It seems like no matter how often sales managers say it, or how often sales people hear it, there are some phrases they will just NOT stop using. I am going to break my usual professional tone and share some insight as to what I (and your clients) hear when you use these lame highly over used lines.
1. I was just in the area and thought I’d drop by. Are you serious! The professional I am trusting to help me with X issue has nothing better in the world to do right now than just “drop by” to see me? If you are not doing business with me already I am probably thinking who is this guy? Why is he here and how do I get rid of him as quickly and politely as possible. Unless we really are buddies, don’t just drop by unless you are only expecting to leave something I am expecting with my secretary. Trust me; she already knows to tell you I am in a meeting, and that if I am interested I will call back. If I really am expecting something from you she knows that too. Don’t try to fool her. She hates that!
2. Have you got a minute? No I don’t! I am busy, and I have 100 other things I could be doing. In my opinion I think you are better off trying to engage me than to give me the easy out and slit your own throat. If I am too busy to talk believe me I WILL let you know.
3. I’ll try. I really hate this one. I only want to know what you will or can do not what you will TRY to do. If you are not confident enough to say you can do it, do not mention it to me. I would much rather hear, give me 24 hours to do some research on that and I’ll get back to you than I’ll try.
4. I’m really not sure. Again, your default answer should be “give me x hours or days to do some research and I’ll get back to you. This answer tells me you do not know the answer, but you are taking my concern or issue seriously and want to help. I am really not sure is not the answer of the confident professional.
5. Its not my fault. Like it or not you are most likely my only contact in the company; everything that goes wrong is your fault. If it isn’t it is still your issue to fix. The best way to deal with this is to apologize, and take the most serious and immediate corrective action as soon as possible. More importantly let me know what it is you are doing to fix it, and how you will prevent future issues of this nature.
6. What would I have to do to get you started today?Ever seen the movie Tin Men? Unless you want to sound like those guys avoid this phrase at all costs. This phrase screams “I am a slimy salesman!” and any rapport you have built with this client is eroding quickly from this point forward. Instead use something softer like this. You: Are there any other issues or concerns we have not covered sufficiently? Client: No everything looks good. You: Great! Then the next step is to…
7. We are the lowest price in town.You very well may be, but is this really how you want to try to compete. It typically does not take much effort to come up with a better value proposition than that. Moreover, if I DO find a lower price, you are a liar now, and any trust you built is gone. My dad once told me when picking a service you had three choices; good, fast, or cheap. Pick any two, but recognize you will always sacrifice the third. Your job is to help your clients to understand this. Click here for more on why selling on price is not a good idea.
8. Always and NeverAlways and never are just plain bad. There is going to be an exception to every rule. My general rule is to avoid absolute statements wherever possible. Use these sparingly if ever.
9. What you need is…Unless you are my Dad or a trusted friend, I think this phrase should be avoided. I don’t even use it during a proposal. If I call you with a problem, and we have been doing business for years, and you are intimately familiar with my issues it may be ok, otherwise, present me with options and let me pick. I am the ultimate decision maker as to what it is I need.
10. Trust me. If you feel the need to tell me this, I am starting to wonder why and will usually assume I shouldn’t. Trust is like love. It’s built over time and the only way to gain it is to earn it. I hope this list is useful to you. I know everyone has a list of things they hate to hear in a selling situation. I would love to see you share some of those thoughts by leaving comments below.