Whenever I spend time with new sales reps or conduct a large onboarding event it seems that there is one area where lots of improvement is possible – the use and understanding of the power of words.
Selling is a noble profession, and to be successful at selling one must be a student of communication. In order to really succeed, you need to speak well, write well, and convey your thoughts in a way that they can move people to action. Stop with the jargon and gibberish. Speak with brevity and clarity.
Think about it – at any time, you can use ANY words in the world to describe, illustrate, and inform your buyers in ways that you can be memorable and understood. Most sellers don’t even think about power word use or filler words or words in general – they just speak. If this is you, you’re missing out on one strategy to improve your odds of gaining consensus and even getting a next meeting. I’ve written about crutch words before – and they never seem to go away.
Here are some words I heard in business conversation recently with some reps that I urge you to think twice (or three times) before using.
HONESTLY – it is just one of the worst words to use in a conversation with anyone about anything but in particular within a buying and selling conversation. Why? As soon as you use “honestly” it makes people curious about the rest of what you said. You are just now being honest? The word honestly adds no value – just simply remove it from your sales vocabulary.
BASICALLY – is a filler word. It means nothing and adds no value in a conversation. Top sellers work to cut out excess words – especially in a world now with Twitter and texting. Instead of saying, “Well, basically, here is how it works….” Just say, “Here is how it works.” Listen to the difference. The second sentence holds more power because it is clear and direct.
OBVIOUSLY – is typically overused and used improperly, so get rid of it or learn to use it sparingly. As a crutch word, it is said too many times to people who don’t typically agree with you if you keep saying “obviously” – many things are NOT obvious. In addition to sellers, pro hockey players tend to say this one too much.
SO – If you start every sentence with “So…. Here is how to do that..” then just remove the word So. It is not necessary and is another crutch word.
UMs and AHs – I’m as guilty as the next person of throwing in an occasional UM or AH – it is the classic filler as we gather our thoughts for what we are saying. Just watch them. Record your voice on your phone sometime as you are speaking to a prospective buyer. When it happens that you use UM or AH multiple times within a few sentences, you’ll know this is an area to work on. Try a few visits to Toastmasters where they have someone called an “um” counter who will give you feedback when you speak about how many of these filler words you use. I recently heard a new sales rep use UM over 15 times in a 5 minute conversation. It becomes distracting and you lose track of what the person is saying when they have such a strong use of a single crutch word or sound.
Now start thinking about empowering, illustrative, positive words to use in your future conversations. If you underestimate the power of the words you choose you are leaving money on the table.
Here is a great list of words to spice up your messaging. Embrace word usage as a strategy to grow revenues, learn every day, and watch your opportunities improve.
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized 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.