Phrases of shame used in sales prospecting.
How commonly used words self-sabotage your prospecting efforts and snatch defeat from the jaws of sales victory.
Why do people work so hard to call call call to get Ms. Top Decision Maker on the phone… only to do everything they can to chase them away?
B2B Cold Call Scripts Sell
Set Qualified Meetings At Top
What to say to meet more active buyers and clone your best accounts.
Don’t let rivals win due to words not said.
Talk to buyers on verge of new vendor choice.
Contact For Options
Not purposely of course. They don’t know that the words they choose to use are the equivalent of hitting their suspects with a baseball bat. No wonder they get blown off and the suspects run away. By their own words they have caused that to happen.
An in-house group I am working with that sets appointments for about 30 outside reps recently started posting “phrases of shame” to help each other stop shooting themselves in the foot.
Great idea and let me share some of the nutty, ridiculous, time wasting, say nothing, just lump me in with all the other idiots that call you and waste your time things that people say that chase away qualified prospects they have worked very hard to get on the phone.
Can you believe that people actually open up their calls with things like…
How are you?
Have you got a minute?
I’ll be brief.
Why is this nuts? The first few seconds of the call are critical to them deciding you are worthwhile to talk to. If you are not perceived to be credible or touch some hot button you might help them with, you are toast. What does saying those things do to contribute to their knowledge of how you might help them or that you have enough credibility worth investing some time?
Nothing. They contribute nothing. So don’t say them.
“How are you?” You don’t know them. They don’t know you. Could this be less sincere?
“Have you got a minute?” Again, if they don’t know you, what you might help them with or how credible you are, why should they have any time for you. Don’t ask them for time until you have laid the proper foundation.
“I’ll be brief.” That is not a benefit or something worthwhile. The fact that you will only waste a little bit of their time does not score points. Plus, dozens of callers have said the same thing to them before and then ramble on endlessly, so they don’t buy it.
But the biggest reason saying things like that are self-destructive is they communicate nothing about your value or what you do. If the person you are talking to has a need you can fulfill…. you are giving them absolutely no information that enables them to conclude that you are worth listening to.
I’m just calling to follow-up on a letter/package sent to you.
Why is this nuts? What is the response you get 99.9% of the time? “I didn’t get it… I didn’t read it. Please send it again.” So now, by your own choice of words you have immolated yourself. The call is over. Why would anyone do that? If you have the decision-maker on the phone use words that will sell the meeting, don’t choose words that are guaranteed to throw the conversation off course.
“I’d like to stop by and see you and will only take 20 minutes.”
Very self-destructive statement for two reasons. A. If you have nothing worthwhile to offer them the fact you will only take 20 minutes is not a benefit. B. People buy from peers. What you are communicating with this statement is that their time is more valuable than yours. You should never project that. Don’t say things to lower your perceived value. If they have an issue with time, let them bring it up.
“Can I call back and check with you in a month.”
This is a great example of doing all the work and getting no results. Don’t ever suggest a time to call them back. Always let them suggest a time. Enable them to tell you how you can sell them. You learn nothing from them if you say that.
A better approach… “No problem… don’t want to be on your back… but obviously we do a lot of this, can you suggest a better time to get back in touch with you?” Then be quiet. Let them tell you. When they do say something like this… “Happy to do that, may I ask why that is a good time?”
See the difference? The first approach gives you no information to separate the hot prospects from the time wasters. By your own choice of words you doom yourself to following up on multiples of people that will never buy. With the second approach, you enable them to tell you if they have a need and when it will be actionable.
We have only hit a few “phrases of shame.” There are many. Keep these two points in mine. You always want to communicate value and enable them to tell you how to sell them. Rip out any words that don’t directly contribute to those two objectives.