Sales words and phrases to avoid at all costs! Create a new way to ask for the sale.

Sales words and phrases to avoid at all costs! Create a new way to ask for the sale.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

My friend Mitchell Kearney is the best commercial photographer in this region.

When shooting a subject he never says “smile”. That’s got to be a major obstacle if you’re a photographer. He says it makes him more creative to ask his subject for a smile without ever saying the word. I’ve looked at hundreds of his photos…most are smiling, so it seems his philosophy works. He avoids the trite, insincere word that separates the professional from the amateur.

  • How do you ask your customers to smile and buy today?
  • Are you using words that offend the prospect?
  • Are you using words that create confidence or ruin it?
  • Are you projecting “I’m only here for the order?”

If you want the sale, you often must use superior word crafting to avoid sounding like an insincere salesperson. And if you sound like one, you probably are.

Words and phrases to avoid:

Frankly a word that sounds insincere. All sales courses recommend dropping this word from your vocabulary.

Quite frankly a double dose of the dreaded frankly. It makes me very suspect of the person who says it.

Honestly a word that is almost always followed with a lie.

And I mean that… No you don’t. This is probably as insincere a phrase as has been turned in the English language.

Are you prepared to order today?… Give me a break. This is an offensive, stupid, turnoff, phrase. There are one hundred better ways to ask a prospect what his feelings are, or when he wants to order.

How are you doing today?… When you hear this on the phone, you immediately think “What are you selling, jerk?”

Can I help you with something?… The universal anthem of all retail sales clerks. You’d think after 100 years of retail, they might have something more creative and customer service oriented to say.

Philosophies to avoid

Downing the competition… Don’t ever. It’s not just a no-win situation, it’s an absolutely lose situation. My mother always told me that if you have nothing nice to say about someone, say nothing. If you down the competition to a prospect, you may be speaking to their relative or spouse, and it makes you look bad.

Preaching ethics… Don’t ever say how ethical you are. Let your ethics shine through. The jails are full of televangelists and business people who preached ethics. If feel you have to prove yourself, use an example of how you performed or responded. Tell the prospect you want a long term relationship, not just a one shot order; but don’t ever say the word ethics. When I hear it from someone in a selling situation, I avoid that person at all costs.

My experience has shown me that if you have to say it, you probably aren’t. Think about that for a moment. I’m honest, I’m ethical, even I’m the boss, or I’m in charge, usually indicates just the opposite.

The challenge is for you to rededicate yourself to helping or satisfying the needs of the customer or prospect. Your words and actions are often the difference between getting a yes or no.

How do you do it? You have to work at it. Practice. But have faith, the results are certain to make you smile.

The key to being a professional salesperson is not to sound like one!
Say it a different way.


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