The Words and Phrases That Kill Sales

BY Liz Wendling
Featured image for “The Words and Phrases That Kill Sales”

 5 landmines to avoid stepping on

Have you ever stopped to think if some of the words and phrases that you use may be preventing prospects from buying your products or hiring you for your services?

Some everyday language may seem harmless, but at a subconscious level, it may be preventing prospects from doing business with you. These everyday words are either deal sealers or deal stealers.

Watch your language.” I heard my parents use this phrase when I used unacceptable language. Even as adults this message still applies. As business owners and salespeople, we should always be “watching our language” in a sales situation. Carefully choosing the right words at the right time can mean the difference between a sale or no sale, deal or no deal.

Becoming a lean, mean, selling machine means ridding yourself of the words and phrases that repel buyers. It means freeing yourself from the language that diminishes your power and decreases your credibility. Start speaking the language of sales success.

I know that I have said some stupid things on a sales call; sometimes subtle and sometimes overt. I now watch my language and train others to watch theirs as well.

The following language and word landmines must be banned from your sales vocabulary.

The next time one of these top statements start to come out of your mouth, stop, bite your tongue and find something better to say.

Did I catch you at a good time?” These days, there’s no such thing as a good time to talk. The only way there will ever be a good time is when you say something relevant that piques a customer’s interest. Otherwise, you will be greeted with a, “no, this is not a good time to talk.” Get in their world, know their issues and speak to their problems. Then, it will always be a good time to talk.

I know you’re busy, so I won’t take up much of your time.”  Yes, you will. You already wasted their time with that line. You can have all the time in the world if you’re talking about their issues and problems instead of pushing your products and solutions. They may be busy, but I bet they will be willing for you to take their time if you are fixing their problems.

In my opinion.” Most of the time, your opinion isn’t necessary for a sales situation. Unless people ask for it, don’t give it. Sure, you can make recommendations and offer suggestions, but never offer your opinion unless one is solicited. A better way of getting permission to give advice is to say something like, “Many of my clients have encountered something similar. Are you interested in the way we handled it?”

Trust me or to be honest with you.” Those are real deal killers. Statements like that give people the impression that you haven’t been completely upfront or you have something to hide. When you use phrases like that it sends a message that, you’re trying to convince your customer instead of letting them discover why you’re the best option. Why should you have to tell someone to trust you or that you're honest? Start by being honest and displaying trust.

I’m not trying to sell you anything.” Then why are you calling them? That sounds phony and tacky and will result in a lost sale. Pick up the phone, have a purpose, craft a great message, and then you may be able to get to the next step and secure a meeting.

Always be searching for better ways to say things in the sales conversation. This bad language is a surefire way to annoy your prospect and potentially lose a sale. Watching your language will require effort on your part to ensure you are not using words and phrases that turn buyers off and lead to another lost sale.

Liz Wendling is the author of two books (and counting):  The Unstoppable Business Woman and Everyone Sells Something; a columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine; and one of the first nationally credentialed facilitators for Napoleon Hill Mastermind groups. Learn more at lizwendling​.com.