When Common Phrases Sabotage Sales

by Jacques Werth and Paul Bunn

We live in a cynical world.  Salespeople have helped create that world, by using words and phrases in ways that trigger suspicion, create mistrust and sabotage sales.

Many of these words and phrases are part of traditional and popular sales techniques that are intended to create trust and “build rapport” but actually do the opposite.

You may not even realize that you are using these words and phrases in a way that negatively affects your communication and your business.

Here are four of the most common ones:


Interested is the word that salespeople use when they don’t want to hear “No.”  Interested is the word that prospects use when they don’t want to say “Yes.” There is no commitment associated with interest.

Interested people are gathering information.  Interested people are not ready to buy.  Selling to them when they are merely interested is usually a frustrating waste of your time and energy.  Also, experience shows that it virtually guarantees that when they are ready to buy, they won’t buy from you.

Interested indicates an opportunity for marketing, not sales.

“Honestly” or “To Tell the Truth”

People pay more attention to what you do than what you say.  They have learned that when a salesperson says they are going to be honest, they are likely to do the opposite.

When it comes to honesty, don’t say it.  Be it.

“Just” or “Only”

“I just wanted to let you know…” or “Just fifteen minutes of your time.”  What does the word “just” imply in sales situations?  It communicates that you seem to be trivializing your communication in order to disarm the prospect. You’re minimizing the importance of your products and services, and your own time.  If someone is a real prospect for your product or service, it’s an important priority. 

“Thank You”

While gratitude in a business situation is often warranted, “Thank You” is one of the most over-used and abused phrases spoken by salespeople. 

There is no need to thank prospects for their time and attention.  Repeatedly thanking prospects and customers implies a subservient, begging, position, which will cause a loss of respect for you.

If you say thank you when no real value is received, then you will be seen as being insincere and phony.  That impression will sabotage your credibility, mutual respect and lose business.

In High Probability Selling, we have a list of more than 30 of these words and phrases. We train salespeople to become aware of, and then either eliminate them or radically change how they use them. 

People want to do business with people they can trust and respect.  They will try to avoid doing business with anyone who arouses suspicion.  The words you choose and the way you use them make all the difference.

To learn how to communicate with trust and respect, click here.

High Probability Selling
© 2008.  All rights reserved.

Author: Carl Ingalls

Administrator for High Probability Selling Blog

One thought on “When Common Phrases Sabotage Sales”

  1. “honestly” and “to tell the truth” are the biggest indicators that they are going to do the exact opposite. It’s as if they’re going to betray some secret to you , when really its a ploy to further their own self interest.


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