SALES

8 Words to Avoid When Selling

These words really raise your customer's hackles.
Advertisement

Over the two years, I've read hundreds of sales messages and heard dozens of sales presentations. 

Probably 90 percent of them are full of words that are both trite and ineffective. 

Here are the worst offenders:

1. "Exciting"

There is no word more boring than the word "exciting."  Claiming that something is "exciting" tells everybody that it's not. Instead, find something about your offering that actually excites the customer's interest.

2. "Innovative"

Same here.  I can't remember ever hearing Apple claim to be innovative; they just are.  That's true of every company that actually innovates.  For them, it's just normal everyday behavior. They don't have to point it out.

3. "Discount"

Let's leave this tired old term back in the world where "But, wait! There's more!" is state-of-the-art sales patter.  Look, your stuff has a price and maybe you've got some flexibility. But offering a "discount"?  How cheesy.

4. "Guarantee"

Everyone in the world who has an ounce of sense knows that a "guarantee" means absolutely nothing. "Guarantee" is just the word that people use when they're too chicken to use a word that has some real legal muscle, i.e. "warrantee."

5. "Honestly"

When this word comes out of your mouth, it makes everything else you've said so far seem like you were probably lying.  Same thing goes for starting a sentence with "To tell the truth,..." Say whut? You've been BSing up until now?

6. "Collaborate"

How did this dreadful word get into the business vocabulary, anyway? Yes, you've got to work together with people to get stuff done, but "collaborate"?  Hey, that's what the Vichy France did with the Nazis.

7. "Opportunity"

This is the classic case of a word that sounds positive but carries a huge load of "it's all about me."  Calling any sales situation an "opportunity" is telling the customer that you're all about closing the deal.  Just like any other opportunist.

8. "Quota"

On what planet does a customer care whether you make your numbers?  Selling is all about helping the customer make the best decision...for the customer.  When you're selling, your quota should be the farthest thing from your mind.

Like this post? If so, sign up for the free Sales Source newsletter.

Last updated: Jun 24, 2013

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed over a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



Register on Inc.com today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Livestream events | Comments
EMAIL
PASSWORD
EMAIL
FIRST NAME
LAST NAME
EMAIL
PASSWORD

Or sign up using: