53 Awful Sales Words That Need to Be Banished Forever

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Jill Konrath
Jill Konrath



Quick -- think of one word to describe the product or service you sell in one word.


Got it?

Now, let me amaze you with my powers of mind reading.

Was the adjective that just popped into your head one of the following?

  • Cost-effective
  • Value-add
  • State-of-the-art

If so, I hate to break it to you, but … you sound like every other salesperson in the world. And because your pitch is essentially white noise to buyers, they tune you out instantly.

Don’t you just love it when a salesperson opens their mouth and unleashes a barrage of jargon? Yeah, me neither. Whether you’re trying to capture your prospect’s attention or differentiate from your competitors, make sure you cut these meaningless words from your vocabulary.

Promotional Puffery

  • One-stop shopping
  • Industry leader
  • Breakthrough
  • Leading/leader
  • Partnership/partner
  • Groundbreaking
  • Impressive
  • Unique
  • Innovative
  • State-of-the-art
  • Powerful
  • Best
  • Key
  • Tops
  • Great
  • Outstanding
  • Cost-effective
  • Experienced
  • Number one
  • Premier
  • Ultimate

Technical Tripe

  • Next-generation
  • Disruptive
  • Flexible
  • Robust
  • Solution
  • Cloud-based
  • World-class
  • Easy-to-use
  • Cutting-edge
  • Value-added
  • Mission-critical
  • Leading-edge
  • Turnkey
  • Best-of-breed
  • Enterprise-class
  • User-friendly
  • Scalable

Creative Crap

  • Outside the box
  • Innovator
  • The big idea
  • Synergy
  • Dramatic
  • Strategic
  • Game changer
  • Customer-centric
  • Voice of the customer
  • Critical mass
  • Buzz
  • Make it pop
  • Break through the clutter
  • Next level
  • Impactful

The Important Reason These Phrases Are So Awful

Why are these phrases so awful? They’re clearly overused, which is one reason. But there’s a far more important issue that could be devastating to your sales process:

All of these words and phrases are about the salesperson and their product or service -- not the buyer!

You might think that flashy adjectives attached to your product or service will snag buyers’ attention. But you know what technique is a whole lot more effective to achieving this end? Demonstrating genuine curiosity about your prospect’s situation, and asking thoughtful questions that get to the heart of their challenges. The more you can make your sales process about your buyer, the better -- for both your prospect and your quota attainment.

Today, it’s not salesperson versus buyer. Both sides need to join forces in order to solve challenging problems. The best salespeople have their prospects’ best interest at heart and truly want to see them succeed -- whether it’s with their product or service, or with another solution entirely.

Topics: Trust in Sales

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