These Words Can Get You In, or Hung Up On

in Resistance and Rejection

Actually getting someone on the phone is one of the biggest challenges we have in sales today.

So please, do not shoot yourself in the foot when you at last get that person listening to your greeting.

On the phone you have about 6 seconds or less with your words to capture a listener’s initial attention, break their preoccupation with whatever they were doing when you called, and place them in a positive, receptive frame of mind to share information with you and continue to listen with an open mind.

You don’t want to muddy up your call with wasted, meaningless, or resistance-inducing words.

Here are some that are overused, and really are meaningless.

-“cost-effective,” as in, “We provide cost-effective products.”

-“leading,” or “premier,” as in, “We’re the leading company in this field.”

-“solution provider, as in, “We’re a top solution provider in the space.”

-“meet your needs, as in, “I’d like to discuss how we can meet your needs.”

Check this one out:

“Ms. Prospect, Josh Verbose with E-Commerce Applications. We’re the premier solution provider of cost-effective e-commerce systems. We help companies by facilitating their migration into electronic marketing by leveraging their options to meet their e-commerce needs.”


I received a call similar to the following the other day. Not only did the guy’s monotone sound like he just arose out of bed with a stinging hangover, he slurred the unemotional pronunciation of words:

“Art, this is Joe Collins with Data International. We’re the most respected provider of data funneling (or something like that–I had never heard the term before). We work with the IBM’s, AT&T’s …,”

…and the guy went on for at least 90 seconds, nonstop, with his droning. I was not a prospect, and even if I was, I wouldn’t have been interested based on this opening.

Here are a couple of fundamental ideas to keep in mind before and during your calls.

-Know who you’re talking to, both company and position-wise, AND know something about them. It’s easier than ever with all of the info available. Do some Social Engineering with ANY person you can get on the phone in your prospect’s company: “I want to be sure that what I have would be of some interest for your company. Please tell me …,” followed by some qualifying questions.

-Use clear terminology to quickly create interest. Let me say this slowly: you have just several seconds to create interest at the beginning of a call. You do this by alluding to what you might be able to do for them, and then asking a question.

So be simple with the hint of the result you could possibly provide. For example,

“Art, depending on how you’re using your existing list of customers, we might have a way to help you get two or three times the amount of repeat business you’re doing now, like we have for other sales training companies. I’d like to ask a few questions to see if it would make sense for us to speak further.”

Along the same lines, avoid stilted words when simpler ones will do.

“use” instead of “utilize”

“talk” instead of “have a dialogue”

“help” instead of “facilitate”

Examine your own language, both in your openings, and in all parts of your call. Are you creating resistance instead of interest? If so, change it today.

If you’d like to get hundreds of word-for-word examples of what to say in ALL parts of your call to minimize resistance and increase your chances for YES, check this out.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Gianluigi Olivari September 24, 2017 at 2:21 am

Hi Art,
completely share your point. During my sales training seminars in Italy I always stress that some words (e.g. not, if, would you, and many others) instantly kill the sales potential of many reps.
Thanks for sharing!


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