Change these 8 words and improve your sales

Written by: James White

Do you want to become more successful in sales? If you do, stop using these 8 words that are harming your opportunities and the chance to win more business.

STOP USING COST

USE INVESTMENT

When prospects see or hear the word cost they think it’s something that they would rather not do. They question the value of the cost and what return it will give them.

The best way to overcome this is to use the word investment instead.

You might be wondering why, but investment is something that people see a potential return on. If a prospect invests in your service, they are feeling confident about your service and can show other people the investment they have made, rather than just seeing it as another cost.

Start using the word investment rather than cost and it’s going to get your prospects thinking in a different way and it will help your prospect engagements and get better results.

Investments are something people want to spend money on.

STOP USING WHY

USE WHAT

The next word will end up costing you business. This word is WHY.

Don’t say, “Why are you going through this challenge at the moment” or “Why are you in this position?”. Here’s why…

Chris Voss who wrote a brilliant book called never split the difference indicated that he was an FBI negotiator and he would never use the word why until he had identified key points in the conversation. He says using the word “why” is an accusatory word and it puts people on the back foot and they can feel attacked. People don’t respond well to that word.

The word I suggest using instead is change why to WHAT. “What brought you here today?” or “What are the key challenges you are facing?”

Using what rather than why will get you a different type of response from your prospect and it’s less accusatory. It’s going to give them the chance to open up and share some other thoughts that (if you use your sales skills in the right way) you can follow up and engage with them and start to find out some intriguing aspects about that prospect that you can then use to help you win the business.

STOP USING DISCOUNT

USE EXTRA

When you’re trying to get a deal done and you think the prospect’s really keen to work with you, there’s that final hurdle to get them over the line. Most prospects will try and push their look and see if they can get the price down lower and we often get asked if we can do it cheaper or for a lower price.

Salespeople tend to then use the word DISCOUNT and you should avoid using that word as it means your undervaluing the services that you are offering. You are saying it’s not worth the amount you originally said it was. The word discount then gives prospects the feeling that you were over charging them in the first place.

I highly recommend avoid using the word discount. I have created lots of video’s and have a guide on handling price objections when in a situation like this. Go check them out here:

The word I would use in this situation is EXTRA. I would say to a prospect, “I’m not in a position to give a discount, but what I can do is offer some additional extra services that can give you additional support to achieve your goals”.

This gives you the chance to not discount on your existing price and lower the value, but it will give them something in which they then walk away thinking they have had a good deal on.

The key thing the prospect is looking for is to get something, so don’t jump to taking money off your service and discounting it, think about what else you could offer them as an extra on top.

DON'T USE CHEAP

USE AFFORDABLE

I have had people say to me “I have really cheap services at a low cost.” What feeling does this leave you with?

For me, them saying that makes me think that their services are really cheap and won’t tend to work for a long period of time.

A different word I would use instead of cheap is use AFFORDABLE.

What this does is it starts to put a different context on the offering that you have. Yes, it might be the lower priced option of what you offer but calling it cheap devalues it and makes people think it’s worthless. They’re more likely to push you down further for more discounts because they don’t see any value in it.

The tribe of customers that you want are the ones who you can offer an affordable option to start with and then you can progress to a different option, and they start to build trust in your business. Use the word affordable to get them started and this will help to bring more business in.

DON'T USE OKAY

USE FAIR

When we get to the part in the sales process where we’re hopefully looking to start to move things forward, we sometimes use a phrase of a word that absolutely does not resonate with the prospect, and doesn’t help our relationship building – OKAY.

  • Is the proposal okay?
  • Are you okay?
  • Is everything I have sent you okay?

The thing about being okay is it just doesn’t make the prospect feel very good, and it doesn’t give you any certainty on what’s going on. People will say to me “I’ve sent proposals to prospects and I have asked them if that is okay?” When you use the word okay, you’ll generally get a simple “yes it’s okay” back which might mean the other side are not totally happen and that could cause you problems further down the line.

The better word to use here is FAIR. I will say to someone “Does that sound fair?” What that does is it makes the other side own part pf the process. It tells them and tells you that they think it’s fair or that they agree with you and want to move forward. Most people want to operate in a fair and standard way, so use the word fair rather than okay and you’re going to start to see people start to engage and if they think it’s not fair they will tell you. Doing this and you will get more people tuning into what you’re doing and ready to move forward.

DON'T USE OBJECTION

USE CONCERN

The chances are in sales you’re never going to get many deals that go smoothly the whole way through without a couple of roadblocks or what we call objections along the way.

Objections happen and are a natural part of sales, we have to learn to deal with them in a more effective manner. I really encourage you though to not use the word OBJECTION with your prospects. It looks like they’re being difficult or they’re objecting to things and being a pain. If you turn round and say to them “I know you have an objection with the price.” It’s probably going to make them think well hold on a second that’s not how I feel but actually you now make me feel worse about the situation.

The word I suggest using is CONCERN. If you use the word concern in this way: “I feel like you’re a bit concerned about the ‘implications of this?” what you’re trying to show is through your language and way you operate is that you understand that they’ve got a few barriers in their head. Focus on using the word concern and it is a far better approach than the word objection.

DON'T USE FORWARD

USE STARTED

When we get to the final end of the process and we really want to move forward and get deals done, there are a few words you can use, and none are overly bad, but there are a few words I prefer to use.

I hear many people use the phrase LET’S MOVE FORWARD. It’s not a bad phrase but I prefer to use the word STARTED. When something starts, it’s the start of a journey and a new opportunity. Moving forward is good, but getting started has more energy behind it and what can be achieved.

If you have done the sales process in the right way and indicated some problems and challenges they’re facing and then yes, they do want to move forward but they want to get started to solve the challenges and start to build the path to be in a new place.

If you use started instead you will see a difference in the reaction and response especially if you use it in the right way with the prospect and it’s going to get you started on making some amazing sales numbers.

DON'T SAY 'TRUST ME'

SAY 'I AM CONFIDENT'

This is a phrase I personally am trying to remove from my sales vocabulary and change it with a different phrase. Often people will say TRUST ME, and whilst I do a lot of work to build trust, when you use the phrase trust me, it creates doubt and possibly leads them down a thought process which can cause your deal challenges.

Instead of trust me use this, I AM CONFIDENT. “I am confident we can solve your problems”. I’m trying to use this more because I know it’s just got a different feeling about it. I also don’t want to encourage people to think about the issue of trust when really it’s about confidence to achieve solutions. Also, when I talk to my clients I’m confident I can do work for them, but if they don’t take actions they need to, then they won’t see the results. By doing this you will then build confidence in the mind of the other person, you can do what you say you will do and get the results you want in place.

There you go they are the words to stop using when it comes to sales. I would love to know what you think. Have you got different words that you have found work or don’t work for you?

I believe if you stop using these words in sales you’re going to get better results, give them a try and let me know how you get on.

Want more sales tips?

Check out our complete sales guide, full of tips you can implement straight away.

Publish date: 22 June 2022

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