Are Your Speech Habits Driving Away Prospects?

BY Rachel Cagle
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Have you ever tried to escape a conversation because of the other person’s speech habits? While your case hopefully isn’t that intense, there are a few speech habits many salespeople unknowingly possess that could be costing them sales, says Danny Wong, writing for Selling Power.

Using Placeholders

Isn’t it, like, so, like, annoying when people, like, overuse the word “like?” Or when they feel as if they need to fill every minor pause in their sentence with an “um” or “uh?” You may not think you’re one of these perpetrators, but Wong points out that 80% of sales calls contain at least one instance of these words being spoken by a salesperson. Have a practice call with a coworker or record yourself giving a mock cold call and note the number of times you use weak placeholders. Work them out of your speak pattern to make a better impression on your prospects and clients. 

Speaking Passively

Your pitch should be focusing on what your product or service could do for a prospect in this moment and going forward. As such, you should be using present and future tense. However, many salespeople get stuck in a past-​tense rut. Wong gives the example of, “It was discovered that our platform has increased open rates by 75%.” It should be, “We discovered our platform can increase open rates by 75%.” How can your sale move forward if your language is stuck in the past?

Not Paying Attention to Tone

Monotone voice isn’t just about speaking without emotion. You can also come off as monotone by using the same tone throughout the entirety of your pitch. This seems both inhuman and fake. Humans express different emotions in different scenarios. For example, you should sound empathetic when talking with a client about their problems and confident/​credible when showing them how you can help. If you only seem excited, confident, etc. throughout your whole pitch, you won’t seem trustworthy.