Ever since we were young, we have been taught to watch our language. “Mind your p’s and q’s, and if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” A sales person knocked on my door the other day. The experience served as a reminder that professional sales people must also watch their language, their sales language that is.

Every time I asked a question, he responded with “don’t worry about it”. The whole experience reminded me that everything we say to a customer can affect their perception of us, and not always in a positive way.
Our statements can often prevent a sale from moving forward. Comments like “don’t worry about it” essentially tell the customer that you have dismissed his concerns as not being important. Until the customer feels confident you understand his needs, he simply will not buy.

Most times, sales people don’t realize their sales language is negative. For example, one sales representative used to say “understand me?” after he made a benefit statement. Another would say “you know what I mean?” or the dreaded “you follow me?” These sales people believe they are inviting questions from the prospect however, the customer is thinking “of course I know what you mean. I am not stupid!” The customer feels belittled and is therefore not comfortable asking questions. He doesn’t receive the information he needs to buy, and the sales person doesn’t make the sale!

A better way to invite feedback from your prospect is to say “do you have any comments, questions, or is there anything I have not explained clearly?” This tells the customer it is OK if he has questions because it was your fault for not explaining yourself clearly in the first place. This will result in more questions being asked and the sale will move forward more quickly.

If the customer states an objection, don’t start your response with “but, Mr. Customer…” Doing so only makes you appear argumentative. You have basically told the customer what he is saying is wrong. “I understand what you are saying Mr. Customer, however, have you considered…” will work much better.

If you don’t have anything nice to say about your competition, then don’t talk about them at all. Promoting how working with you will benefit the customer is much more effective than putting down your competition.

Improving your sales language will allow a more open and productive conversation with your customers. It will also make you a more effective sales professional in the process. So avoid using sayings like “trust me” as they will only make your customers mistrust you more!

Aim Higher!

Susan A. Enns,

B2B Sales Connections


Author's Bio: 

Susan A. Enns is managing partner of B2B Sales Connections, the specialized job board, free resume listing service, and sales training website for business to business sales professionals. She has a proven track record of success, with over 22 years of direct sales, management and executive level business to business experience. Her accomplishments include being the top sales rep in Canada, managing the top sales branch, and achieving outstanding sales growth in a national channel sales organization. She has written the downloadable e-courses “Action Plan For Sales Success” and “Action Plan For Sales Management Success”, created numerous automated sales tools, and she writes and edits the company’s newsletter, AIM HIGHER.

Participating on the Leadership Executive of the Sales Professionals of Ottawa since 2008, she is currently the association's Vice President. For more information, please visit www.b2bsalesconnections.com