Words That Don’t Sell

2 min read · 7 years ago


Words are powerful. You know this if you’re following the Affordable Care Act as it winds its way thought the courts in the United States. The case hinges on a legal interpretation of the words “by” and “for.” Salespeople need to understand the power of words when they sell since words are the tools of their trade.

Stay away from “but”

You are going to have a customer or prospect disagree with you at some point in a sales conversation. That’s when you have to pay attention to your emotions. Your first response may be to push back. Be careful if it is.

You push back if you use the word “but” when you respond to a customer with whom you disagree. You might say, “Yes, your comment about the standard is correct, but we can address it in a different way.” The word “but” takes away everything before it.

What you said ignores your customer and instead presents what you want to say. That’s a bad idea. Here’s what is likely to happen.

You run the risk of making a customer more defensive if you push back. You will lose the sale when a customer digs in to protect his position.

Avoid “How are you?”

Do you really care how someone you don’t know is feeling? I would imagine you don’t really care. So why do so many salespeople start their telephone calls to new prospects with, “Hi. This is John with XYC Company. How are you today?”

Those are words I avoid. Every second on a new prospect telephone call is precious. Your objective is to get the prospect engaged in the telephone call so he continues to listen and quickly speak. Why waste it on useless words?

Even worse is to create a barrier with the words you use. People are busy today and smart enough to realize that when a stranger asks them how they’re doing the intent is not really to learn about their feelings. It just wastes their time.

That’s what “How are you?” does when you don’t know the person. Today, wasting someone’s time is a big deal. Think about people’s hatred of email SPAM. They hate it because it wastes their time. Choose your words carefully so you don’t waste your prospects’ time.

You will soon understand the power of words if you haven’t started your 2014 income tax filing. The Affordable Care Act has some additional forms for you to complete that will complicate your tax filing. It reminds me of the words that Ronald Reagan said. “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” He knew the power of words.