5 Phrases You SHOULDN’T Use With Your Prospects

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Close Up Isolated ShotHow do you build up trustworthiness before meeting with a client or prospect?

Of course, you can write blogs and articles on LinkedIn, send personalised emails and refer back to previous visits.

This builds credibility with prospects and gives them a reason to trust you.

But this trust isn’t always earned, even when you are building the relationship.

We often find that salespeople use phrases or words that can easily turn a prospect off.

You want to steer clear of these because they can sour any rapport and relationship you may have built up.

Remember, buyers don’t take salespeople wasting their time lightly, so be aware of what phrases that may turn them off.

I’ve listed five of my favourites below.

Can You Tell Me More About Your Business?

This tells the prospect that you haven’t done any research, and that they will have to start from scratch in their relationship with you.

It shows lack of consideration for their time and offers no value in what you are hoping to achieve.

Instead, start with something like:

“My research has shown that…..”

“Having looked at your latest sales figures, I notice that…”

“I noticed from your last blog that….”

It shows you’re interested in specifics to do with their business and allows the conversation to flow from a deeper level.

Are You The Decision-Maker?

Oh boy, this opens a can of worms!

Firstly, you should have your facts sorted before you meet with the client, and secondly this may take you in the wrong direction as the call progresses.

Even if the person you are meeting with has little decision-making power, this question smacks of judgement, and they may exaggerate their power level simply to look good.

Instead, a question like “How are decisions made when dealing with these issues?” de-personalises the situation and will give you more information, without making the prospect feel they need to kid you along.

I’m New To The Area/Sales/Your Business/This Product, So Bear With Me

This acts as an excuse for failure, and the prospect will feel they have to accept your inadequacies.

This takes up their valuable time and creates tension because the prospect feels it could be an excuse for poor judgement.

Instead, if you are a newbie, don’t use it as an excuse.

If they ask questions you don’t know the answers to because of inexperience, you can say you will find out and get back to them.

Have You Heard Of Us?

What’s the point of this question?

If they say yes, all it means is they are aware of you.

It doesn’t mean they know your products or your value to their business.

Also, they could say, “Yes, we’ve been using you for years!”  In which case, you look like a buffoon!

If they say no, you’re stuck in a hole because you might feel that you need to go into detail about your company and what you do; and that’s something the prospect may not need to know at this point.

This question shows your lack of professionalism and doesn’t help build rapport.

What Will It Take To Get Your Business?

I heard a salesperson say that once, and the prospect said ‘Give us the cheapest price ever and I might consider it!”

It creates a massive gap between you both, as now you’ve got to consider whether you can reach his goal, on price, delivery, quantity discounts, or whatever they say you need to move to get the business.

Stay away from this question.

Instead, build up value in your services so it makes total business sense for the prospect to consider your solution.

That way, you create reasons for them to give you their business, rather than having to manipulate your way in and find you have to move heaven and earth to achieve your goals.

So, stay away from these five dull phrases, replace them with more compelling ones, and see your rapport and relationships with prospects and clients get better every time.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Dollarphotoclub

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 5 May, 2017

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