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6 Words to Avoid When Making a Pitch

with Phil Jones



with guest Phil Jones #Making Bank S4E28



“Change Your Words, Change Your World”

-Phil M Jones

Getting your words right is a key part of everyday life. The way you speak is one of the main determinants in how you are perceived and respected by your peers, and choosing the right ones can be a make or break factor in many elements of your career. Choosing the right words is never more important than when you are engaging with a potential new client.

Everyone knows the experience of coming across a slimy salesperson, and if you give off that vibe to potential clients in this day and age you have next to no chance of making a sale. In an age where consumers have product reviews and all of your competitor’s information at their fingertips, you can’t afford to unnecessarily push away a customer with careless mistakes. If you make promises you can’t live up to or use the same worn out cliches you hear on used car lots, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

In order to help you avoid some of the common pitfalls of being in sales, we’ve compiled a list of 6 words and phrases never to say when pitching to a new client.

  1. Guarantee

The problem with this word? We guarantee your customer has heard it before a million times, enough to know that it holds no actual weight. It’s not a warranty, which actually holds a company responsible for replacing an item if it breaks under certain conditions, it’s just a meaningless word that companies use to try to trump up their products.

What to say instead: the best alternative here is to offer an actual warranty, but short of that, your first resort should be letting your customers speak for you. Showing positive feedback from past customers is more valuable than anything you can say about yourself.

2. Best

We certainly hope that you believe your product is the best there is on the market, and we certainly hope that you believe you’re the best person to deliver that product, but nothing screams desperate more than throwing this word at your audience. You either are, or you’re not, and if you are, you don’t have to say it.

“A rich man doesn’t need to tell you he’s rich.”

What to say instead: quote your numbers. Prove to the customer that you’re the best without actually saying it. If you can’t… then definitely don’t say it.

3. Trust Me

Just like with ‘best,’ saying ‘trust me’ out loud isn’t something you need to do if your client can tell you’re trustworthy. Saying it is a self defeating cause that can actually make people think you shouldn’t be trusted. If you have to say it, you’ve already lost.



4. Fair

Although it may seem obvious, this word can sneak it’s way out of your mouth in certain scenarios that seem harmless. Specifically, if you are negotiating terms, you should never suggest settling ‘in the middle’ on something ‘fair.’

The price you’re offering and the deal you’re reaching should never be ‘fair.’ Everyone wants to feel like they’re getting a great deal, so if you’re offering something that’s ‘fair,’ the customer is going to feel like they’re getting ripped off.

Stick to highlighting the value and talking about how great the deal is, and the customer is much more likely to be satisfied with the final product.

5. “I just wanted to follow up”

This is a tricky one. It’s not as obvious that this phrase can kill you, but think back to the times you have heard this in the past. They’re all sort’ve cringeworthy, aren’t they?

This is a classic line that people making the rounds on their daily calls say instead of starting each conversation with something organic. It’s a canned line that gets used over and over again, and for that reason alone you should take it out of your lexicon.

It puts the person on the receiving end on alert that they should have their guard up for whatever is coming next, and reminds them that there was a previous conversation that they didn’t feel the need to follow up on themselves. It’s impersonal and can alienate you before the conversation even starts.

What to say instead: call your customer by their first name, and reference your notes to mention something personal about them or their business. Make them feel that they have your unique attention and that you are a member of their team, and actively think about yourself that way too.

6. Contract

There’s a reason why all the wireless providers are tripping all over themselves to tell you they don’t require a contract! This word comes up again and again with every study done on what not to say during a sales pitch.

Throwing this icky word into conversation is sales buzz kill. It gets the prospect thinking about numbers and paperwork and all of that ball & chain known as commitment. Signing a contract of any kind always brings up last minute resistance and hesitation, so avoid speaking those feelings into existence when you don’t have to.

What to say instead: try using the word ‘agreement’ or ‘arrangement’ in order to sound a bit less formal and still get the point across. These words both feel much more two sided and can leave a positive taste in the prospect’s mouth, rather than images of being shackled to you with chains for the next 2 years.

As anyone in sales can tell you, when you’re trying to find new clients, expect to fail. Expect rejection after rejection, short momentary success, and then right back to rejection. But knowing why those rejections happen can help us reduce their frequency, and changing the words you’re using is a simple trick that can go a long way.

Interested in learning more? Pick up a copy of Phil’s Exactly How To Sell and Exactly What To Say and learn from the world’s leading sales strategist!