have crept into your everyday vocabulary. Here are 27 words to avoid if you want to excel at sales.
Watch this video about 27 words to avoid in sales.
To Be Honest With You (words 1-5)
When someone says, “To be honest with you, this is the best price,” or “To be honest with you, we never give these deals to anyone else,” what’s your first reaction?
Alarm bells go off in your head. People say this phrase to emphasize that they are going to be straightforward with what they are about to say, but it doesn’t work. Saying “to be honest” is like telling the prospect that the entire conversation to that point was a lie.
If you’ve been honest with your prospect the whole time, why do you need to point it out now? These filler words are as useless as “um.” Cut them from your vocabulary right now if you want to be credible with your prospects.
For the same reason, remove “to be frank” from your vocabulary also. If you want people to think you are being honest, don’t draw attention to it. If you are frank, if people can trust you, show it with action.
Trust (Me) (word 6)
You might think that you’re building a relationship with your prospect when you say, “Just trust me this is a great deal.” Depending on your tone, you could sound like you’re hiding something. Do you think your prospect is likely to buy from you?
Of course not! Who buys from someone who appears evasive? Your actions will speak louder than your words. If you want your prospects to have confidence in you, prove it to them over time. You can’t passive-aggressively make someone trust you.
I’ve noticed in movies that people say, “you have to trust me” when they are facing a dangerous situation. In the movie, the Terminator tells the people he is protecting, “Trust me.” When you watch the movie for the first time, it’s difficult to tell if he really can be trusted or he has a trick up his sleeve.
Sorry To Bother You (words 7-10)
Why do you say, “Sorry to bother you?” If you’re feeling sorry then don’t bother your prospect in the first place! This phrase can be annoying because if your prospect didn’t think you were bothering them before, they will when you apologize.
But if you have a good reason to call someone, you don’t have to be sorry. If you’re calling to sell something that you believe in, you should have the confidence and authority, and here’s why.
When it comes to closing and sales, usually the prospect has the power. The closer – the sales person – doesn’t have the power. In order to be more effective as a closer, you want to turn the tables.
In a sales call, one party has a higher status than the other. If you start off by apologizing before giving solutions or seeing how you can help, you’re already at a disadvantage.
There’s no need to apologize for what you bring to the table or what you sell. If you believe in what you do, don’t apologize. Your time is just as valuable as the prospect’s.
People buy from you because your product will help to solve a problem. Just because you’re selling something doesn’t mean your time is less valuable. You are only interrupting if you have nothing to offer or didn’t do your due diligence before making the call. Following up is one example of due diligence.
Just Following Up (words 11-13)
As a salesperson, you have been guilty of using these words before: “Sir, I’m just following up…” It doesn’t matter what you say after that. The expression has been a salesperson favorite for so long that it triggers a strong response.
Prospects think you are trying to sell them something. They automatically think that last time you didn’t close them or sell them so now you’re following up and trying to sell them again. And they don’t have time for this, so they want to hang up.
Do your research and have a reason for calling the prospect. Don’t say you’re following up as a way to start a conversation.
Now the next word is so common, few would think it could be harmful.
Buy (word 14)
“Buy” is another word that triggers a strong reaction. People love to buy but they hate to be sold.
The word “buy” means something will cost you money. It sets off waves of tension. Prospects know that when you buy something, you have to spend money on it. They cringe at the word.
Instead, say “own” or “take this home with you.” How do you feel when I present you with a beautiful gold lion and ask, “Would you like to take this home with you?” The answer, of course, is “Sure!” Aren’t you excited about getting a wealth trigger?
Other expressions that generate that same level of interest are “Would you like to take advantage of this?” and “Would you like to move forward?”
Who doesn’t want to move forward?
“Buy” triggers resistance and fear. Imagine a car salesman asking you, “Would you like to buy this expensive luxury car?” No! Of course not! You don’t want to spend money!
How about if he asks, “Would you like to lease this car and make monthly payments?” Your answer is No again! You don’t want to make monthly payments.
But what if he says, “Would you like to take this car home with you?” Your answer will be, “Sure!” And the salesman will say, “Here is the key.”
It’s smooth and simple. Your choice of words can make all the difference in closing a deal. Even formality of language is important.
Contract (word 15)
Don’t use “contract” in any sentence if you want to close a deal. It feels serious, like someone is signing their life away.
Say “agreement” because it is less formal, less intimidating. You can also say, “How about we get this paperwork out of the way?”
These words are more casual than signing The Contract. Focus on what’s important, which is getting something signed, not using heavy words to seal the deal.
I Haven’t Heard Back From You (words 16-21)
The phrase “I haven’t heard back from you” sounds so normal, it flows out of your mouth smoothly and with ease. But in sales when you say that the prospect knows why they haven’t heard back from you!
They don’t want to hear from you. They don’t want to contact you. Why say something they already know?
Those words automatically create resistance between you and the prospect. Don’t make them feel guilty or embarrass them. Instead, add value.
When you do a touch point, always offer something. Provide them with new information about your product or service, for example. Don’t sell them. When you stay in touch and add value, the prospect is more likely to do business with you when the time is right for them.
Individual (word 22)
Personal relationships are important when closing deals. “Individual” is a cold and institutional word. Don’t say, “I know you’re a busy individual,” or “I know you’re a successful individual.”
You don’t talk to your friends or spouse that way. You don’t say, “Hey honey, you’re a wonderful individual. Marrying you was the best decision I ever made.” Instead, use casual conversational words.
Finally, build up relationships and trust by respecting not only your prospect, but your competitors as well.
We Are Better Than [competitor] (words 23-27)
Never, ever put down your competitors. Even if there’s irrefutable proof that you’re better, you don’t want to say it. Your prospect is thinking you’re putting down the competitor because you want the sale. But that’s not true, is it?
No. You want your prospects to come to their own conclusion that it is true and then choose your service or product. Instead, praise the competitor. You don’t have to criticize them. There is a reason the prospect is on the phone with you, even up to this point.
It means they haven’t made the decision; otherwise, they would have gone with your competitor already. Your prospect is still thinking. You just need to demonstrate that you understand and can solve their problems better than your competitors.
You don’t need to tell the prospect that you’re better. Ask them questions and let them find out what you offer and what you can do.
Stop ruining your chances of closing a deal with words that should be killed from your vocabulary. Use words that treat your prospects like everyday people and phrases that entice them to buy, instead of turning them off it. Most importantly, don’t tell them how to feel about you and your business. Let them establish the trust themselves.
When you use words that prospects will say yes to, it’s a win-win for both you and the prospect.
Can you think of other words to avoid in sales? Comment below.