Those personality traits your family and friends love so much? Yeah, those might not be so helpful on a sales call.
Take humor, for instance. Your pals might appreciate your sharp wit, but it’s usually a smart idea to leave all sarcasm at the door when it comes to sales. Humor is incredibly subjective, and what gives one person the giggles might give someone else a headache. The same goes for self-deprecating humor. On a sales call, it won’t inspire any confidence.
The words you use matter as well. A prospective client won’t be impressed with generic blabber about an “amazing” product or service. Being specific, staying positive and professional and moving the conversation forward is key.
We went digging around for ideas about words and phrases every young sales professional should avoid. Here are five that we found, from a variety of sources.
- Honestly: Many of us start sentences with this to emphasize how much we mean what follows. In sales, it can open the door to two problems. First, if this is a cold call, or a sales pitch to a new client, a sense of trust hasn’t been established. Words such as honestly can make a salesperson sound desperate for such trust. Second, as noted by Geoffrey James of inc.com, calling attention to the honesty of something can make the client wonder if all of your previous points were fabricated.
- Can’t: The word introduces a negative air, a possibly unnecessary boundary that could limit the sale pitch’s effectiveness. As Jay Chalnick at crunched.com points out, saying can’t can make a pitch sound like something that cannot be negotiated. If prospective clients feel constricted by those limitations, they might look for a more flexible arrangement elsewhere.
- Obviously: As with honestly, the intent here might be fine. Maybe you’re assuming that prospective clients are on the same page, and obviously is your way to note that they are right there with you. But what if they’re not? The word can take a quick detour, and, as Allan Himmelstein of Sales Coach AZ points out, it can come off as condescending. The same can go for simply (as if you’re breaking it down for a simpleton) and the phrase it goes without saying (then why are you saying it?).
- You should: Here’s one that can come off as overly aggressive and could be considered arrogant. A salesperson shouldn’t tell a client what he or she should do, as this story by Heinz Marketing details. There’s no way that you could know the ins and outs of the client’s financial situation. Assuming that you do could eliminate any chance of a sale.
- Lowest price: It’s natural to want to let clients know they are getting the most affordable option. But as this story by Craig Woodman explores, think about how many times we hear that phrase in a day. It’s a constant barrage on television, radio, print and the Internet. So who’s telling the truth? Best to avoid it, along with phrases like risk-free. Any time money is involved, Woodman notes, there is risk.