Sales professionals are wordsmiths. Our ability to masterfully string words together to illustrate, educate, and persuade is one of the critical tools of our trade. That said, I have noticed recently a trend of “crutch words” that sales consultants use to buffer their sentences. They serve no function in conveying their message, and even harm their sales credibility. Here are three words that you must remove from your mental dictionary:
Culprit #1: “Obviously”
It’s strange how frequently this word arises. In one phone conversation with a professional public speaker, the individual used the word around a dozen times. I have also noticed other sales consultants using it more frequently when they are anxious. As sales consultants, we don’t add value to clients by making obvious statements. Shuffling the word into your sentence only makes you sound less credible. If you have something to say, state it as a fact, whether it’s obvious or not!
Culprit #2: “Basically”
I’m embarrassed to admit that I often fluff up my sentences with the word “basically.” In a similar fashion to “obviously,” the word often adds no value to your message. The word can be used properly if explaining a complex concept and then summarising it. For example:
(After explaining a complex idea) “So basically, the product will help you save on costs of manufacturing and downtime.”
Even in this example, I would rather substitute “To summarise” just to play on the safe side!
Culprit #3: “Honestly”
Is there any faster way to crush your own credibility? Try reading these sentence synonyms without cringing – “Trust me when I say this…” “To tell you the truth…” The unintentional product of saying “honestly” is that everything else you said now becomes questionable!
Proper usage of the word might come when you need to reveal a hard truth to your client. If after conducting your expert analysis of their situation you need to reveal a weakness in their current setup, you might say “Honestly, based on what you’re saying, it sounds as though this problem goes far deeper than it appears.” In this situation another possible substitute is “Do you mind if I speak frankly/candidly?”
The use of these words is not a conscious behaviour, but it will require a conscious effort to remove! By being mindful of your dialogue on a daily basis, you can create healthy speech habits, thereby safeguarding your sales credibility. Obviously, you’ll basically improve your chances of closing the sale… Honestly!
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Success Partners provides sales training in Melbourne, Australia. Led by Ben Lai, our vision is to inspire and equip sales consultants and entrepreneurs to sell with integrity. Our core belief is that Integrity + Skills = Success, and achieve this through sales training, sales coaching, and sales process consulting.
Ben Lai, Director, Success Partners Australia, firstname.lastname@example.org