Avoid These Words That Kill Sales

in Sales Vocabulary

From the mailbag:

“Art, an email I received from a vendor, in response to a question we asked about a policy issue, started out with, ‘You’re not going to like this, but …’

“I continued reading, now feeling bitter. However, what was said was really nothing more than what we already knew and expected. I would love to see your take on something like this. A piece on the things we do to sabotage ourselves when all we were intending to do was soften the cold hard reality.”

OK. Good idea. Let’s look at a few.

Pointing Out Negatives They Probably Wouldn’t Notice
I was talking to guy about some training for his small business and mentioned I visited his website. He immediately apologized for some things (which he perceived as negatives) on the site I hadn’t even noticed. After he mentioned them, I pulled up his site again and they stuck out like a big zit on a nose. I guess I didn’t notice them the first time.

Some people obsess about things that no one other than them would ever see. But, when they’re highlighted for us, then we tend to see them. For example, are there red cars in the parking lot outside your building. There. Now I bet that you’ll look for them.

And we probably don’t even want to get close to this one:  “Do I look fat in this?”

It’s All in the Positioning
I remember years ago when my kids were little, their mom made the comment, “I’ll let the kids know that they have to stay at Grandma’s house tonight since we’re going out.”

Of course she didn’t intend that to sound negative, but sometimes we say things that can be interpreted differently than we intend (to say the least!). Leaving nothing to chance, I told her that I would tell them.

So, I put a different spin on it:

“Kids! Guess what? You GET to go spend the night at Grandma’s!”

“Yay!”, they screamed.

TMI (Too Much Info)
I’ve heard many-a-sales rep talk too much about facts irrelevant to what the prospect/customer cared about. The danger here is creating objections.

A sales rep handled an incoming call where the buyer asked for information on a new calculator model he was looking to carry in his catalog since he had heard good things about it. Understand now, that the inquirer was interested in placing a large order right then and there for an initial shipment. Things were progressing smoothly until the rep added, “Now of course, these don’t come with the AC adapter.”

The prospect immediately changed his tone and said, “Hmmm, I didn’t really expect them to, but now I’ll have to think about this a bit.” Lost sale.

Here are a few others:

Instead of,

“I’m just calling today …”, use,

“I’m CALLING today …”.

Instead of,

“So you probably don’t want to buy?”,use,

“Shall we move forward with the delivery?”

Instead of,

“I imagine you’re not looking for another vendor?”, use,

“What plans do you have for a backup vendor in case you need something and your present source doesn’t have what you need, when you need it?”

Instead of,

“Well, it is expensive, the price is …”, use,

“You’re getting (benefit) and (benefit) and it’s only…”

Instead of,

“I’ll have to check on that for you.”, use,

“I’ll be happy to research that for you.”

Instead of,

“I’ll try to get to that,” use,

“I will personally get that done by tomorrow morning.”

I have just scratched the surface here, and I’m sure there are plenty that sound like fingernails across a chalkboard. (I just realized that some people reading this might not have ever seen a chalkboard.)

If you have sabotaged a call with a phrase or question, or have a pet peeve, please share them.

 

 

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Ellis August 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm

LOU TICE has a great Curriculum on this!

Some people obsess about things that no one other than them would ever see. But, when they’re highlighted for us, then we tend to see them. For example, are there red cars in the parking lot outside your building. There. Now I bet that you’ll look for them.

I remember years ago when my kids were little, their mom made the comment, “I’ll let the kids know that they have to stay at Grandma’s house tonight since we’re going out.”

Of course she didn’t intend that to sound negative, but sometimes we say things that can be interpreted differently than we intend (to say the least!). Leaving nothing to chance, I told her that I would tell them.

So, I put a different spin on it:

“Kids! Guess what? You GET to go spend the night at Grandma’s!”

“Yay!”, they screamed.

Reply

Debbie Bowen August 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm

I have a pet peeve. When I call HR professionals, several of them, in their voicemail message will
say “please leave a message with a name and number and I will return your call at my earliest convenience”.

I feel that this statement indicates that they will return the call when they feel like it. Sounds very self centered and makes me cringe every time I hear it.

I would much rather hear, “please leave your name and number and I will return your call as soon as possible” or, “within 24 hours”, etc. Has a much better professional feel about it.

Thanks for listening to my vent!

Reply

T Quintin August 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Debbie, I don’t know how more people don’t get that. It is one of my pet peeves.

Reply

Art Sobczak August 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Me too! They might as well say, “When and if I can get around to it, if I don’t have anything else to do, maybe I will grant you the honor of my voice.” I know people can’t return all of their calls, but that greeting is stupid.

Reply

T Quintin August 8, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Here’s one: “We were running a special last week that you just missed.” That sale is not likely to move forward without that special being applied retroactively.

Reply

Coach Hughes August 11, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Art,

One of my pet peeves is listening in on an inside sales call and even in face to face calls where the prospect is showing every buying signal I can imagine. However, the rep keeps right on selling (and talking) I’ve never seen anyone LOSE a sale this way, but I can see it in the clients eyes or hear him try to interrupt on the phone to get the rep to stop. UGH

PS> I am a really big fan of a lot of your work.

Reply

Art Sobczak August 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Thanks! I have heard sales reps lose a sale. I call it “buying it back.”

Reply

Linus January 17, 2014 at 5:47 am

Like in SCIENCE
If selling the widget is a Vector
The opposite Vector is “buying it back”
Yes? Art-
Linus

Reply

John Ahsmann August 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm

A pet peeve is at point of sale. “Is that it”?
…. what do you mean ‘is that it’?!…. are you trying to tell me I’m a small customer? That this transaction was a nuisance for you and that you’re glad it’s concluded? That this is my final chance to add to the sale before you send it to the office?

What’s a client to think? “oh! I’m so glad you asked that.I was waiting for you to ask me because I really also wanted to get X.

How about trying, “Will that be everything”? Or even better, “You know, since you’re getting this, I would really like to recommend getting that. Many of my clients have found that…..”.

True enough, the “is that it” form of closing the sale rarely sabotages the sale, but it’s equally true that it certainly does not encourage any cross selling or even repeat sales for that matter.

Reply

Linus January 3, 2014 at 8:29 am

Perhaps
I will stay with You + Jim Meisenheimer + Dan Kennedy
Secondly perhaps after so many years in salesmanship inputs
it is not so much as collecting all of sort of tricks in salesmanship
that wins
but
having a deep plan
Art –
LRD

Reply

Nick January 22, 2014 at 10:21 am

My favorite is when you are checking out a product at a retail store, and a rep asks you “Are you all set?” You may as well say “I don’t have to help you with anything right?”

Reply

Sales Manager April 30, 2014 at 12:14 pm

It’s crazy how much weight can go behind something so simple as a word. I’m constantly policing the vocabulary of my sales people. My company runs a lot of promotions and sales, and the sales reps have a tendency to say things like “well if there is anything LEFT from that sale…” which just makes it sound like whatever would still be there is some rag-tag product that nobody else wanted.. Really they should be saying “If there is anything still available from that sale…”, it’s saying the same thing but as you put it “Positions” the statement in a positive light. It makes it sound like the product was selling like hotcakes and the customer should be so lucky to still have the opportunity to buy.

Great post!

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 4 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: