Study Reveals Words That Help Close Deals (& Those That Don't)

BY Jessica Helinski
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In the sales world, it’s not just how you say it, but what you say. Certain words can trigger things in buyers that make them more likely to say yes to a deal, or no thanks, and move on. While managers may pass along advice about which words to avoid, there is actually data to back up these suggestions. Chris Orlob reports on recent Gong​.io findings for Sales Hacker, which shed light on the phrases most associated with closed deals (and those linked to losses).

Orlob breaks the words down into two categories: Those that sell and those that don’t. Below is a sample of the words that appear disproportionately on deals that closed:

  • Imagine”
    This word helps paint a descriptive picture for the prospect.
  • The prospect’s name
    Gong​.io found that the top sales reps say the prospect’s name, on average, 4.1 times per hour. This correlated to a 14% higher close rate.
  • Client” (preferred over “customer”)
    “The words ‘client’ and ‘customer’ paint two different images,” Orlob explains. “Referring to them as a ‘potential customer’ may create the idea that they’re just being targeted by another aggressive salesperson trying to hit their number. But, opting for ‘potential client’ allows them to view the rep as a trusted advisor who has their best interest in mind.

Alternately,’s studies revealed that certain words appeared in conversations that ultimately led to no deals. These are two examples of what not to say:

  • Show you how”
    When used more than four times during a sales conversation throughout the sales cycle, close rates drop by 13 percent.
  • We provide”
    This phrase gives the impression that a sales pitch is coming (which, in most cases, it is). Close rates fell 22% when reps said, “we provide,” four or more times during a sales call.

Orlob’s article gives a great snapshot of’s insights, and reps should take note of which words have the potential to wreck their deals. As Orlob points out, “the most decisive difference between superstar sales reps and everyone else comes down to what they say during their sales conversations.”