Bad Words

Salespeople are prone to talking. A lot. Sometimes just for the sake of talking or because there is an extended and awkward period of silence. You know…like 2 seconds! Additionally, people can develop crutch words that find their way into conversations or presentations. Initially these words can be used to give a person time to think, but usually, add no real value to the discussion. Over time, they become unconscious verbal tics. Most often, crutch words do not add meaning to a statement or a conversation.

There are a few words and phrases I find salespeople from all industries tend to overuse:


“Honestly…” or “To be honest…” both of these are the same version of “You can’t trust anyone but me” but instead sends the opposite message.


Selling is all about trust; transferring it, building it, and protecting it. But you should never have to say it. As in “Trust me…”


“I’m just checking in…” or “I’m just following up…” or “I just wanted to touch base…”

Salespeople use this word to soften the purpose of their call or to avoid being perceived as too sales-y. As if to say “I’m not trying to sell you something, I just wanted to check in, touch base, follow up…” All of these statements are transparent attempts to re-engage with a buyer or prospect, and they all lack the same thing–value.


Anytime you start a sentence with “I want…” or worse “I just wanted…” it is apparent to the other person it’s about you and not them.


This phrase gets used when a salesperson hears a pain point, fear, or desire the prospect has which can be solved or attained by their product or service. Typically before the buyer has completed their sentence, or thought! Not so much a benefit statement, but an interruption. While enthusiasm and passion for your company, product, and service are essential, you’re better off saving the hype and sharing the relevant benefit statements until after you’ve heard the whole story.

Your words matter and pre-call planning, prepartion, and practice are essential to making sure your message is received clearly and correctly.

A few words about bad words

Some people find foul language offensive. Not everyone, but some. You might not offend someone by swearing, but it’s always a risk, and I have yet to get feedback from anyone that I didn’t cuss enough!