Inside Sales Power Tip 133 – Kill Crutch Words

sell more with fewer crutch wordsWe all have words that have become our "go-to" words and phrases in conversation. When you talk and write for a living, which is what sellers do, it's important to a) know what you are dealing with and b) work to make your language more impactful.

Saying more with less has never been more in style. I was at a conference last week for inside sales professionals and more than a few people recommended Three Sentences - the idea of sending just three sentences (or less) in all your email correspondence.

It isn't just how much you say, though. It is all about what you say. Yes, keep it short, but if it isn't powerful and does not add any type of value for your potential buyer, it is a waste of their time.

Bottom line: Sellers, young and old - you've GOT to get BETTER at your sales messaging.

A very simple way you can improve your verbal sales messaging is to stop with repetitious crutch words. Crutch words are the words that you add at time when there are pauses or you are thinking on the fly. If you don't have any of these (which I doubt), you certainly work with or around someone who does.

Many common crutch words, in no particular order are:

  • actually
  • personally
  • honestly / to be honest (ok, this is the worst pair for anyone in a sales career.... if you say either, stop it!)
  • um (or uh)
  • right? (a newer crutch word - we hear it everywhere)
  • basically
  • literally

You can comment below with your favorite crutch word or phrase that I have not listed - at the end of the post are some helpful posts I found with other words as well. My purpose here is not to identify them all, but to HELP you remove them.

Many crutch words are filler words that if you don't say them, you won't need to say anything in their place.

Saying UM or UH throughout your talk is tough to break. You need to work to prepare better and have more answers ready. In the case of your role as a remote professional seller, have bullet points for what you say when you hold conversations - and "sub bullet points" for what you say to cover an objection.

How to Remove Crutch Words and Add Impact to Calls

Join Toastmasters - it is one if the best organizations in the world - and it is worldwide - teaching communication skills and leadership. It is inexpensive, and has so many different meetings in most any part of North America with varied times to meet. When you give a talk at Toastmasters, there is an "UM counter" - someone who tracks how many UMs and UHs you say. Just by being more aware of them, you will reduce them.

If you are not able to join a Toastmasters club, ask someone around you to let you know when you are using a crutch word or phrase.

Call yourself and leave a voice mail. Do this every day or at least a few times a week when at a new sales position. It will help you improve your sales messaging immensely and reduce crutch words.

Slow down a bit - you add filler words when you are thinking of the next thing to say. Learn to be aware of this, and use the pause for just that - a pause - collect your thoughts - and then move forward.

Are Crutch Words Contagious?

Have you noticed that when one strong personality has a crutch word that others around them pick it up? I worked with a company where the CEO would pepper his stories with, "RIGHT?" and soon two of the sales guys were doing it too. One left the company and he now recognizes the crutch word - and stopped using it.

Why am I concerned about you using crutch words? Well, uh, because, um, when you struggle to, uh, get your thoughts out, it, um, makes it very hard for buyers to, uh, well, "get" what you're saying.

Improve your sales messaging and you will SELL MORE.

Other posts about crutch words you might enjoy from around the web:

How to Avoid Common Crutch Words

Top 10 Crutch Words

Actually, Literally, What Your Crutch Word Says About You

Lori Richardson - Score More SalesLori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2013" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute" newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.

Topics: B2B

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