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December 30, 2015 // 8:30 AM

3 Stale Phrases That Make Salespeople Sound Robotic

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Sales reps seem to have an answer for everything. If a customer says this, the rep can launch into a spiel about that. If a customer raises this objection, the rep can respond with that rebuttal. If a customer asks this question, a rep can quickly respond with that answer. And so they dance.

Everything is pre-prepared in a sales rep’s world. But is that a good thing?

Think about calling a company and getting an automated telephone menu. Ever find yourself yelling “customer service” into your phone to skip the automated service and go straight to a customer service rep? I know I’ve been there.

So why is it that we hate automated replies, but sales reps are still using scripts and pre-prepared responses?

While sales reps aren’t automated answering services, there are certain phrases salespeople commonly use that can make them sound a little … well, robotic. In light of the modern buyer’s impatience with overly general treatment, salespeople should drop these phrases and instead personalize their conversations and messages. After all, each prospect is unique, and deserves a real response, not an automated one.

Below are three robotic statements sales reps should avoid at all costs, and what to say instead. 

“I talk to X companies every day just like yours.”

This line signifies a scripted approach because no two companies are exactly the same. Each company has unique plans, pain points, and goals. When a sales rep mentions that they’ve spoken to 10 companies exactly like the prospect’s, the buyer can easily imagine the salesperson using the exact same line 10 different times. And that’s not good.

Instead, reps need to focus on the specifics of a target company. Rather than making generalizations about working with a certain type of business before, sales reps should mention specific traits about the buyer’s organization that they have experience with. For example, a rep might say that they’ve dealt with companies with 10-20 employees before, or worked with a business in the same industry.

“I’ve spent time looking into your business, and wow -- I’m impressed.”

Um … by what?

This line makes you sound robotic because it can be used with any business, in any market, at any time. What in particular about the business impressed you? A rep who uses this line shows that they have not done thorough research -- other than a quick glance at the company website to find the phone number.

This phrase, however, can be transformed to show the prospect that you’ve spent time carefully researching and qualifying them. At the end of the phrase simply add “because [point 1], [point 2], and [point 3].” By including three points of strength specific to the buyer’s business, a sales rep can show that they’ve learned about the organization and can offer informed insight.

Here’s an example:

“I’ve spent time looking into your business, and wow -- I’m impressed with your unique referral marketing strategy, the caliber of writers who are contributing to your blog, and the design of your website.”

“Let’s put some time on the calendar.”

This sounds like an attempt to shove the prospect through the funnel without any valid reason. Before using this phrase, think: Why should we put something on the calendar? Has the sales rep provided value to the prospect, learned about their pain points, and is now prepared to provide a tailored presentation on how to solve them? Or, is it just that the sales rep sent two emails to the prospect and wants to move onto a product demonstration because the end of the month is fast approaching?

Scheduling a meeting or a product demonstration is the next step for a highly qualified prospect. To make this phrase less robotic, add clear points explaining why you believe a meeting would be valuable, and consequently, why it’s time to advance to the next phase of the sales process. 

For example:

“After reviewing your business plan, learning about where you want to grow and where you struggle, and hearing about your plans for next year, I think it’s time we put an hour on our calendars to discuss my proposed strategy further and determine if it is right for you.”

The most important part of the word “salespeople” is people. When a prospect purchases a product, they’re banking on the fact that a human will be there to provide insights and help them reach their goals. Sometimes, though, it can feel as if a prospect is dealing with a scripted rep, which might derail the deal. Instead of using robotic phrases like the above, throw the script away, and personalize your message.

Remember, you can’t automate a relationship.

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Topics: Sales Strategy

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