By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
A great deal of thought and effort goes into helping sellers understand what to say in different situations with prospects and buyers. That said, I thought it would be helpful to offer advice about words and phrases you may want to avoid using in selling situations.
Kick the Crutch
Most of us have what I call “crutch words” used to give us time to think about how to respond to buyers. One particularly distracting phrase is “you know” (usually pronounced as yunno). Other variations on a theme would be “ums, ahs,” etc.Silence is a far better alternative to allow sellers time to decide how to respond.
Words can undermine a seller’s power.
Most buyers want to work with sellers that can command company resources if they are needed to address issues. Sellers using words such as: might, perhaps, possibly, probably and maybe sound indecisive.
There are words that merely serve as fillers or noise that dilute your message:
- Obviously – If something is obvious it isn’t necessary to point it out. If a seller states something is obvious and a buyer that doesn’t know what was stated can be offended.
- Words such as basically, candidly, clearly add volume but no content to conversations.
- I hope it isn’t necessary to explain why trust me, honestly, and the absolutely dreadful let me be honest with you (the inference being a seller has been lying his or her socks off).
- Ambiguous words – integrated, cutting edge, seamless, efficient, synergistic, robust, elegant, automatically, state of the art and dynamic. They add little or nothing to conversations.
I’d also like to suggest that sellers realize that the only person that can deem an offering a “solution” is the buyer. Beyond that, buyers must own achieving the desired business outcome. Phrases like “I/we/our system will increase your top line” disempower buyers. The fact is sellers offer capabilities to enable buyers to achieve the desired business outcomes and they should take ownership.
Buyers have and will continue to buy from sellers that use these words and phrases. That said, sellers can offer meaningful content or noise. Sellers that reduce noise can deliver more compelling messages.