Sales words & phrases to ban with B2B sales prospects

Every sales team should ban these five words/phrases.

If a member of your sales team utters these words, treat them as you would pejoratives, slanders of your mother, and insults to your honor and integrity.

If you are a sales leader you should never hear them, sales prospects should never hear them and they should never be used when describing your B2B lead generation process.   

Ya, but


I’m different

Good meeting


Less is sometimes more. If you ban the above words and phrases from your sales vocabulary, you will close more deals, and close them faster.

Demand knowledge and specific information from your sales team.
See below.

Table of Contents

Ban these words and phrases from your sales team

Ya, but

You want your team to know and use the behaviors that are most likely to move them toward their goal in every situation.

You need your team to work in the high-probability zone. The best performers know and discuss the behaviors, actions, words, and scripts to use in common situations. That is what they think about — the best way to do things.

The mediocre and the wanna be’s that never will be’s are at a loss to articulate how to handle common sales scenarios, yet are masters at knowing the exceptions to the rules.

When discussing the most successful behaviors, they quickly express a “Ya, but.” But ask them how they handle very common scenarios, and you will hear “Well, everything is so different, it depends on the situation, you never know….”

Lower performers are experts on the exceptions to the rules, but not on the behaviors most likely to lead to the sales results they seek. The most common thing you hear from the mediocre and lower level sales performers is “Ya, but….”

We are in sales, deal with people and crazy things happen around the edges. So what?

Keep your team focused on the highest probability sales behaviors, not the exceptions to the rules.


No one has ever invented a more meaningless, nebulous sales word that tells us nothing and diverts from the actual issues. “Let’s find out if they are interested.” “They are interested in our widgets.”

Does that tell us anything of substance that can be used to make better decisions to close a deal? NO!! It usually just masks ignorance of what is really going on and leads to wasted time.

As a manager, do those words do anything to help you determine whether a deal is real or fantasy or how to help your rep? No.

  • Do they fit your profile or not?
  • Did they express certain needs or not?
  • Did they describe a goal?
  • Did they relate specifics about what the status quo is costing them?
  • Were they specific about what they hoped to gain with a new vendor?
  • Did they share their buying criteria?
  • Did they relate their decision-making process?
  • Did they commit to moving to the next sales step?
  • There are a lot of things that give you clues whether a sale is on the right path.
  • Whether they are “interested” tells you nothing of value.

As a manager, you need specifics. Knowing specifics is crucial to determining the authenticity of an opportunity and ensuring your rep’s preparedness and increasing the chances of success.

You are doing your reps a favor when you ask specific questions as to matters that impact the sale. They know you will inspect their thinking, and not just accepting their meaningless generalities that an opportunity is on the right track to close.  

Your representatives will improve their questioning and presentation abilities because they know you will ask meaningful questions and expect genuine responses.

Words to ban from sales discussions to close more sales

I’m different

Many with average talent and drive get/stay congruent with the behaviors of the top producers and make a lot of money.

Many others, with superior talent and drive, shoot themselves in the foot right away with the “I’m different” rationale for not having to listen or do what works. It is a very common self-sabotaging behavior.

We are different. This industry, this area, this side of the street are all different. That is why we don’t have to do what works or what the most successful do.

What they are really saying is “I refuse to change, listen to facts, learn anything or be held accountable.”

Rather than say “I’m different,” just step up to the plate and admit that you don’t want to change, you don’t want to learn, you’re lazy, or you don’t really care about making more money.

Don’t let your team use the “I’m different” excuse.

Good meeting

See #1 above. Interested. The clueless use this phrase a lot.

Tells you nothing of value that relates to whether or not you will close. Typically masks ignorance of what is really going on.

Ban that phrase.


Yup. Proposal. Unfortunately too many salespeople think that a proposal is the goal. It isn’t. They use a proposal as an exploration to find out what the prospect will buy. Big mistake.

Change the mindset. A proposal should not be an exploration, it should be a CONFIRMATION.

Of course, confirmation presupposes that we have discussed key scenarios, terms, conditions, timelines, and other stuff and have reached conceptual agreement.

Change the mindset from one of exploration to confirmation.

Think of a proposal as a “confirmation of understanding”. That assumes a certain foundation.

Ban the word “proposal.”

Why you need a banned sales word list

Demand Knowledge

There might be 20, 30 or 50 reasons someone will buy from you, yet most salespeople would be hard pressed to name five or six.

Are your reps fluent with the names of your top accounts in general? Your top accounts in each industry or vertical?

Can your reps provide enough proofs, such as stories, examples, and statistics, to demonstrate how your service has benefited other companies?

Are your reps prepared and fluent in discussing specifics, before and after examples of how your solution has helped others?

Are your reps prepared with the depth of knowledge necessary to remove the last elements of doubt in the way of a buy decision?

The sad fact is the too often rep’s knowledge is not very deep.

They might be great order-takers and able to skim the cream off the top and close what is easy, but not able to remove doubt, educate or show your offering to motivate all those that would benefit immensely from your offering into the win column.

I believe strongly in what I call the “pile of words.” Simply it is all the top verbiage, examples, name drops, specifics, stories, benefits, credibility factors that reps need to know to represent you in the marketplace.

That document could be anywhere from seven to thirty pages long. Whether it’s scheduling a first sales appointment or discovery call, having an initial sales discussion, or managing an account further along in the process, there are important details and language that accurately represent your product/service and show potential clients how you can assist them.

If reps do not have fluency in those basics, they will be left with superficial knowledge and the company will lose opportunities they otherwise could have had.

Sales prospects will buy more if these sales phrases are forbidden

If it is not written, it is far less likely to be used.

If it is not written, I can guarantee you that only a small fraction of your credibility, experience and how you have helped others is being communicated to your prospects.

Write all the top verbiage and specifics that best enable your reps to communicate your credibility, benefits, and proofs of what you can deliver.

Check under the covers. Ask them how they handle opening a meeting, their top questions, handle or cut off at the pass common objections, illustrate your strengths, on and on.

Sales management has the responsibility to ensure that reps have all the top verbiage to properly represent your offering.

It is management’s responsibility to make sure that reps are fluent and use that information to maximize sales.