Six Words that Sabotage Sales – March 28, 2014


One of the quickest ways to turn off your sales prospects is to use poison words. Poison words are words or phrases that trigger suspicion, mistrust and loss of respect. Ironically, several of these words are commonly used to build rapport with the customer. Promotional Consultant Today shares the vernacular you should avoid in sales.

1. Interested. This is used when salespeople don’t want to hear “No” or when prospects don’t want to say “Yes.” There is no commitment in interest. High-probability prospects are not merely interested. They need, want and can afford to buy what you’re selling now.

2. Help. Teachers and social workers are in “helping” professions; salespeople are not. We provide products and services in order to generate revenues and/or commissions. Prospects know this. When you claim to be there merely to “help” the prospect, you instill doubt and suspicion.

3. “Honestly” or “To Tell the Truth.” What happens when you say, “To be honest with you …?” You provoke this thought with the customer: “Oh, so now you are going to be honest … was the rest all lies and distortions?” Trust and respect are fundamental to the relationship. Being consistently forthcoming is crucial to successful selling.

4. Just. “I just wanted to let you know …” or “Just 15 minutes of your time …” What does the word “just” imply in sales situations? You’re minimizing the importance of your products and services, and your own time. Don’t trivialize yourself or your prospects’ needs.

5. Thank You. While gratitude in a business situation is occasionally warranted, “thank you” is one of the phrases most over-used, abused and rendered meaningless by salespeople. There is no need to thank prospects for their time and attention. If people are high-probability prospects, they want to do business.

6. Great! The prospect says he wants you to visit him to discuss one of your products or services, and you say, “Great!” The prospect is bound to wonder, “Is it ‘great’ because you rarely get those types of reactions?” If you are a professional salesperson, doing your job is not “great!“ it is part of the sales process.

People want to do business with people they can trust and respect. Choose your words carefully to show your knowledge and expertise.

Source: Jacques Werth is the president and founder of High Probability® Selling. He discovered his passion for selling early in life, and has enjoyed success in his chosen profession for more than 40 years. High Probability Selling is based on the deceptively simple concept that people buy from people they trust and respect.

2 Responses to Six Words that Sabotage Sales – March 28, 2014

  1. Gregg Emmer, Kaeser & Blair says:

    Fine advice if you are selling rock salt or light bulbs! What about the past 40 years in this industry of developing consultative relationships that foster ongoing business with clients? Are we simply pushing commodities – selling by the pound? This is one more focus on Promotional Products rather than Promotional Advertising and Marketing. In 2013 I conducted several seminars in the industry titled “Stop Selling and Help the Buyer Buy”. The training was well received. Selling is adversarial by its nature. Helping a buyer buy efficiently, effectively and successfully is not and will guarantees long profitable relationships.

  2. Gary Brey says:


    I totally agree with your view. I feel I am in the business of helping people and solving their ‘problems’ quickly, profitably and efficiently. Helping is what I do.

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