Avoiding the following sales person word crimes will help you build rapport with prospects and help them to open up and talk, ultimately increasing your ability to close the sale: 1.) “Um” and “uh.” These are the biggest word crimes, and the most common words that sales people slip up and say. Why is it so important to avoid these words? Each time you say “um” or “uh” to a prospect, you display hesitance and a lack of preparation. Most of the time this isn’t the case, but the damage has already been done. These words can turn an illustrious elevator pitch into a third-grade recitation if you’re not careful. 2.) “Sort of,” “kind of,” “maybe,” “I guess.” Along the same lines of “um” and “uh,” these words will convey to a prospect that you’re not sure of what you’re talking about. They are essentially weak words that do not help you come across as confident and appropriately assertive. 3.) “Today,” “contact,” “calling.” In the proper context, these words are fine. But if you’re not careful, they become very “salesy.” If you sound like a cliché salesperson, the prospect will tune you out.
- “Today”: Avoid saying things like, “Do you have a moment to discuss your company’s network today?” You will probably not get a positive response. This is an unnecessary and clichéd word that can easily be avoided.
- “Contact”: In our Inside Sales department, it simplifies things to refer to individuals at various companies as “contacts.” It is important, however, to never refer to the individuals themselves as “contacts.” Do not ask, “Are you the contact for computer networking?” Instead, ask, “Do you oversee computer networking?” This is much more personal and friendly.
- “Calling”: Another “salesy” word, and an obvious one. Don’t start a conversation, “This is Sam calling from Company Incorporated.” Instead, just drop the word “calling.”
4.) “Are,” “is.” Using open ended questions is a great way to spark conversation and help a prospect open up. Avoid using “yes or no” questions whenever possible. Instead of these questions that require lifeless “yes or no” responses, use questions that begin with the words “what,” “how” and “why.” 5.) “Touching base,” “checking in.” Never tell a prospect that the only reason for your call is to check in or touch base. You’re dealing with busy people, and you need to have a stronger reason for calling. If you don’t, prepare to be tuned out. On a sales call, it is important that the prospect does more of the talking than you. As a sales person, part of your job is helping them get to a point where they feel comfortable opening up and talking. If they’re not talking, they’re probably not interested, and they’re certainly not providing you with any helpful information that could lead to a sale. If a prospect isn’t interested, they are not a qualified lead. By avoiding these word crimes, you will have a much better chance of engaging prospects in conversation and sealing the deal.