The Seven Words You Should Never Say (or Do) While Selling
“It’s never just a game when you’re winning.”
George Carlin (1937 – 2008)
Comedian and Actor
When you’re in sales, you’re constantly challenged to grow your business. Often, these sales challenges fall into categories such as; priorities, time management, financial resources, or skill set. In one way or another, these challenges may prevent you from reaching your sales goals.
As a sales professional, your unique insight and perspective allow you to view these challenges as an opportunity, and not as a negative. However, at some point you might have some difficult decisions to make, and when it comes to business, it’s not easy to do.
At times like this, you may get “analysis paralysis” regarding your choices. When the challenge goes unresolved, you feel stressed about it, and may inadvertently pass it along to your customers. If your customers feel stressed, they won’t buy from you.
George Carlin was famous for many things. To me, his ability and skill using words to sell ideas was extraordinary. In 1978 his famous routine “Seven Words” caused major trouble and was the center of debate over censorship on radio and television. Thirty years later, it got me thinking.
What are The Seven Words You Should Never Say (or Do) While Selling?
With all the challenges you face while selling, sometimes it’s easy to forget what not to do. Here are the top seven that I hear most from sales professionals in the field:
- Stop Servicing your customers – Don’t think the sales process stops when you get a purchase order. Many customers count on your service as much as your product. It’s the happy customer that will re-order, and refer others to you. Routinely review your customer service methods and see the difference it makes.
- Procrastinate – How many times have you made a promise to yourself to finish (fill in the blank)? If it’s more than 3 times a day, then it’s probably time to do something about it. We all get busy and put things off, but when it starts affecting your bottom line, you want to move quickly. Find out what type of things you are putting off, and get the help you need.
- Forget to keep your word. If you are making promises to others and routinely forgetting to keep your word, what does that do to your credibility? Trust and credibility go hand-in-hand in building customer loyalty. Be different and mean what you say, and your customers will reward you.
- Can’t – Telling your customers what you do can’t do for them is not what they want hear. Instead, let them know all of things you CAN do. It’s all too easy to focus on the negative rather than the positive. If you have to communicate less than positive information, turn it around and start with what you can do first. That way they will be focused on what you can do for them instead of what you can’t. The first words out of your mouth can be positive!
- Condescending – Establishing good working relationships take time and effort. Nothing can sink you faster than your attitude, especially if you come across as “a know-it-all” or look down at others. The truth is, many people judge us on the way we behave towards other people. If you come across in a way that shows you’re considerate and treat all equally well, you will separate yourself from the “stereotypical salesperson”.
- Miscommunicate – How would you feel if you worked on a big deal for months, only to lose it because of a seemingly small misunderstanding? Think it couldn’t happen to you? Remember, it is not important what we say, only what our customers hear. If you’re not closing business like you should, or have in the past, this would be a good time to get make sure your message is coming across loud and clear.
- Talking too much. Have you ever heard a customer complain their salesperson doesn’t talk enough? I know I haven’t. I’m constantly amazed how many salespeople don’t realize they monopolize conversations with customers. I know it is hard when you are enthusiastic about your products, but if you don’t take the time to let customers answer your questions, how will you know what to sell them? Someone much wiser than I once said, we have one mouth and two ears, and they should be used that way.
These are my seven words you should never say (or do) while selling, but, are no means a definitive list. The secret is to discover what’s on your list, and then figure out how to address them, and in what order.
Remember, you don’t have to go it alone. Getting help and learning what others have done in similar circumstances will assist you in gaining the confidence you need to develop successful sales solutions that work for you.