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5 Bad Sales Phrases That Will Kill Your Pitch

A while ago, I shared with you a couple of sales phrases that help strengthen any pitch.

I also showed you how the language you use affects the way prospects perceive you and your offer.

But in this week's post, I want to talk about the opposite.

I'll show you words that you may be commonly using in sales presentations that leave prospects cold and kill your pitch.

And that's without you even knowing it!

Intrigued? Then let's get right to it.

BONUS: Finding yourself using some of those bad sales phrases over and over? Check out this list of replacements to use when presenting to prospects. Grab it now >>

Bad Sales Phrase #1: "I've sold them…"

I'm sure you'll agree with me on this:

Nothing works better in sales than offering a solid proof.

Showing prospects that you've successfully implemented your solution for another company provides the reassurance many people need before making a buying decision.

It's just that… blatantly stating that you've sold it to another company often has the opposite effect.

For one, that statement that you've sold something to someone could generate a fearful or negative image in the prospect's mind.

That's because, for many people, the word "sold" or "sell" could relate to a painful buying experience. And it's often the one in which they were persuaded to buy something that they didn't need (or the purchase didn't work out for them in the end).

As a result, clients immediately turn their defense mechanisms to prevent a similar situation from happening.

But could a single word cause such a negative response? As it turns out, yes.

According to Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, the authors of an incredible book - Words Can Change Your Brain:

"A single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress."

And in another article, they add:

"In fact, just seeing a list of negative words for a few seconds will make a highly anxious or depressed person feel worse, and the more you ruminate on them, the more you can actually damage key structures that regulate your memory, feelings, and emotions."

In other words, when presenting, you need to choose your words wisely. And avoid phrases your prospects might connote with negative experiences.

And telling them that you've sold something to someone before is certainly one of them.

Bad Sales Phrase #2: "I want/I need."

If you've been selling for quite some time, then I'm sure you already know this:

Selling isn't about you.

If you want your pitch to stick, then under no circumstances should you talk about yourself or your company. You should be addressing your prospects needs instead.

And I'm sure you strictly follow this rule, right?

Then again, I'm also confident that you unintentionally put the focus on yourself anyway.

How, by using phrases like "I want," "I need," or "I'd like to." For example:

  • "I'd like to show the new update when it's live. Could we schedule a follow-up chat, then?"
  • "We have a new update coming out soon, and I'd love to show it to you. Do you mind if I get in touch then?"

The problem? Prospects don't care about what you want. In fact, in my opinion, presenting the issue from your perspective only irritates them, particularly if you've been focusing on them for the entire pitch so far.

Bad Sales Phrase #3: "Does that make sense?"

Let's be clear about something here:

Nobody, and I really mean n-o-b-o-d-y wants to feel inexperienced or slow to understand something. And that's not just during the sales pitch.

Even though your prospects might not fully follow what you're saying, they don't want you to patronize them and point that out.

What they want you to do is treat them on an equal level, and assume they can easily follow everything you've been presenting.

However, asking them questions like "does that make sense?" indicates that you might suspect they don't follow.

Note: another variation of this sales phrase is labeling a concept you've presented as "simple" or "really easy." Anyone who hasn't fully grasped what you've just explained, and hears that it's "really simple" will immediately question their abilities.

And, as I'm sure you'll agree, it isn't the best state of mind to talk sales.

Bad Sales Phrase #4: "We can save you money."

I love this quote from Bushra Azhar:

"When it comes to money, finding a dollar is wayyyyy more attractive than the prospect of NOT losing a dollar. "

And yet, most of the time, when selling, we try to position our offer as a money-saver, right?

We say things like:

  • "By implementing our product, your company can reduce the IT expense by X."
  • "Using our product will save you X per month."

Now, I admit, both sound like great benefits. After all, they clearly say that you're going to spend less, right.

However, as Bushra points, rephrasing them to sound as if a person HAD more money, rather than didn't lose them will make the pitch that more engaging.

Bad Sales Phrase #5: "To be honest..."

I admit I'm guilty of using this phrase a lot.

And to be honest, I typically say it in the hope of getting the other person to pay attention more closely to my words.

But it backfires. Every. Single. Time.

(Just like reading the statement above might got you thinking that anything I wrote in this post up to this point was bullsh*t. See what I did there?)

Using phrases like "to be perfectly honest with you…," "OK, but being honest…," "In truth…," etc. might seem innocent enough. They practically sound like a gentle interruption you throw in to catch a person's attention.

But to a listener, they may raise an alarm that you may have been lying up to this point.


Erika Desmond
Erika Desmond

I bring 7 years of graphic design experience with 2 years of marketing experience from on the job training and experience. I've helped build Cirrus Insight into the company it is today from my start as a graphic design intern while earning my degree at Maryville College. Growing alongside Cirrus as a company has been an especially rewarding experience.

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