15 words and phrases to remove from your sales vocabulary immediately

Posted August 3, 2017

Up your cold calling game by avoiding these low-impact words.

As a sales representative, it’s on you to bring the next big innovations to market (no pressure). You’re selling the most amazing thing on earth, and you assume your product will speak for you, right? Wrong.

How you sell something is just as important as what you’re selling, and it’s easy for the way you speak to undermine the great things you’re talking about. We all know there are certain words to always avoid saying, like ummmm those filler words we’ve, like, gone to extreme lengths to umm remove from our everyday vocabulary. However, there are other, sneakier words that are definitely sabotaging your impact and credibility as a sales professional - and you’ve probably said at least one of them on a cold call today. Yikes!

We interviewed our leadership team to learn the sales vocabulary and phrases they never want to overhear a rep say on a cold call… or read in a sales email either, for that matter. Remove these from your vocabulary, follow our cold call tips, and you'll be golden.

“Just,” “Quick,” “Fast,” “Short” - Julianne Sweat, Sales Development Manager

We know that your prospect isn't expecting your call.  We know that he/she is busy and it's a big deal to ask for his/her time.  But it's not "just" 15 minutes, it's not "just" a "quick/fast/short" call. This is a meeting that’s going to change your prospect’s life. Be confident when you ask for your prospect's time.  What you’re selling is powerful, and it's not "just" another tool to add to their stack.

“How are you?” - Steve Ross, Director of Sales Development

I personally despise a cold call that opens with "how are you?".  One, I know you are a sales rep. Two, I know you don't care how I am. Three, just get to it.

“Does that make sense?” - Mark Kosoglow, VP of Sales

Full disclosure: I am guilty of this at times. This question is lazy, and if your prospect says "no" they are basically admitting that they are too “stupid” to understand what you’re saying. It is much better to make the statement you want to make and ask them a follow up question that will give you more information about their needs. An example of how an Outreach sales rep would use this strategy is by saying, "I might not have this right so let me know if I don’t. You need more activity, and sequences, as I explained them, seem to be a perfect fit. How do you see sequences solving your activity challenges?"

“I’d love to set aside some time.” - Julianne

Your prospect doesn’t care what you’d love to do. Be more confident and direct, and say “let’s schedule some time” instead.

“Did I catch you at a good time?” - Matt Millen, SVP of Revenue Operations

People are conditioned to say no immediately when they hear you start this question. Of course you didn’t catch them at a good time - you’re cold calling them in the middle of the day! Change it up and instead ask “Did I catch you at a bad time?” for a better chance of opening the conversation.

“Sir” or “Ma’am” - Julianne

It’s simple - you and your prospect are equals.

“Honestly” - Alex Lynn, Sales Development Manager

I hate when sales reps say "honestly" because it implies that they have been everything but truthful up to that point of the conversation. Sales teams need to come across as full of truth, not full of lies.

“Kind of”, “A little bit”, “Might”, “I think” - Julianne

Words like these show a lack of confidence. You’re not going to tell your prospect "a little bit" about how your solution can "kind of" help them. You don’t “think” meeting with them “might” be a good use of their time. No. Meeting with you is a BIG deal. You’re going to blow your prospect’s freaking mind - don’t undermine that.

Bonus: stop speaking with an upswing - Steve

Sales reps lose impact on calls when they end statements on a high tone. It ends up sounding like a question. I know sales reps are guilty of this all the time. It comes from a hesitation, waiting for the objection or lack of certainty so one pulls the punch at the end of statements. Ensuring you keep a down tone on statements, especially over the phone, can lend a lot of authority whereas the high note can erase it.

It takes practice, but the highest performing sales professionals speak concisely and with intention. If one of these words slips into a pitch every so often, don’t slam down the phone and start hyperventilating. But by working to eliminate these words and phrases from your sales pitch and cold emails overtime, you can send a more confident, impactful message to your prospects.

Tell us in the comments: What words do you think reduce the impact of a cold email or discovery call?


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