Top-Shelf Tip No. 160:

"The best way to add value to yourself is by adding value to other people."

John Maxwell

Five Sales Phrases That Are Killing Your Deals

Today's buyers have more leverage and expectations that ever before. They can find any products or information online, making it all the more critical for sales professionals to successfully engage and sell. Devin Reed, content strategy manager at Gong, says that to become and remain successful, sales professionals must communicate in a meaningful way. This means using your words—or sales phrases—better.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Reed's thoughts on the six sales phrases to avoid in order to cut through the noise and be memorable to potential buyers.

1. "Just checking in." This is notoriously known as the laziest and worst sales phrase on the planet, says Reed. "Just checking in" is a zero value-add for your prospect, and therefore very easy to ignore. Why are you checking in? This line is so lazy, it doesn't even bother to say why. Your recipient has to spend time and energy opening the email, figuring out whether they're missing something (surely you didn't send an email for no reason, right?), then answer. What you're really trying to say is this: "Are there updates on ___ (that thing you care about)?"

2. "Any questions?" This lazy sales phrase plagues discovery calls and demos across sales floors everywhere. Reed admits he has also used it as a quick out to spark a dialogue. What sellers and (most) buyers want is a conversation that is challenging, insightful or simply interesting. Many sales leaders would call this "meaningful." There's a time and a place to ensure questions are all answered, but "Any questions?" is the laziest of them all. Similar to "Just checking in," you put the responsibility on your prospect to generate a topic of conversation.

3. "List price." Aside from making you sound like a used car salesperson who's reading the sticker price off a used Nissan, when you use the phrase, "list price," you completely negate the validity of your asking price, says Reed. You're subliminally saying, "Here's our starting point. It's your turn to take a hack at it." Worse still, when you say any of these words — list price, typical price or standard price - at any point in a deal, you can expect your sales cycle to extend 19 percent longer than when you don't use these terms.

4. "Pick your brain." This sales phrase is a big loser, according to Reed. Getting your brain picked sounds taxing and, frankly, unenjoyable. It also means the person doing the picking is getting value at the expense of the pickee. The mistake is that salespeople try to preface an "ask" with an unattractive, one-sided dialogue.

5. "Just wanted to." This sales phrase doesn't work on multiple levels. It feels passive. It's casual. And it's selfish by definition. In speech, this phrase often goes unnoticed. We hear it as "simply confirming," which isn't terrible. Via email , however, it has much more of a negative impact. People often read the first few words of an email via mobile notification or very quickly via desktop. Leading with "just wanted to" makes it sound like you're setting up an ask or a task — and no one wants either.

It's important not to get lazy with your sales phrases. By paying attention to the words you use, you can level up your conversations, win your prospects' trust and earn their business.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Devin Reed is the content strategy manager at Gong and host of the Gong Labs Live, a weekly show designed to provide tips and insights to sales professionals.

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