You never get a second chance to make a first impression!  Now that we have identified ways to differentiate ourselves through the sales experience: don’t damage your credibility from the start.  Rarely can you win back a customer after a poor experience you create.  There is a natural tension in the sales process – but adversity is something we can control with critical thinking and executive presence.

Lets discuss words that we should avoid.  There are words that can add to resistance, tension and adversity.  The good news is that there are words we can substitute in place:

  1. Honestly – It could imply that everything you have said up to this point has not been truthful.
  2. Contract – Contracts seem very final and can create anxiety; instead say something like “agreements.”
  3. Buy – Instead of “buy”, try “own”.
  4. Problem – When you hear this word, the immediate reaction is negative, use “challenge” instead.
  5. Prospects – Call your leads “future clients” instead.
  6. Hope – It shows that you’re not sure, so why would they be? Be 100% behind what you’re selling.
  7. Obviously – Some people may take this as a condescending word, as in they’re not smart enough to understand.
  8. Quota – It implies you’re just trying to close the deal to hit your numbers and not actually caring.
  9. Cheap – You need to position what you’re selling as valuable (even if you think it’s cheap) or you’ll never close the deal.
  10. Cost – This could make them feel like there are other options, use “total investment” instead.
  11. Guarantee – A guarantee doesn’t really mean anything, instead use the stronger word, “warrantee”.
  12. Discount – This can devalue your entire deal, refrain from using this whenever possible.
  13. Cheaper – Great, now someone can find what you’re selling at a lower rate? Not what you want.
  14. Competitor – Don’t bring up your competitors, position your product / service in a way that shows your buyer it meets their needs and will exceed their expectations.
  15. Price – “Price” may make them think they can shop around, again here use “investment” instead.
  16. Forbidden – What a terribly negative word. This goes without saying, just don’t use it.
  17. Objections – Use “areas of concern” instead.
  18. Sign / Signature – Rather than asking them to “sign” a document, ask for their approval instead.
  19. Commission – Everyone knows salespeople are working for themselves, but don’t make it blatantly obvious that you’re going to make money off the sale.
  20. Pitch – A pitch is too ‘trying to make a sale’ focused, instead refer to it as your presentation.
  21. Customers – Instead call them “clients” or “people we serve”.
  22. Advice -Not everyone is looking for advice. Instead, say that you’ve “had a similar experience in the past”.
  23. Deal: there are certain words that are ‘ok’ to say amongst our sales team, but not ok in front of a customer. The word ‘deal’ reminds me of something cheap and of low value.  A word I used in front of a customer or if I was training someone on sales is opportunity, partnership or proposal.

Amy Lemire, DTM



Amy Lemire
Amy Lemire

Amy is a Sales Strategist, Trainer, and Keynote Speaker for over 25 years. Amy has been recognized as a top Fortune 50 sales performer, speaker, facilitator, and international sales trainer. Amy is a Peak Performance Habit Coach certified through the Og Mandino Leadership Group.

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