Words That Can Kill a Sale

It may seem completely obvious that the words you choose can have a profound impact on people’s feelings. Positive words convey positive feelings and negative words convey the opposite. Salespeople know instinctively to keep the conversation positive. You obviously don’t want to dwell on the bad economy, or how bad sales have been for you recently. Keep it positive.

In the sales situation, especially when you are trying to close, sometimes even seemingly innocuous and necessary words can convey negative feelings such as fear, vulnerability or insecurity. Here are some commonly used words that might be best avoided, if possible.

  • Contract — Salespeople like this word, but customers often see it as something binding and constricting and hearing the word may make them skittish. Try saying agreement instead.
  • Sign Here — Just as contract may make people nervous, telling them to sign can have equally negative connotations. Try getting a customer's approval instead.
  • Buy — Again, seemingly innocuous, and hard to avoid. But let’s face it, the most painful part of making a purchase is shelling out the money. Try promoting the benefits of owning the product instead of suggesting they buy the product.
  • Pay For — Like “buy,” asking a client how they are going to pay for an item can be a painful moment for the client. Try using words like purchase or procure.
  • No — Sales guru Laura Laaman says this using the word “no” can put a “speed bump” into the sales process. If the client asks, “Does this come in blue?” Rather answering “no”, try saying that it is only available in yellow, black, green, red and purple.

People want to do business with people they can trust and respect. The words you choose can arouse suspicion, or they can reflect a posture of trust and respect. Choose your words carefully!