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Salespeople have a credibility problem. Only 3% of people consider sales representatives to be trustworthy -- meaning that you’re fighting to overcome a poor reputation from the first second you reach out to a prospect.

To become a trusted advisor, you have to be conscious of both what you’re saying and what prospects actually hear.

Read on to learn how buyers interpret these 26 common statements from reps.

1) “This isn’t a sales pitch.”

What the rep means: “I want to see if you’re a good fit for my product before I do any selling.”

What the prospect hears: “This is a sales pitch.”

2) “I’ll only take five minutes of your time.”

What the rep means: “I’ll take the next five minutes to uncover your pain points. If I can address them, I’ll schedule another call.”

What the prospect hears: “I’ll only take five minutes of your time -- unless you let me keep talking, in which case I’ll take 30.”

3) “I’m not trying to sell you anything right now.”

What the rep means: “It’s too early to know whether or not you’re a good fit.”

What the prospect hears: “I’m not going for the hard close today, but it’s coming.”

4) “How are you doing?”

What the rep means: “I don’t want to dive right into the call, so how are you doing?”

What the prospect hears: “I don’t care how you’re doing, but my manager told me I should build rapport.”

5) “We’re the most cutting-edge option on the market.”

What the rep means: “Saying ‘cutting-edge’ makes me look smart, right?”

What the prospect hears: “I’m trying to make our product sound more exciting with meaningless jargon.”

6) “Our product will revolutionize how you do X.”

What the rep means: “Our product will noticeably improve how you do X.”

What the prospect hears: “Our product may incrementally improve how you do X.”

7) “If you could [cut costs by 50%, increase revenue by 10X, generate 3,000 more leads per month], is that something you’d be interested in?”

What the rep means: “Why wouldn’t you be interested in our product?”

What the prospect hears: “Will you answer this clearly rhetorical question so I can keep talking?”

8) “Don’t you like saving money?”

What the rep means: “No, seriously: Why wouldn’t you be interested in our product?”

What the prospect hears: “I’m going to treat you like a five-year-old.”

9) “We try to achieve X for our clients.”

What the rep means: “We strive to do X, but once in a while we fall short.”

What the prospect hears: “We only manage to attain X for our clients 50% of the time.”

10) “Many of our customers see X results.”

What the rep means: “Half of our customers see X results.”

What the prospect hears: “A small percentage of our customers see X results.”

11) “Yes, that’s definitely a possibility.”

What the rep means: “That could be a possibility, but I don’t want to oversell.”

What the prospect hears: “I have no idea whether or not that’s a possibility.”

12) “Haven’t heard from you, so I wanted to check in.”

What the rep means: “I’m trying to get on your radar again.”

What the prospect hears: “The end of the month is coming up and I’m getting nervous I’ll miss my quota.”

(Psst: Check out 23 better alternatives to the “just checking in” email.)

13) “I know you must be just as busy as I am … ”

What the rep means: “We’ve both got full schedules.”

What the prospect hears: “I don’t know -- or care -- what your schedule looks like, but I think I’m pretty hot stuff.”

14) “I’m leaving you a voicemail as a follow-up to my email yesterday.”

What the rep means: “I know you’re busy, but I’m hopeful I can reach you if I’m persistent.”

What the prospect hears: “I'm going to keep annoying you until you respond.”

(In fact, inside sales expert Trish Bertuzzi doesn’t think you should ever mention previous touchpoints on voicemails: See #4 on this list.)

15) “Honestly … ”

What the rep means: “I’m about to drop a truth bomb.”

What the prospect hears: “Everything I’ve told you up until this point has been a lie.”

16) “The competition’s product sucks.”

What the rep means: “The competition’s product is okay.”

What the prospect hears: “The competition’s product is actually pretty impressive, and I’m scared you’ll choose us over them.”

17) “Without this product, your business cannot survive.”

What the rep means: “Our product will have a significant impact on your bottom line.”

What the prospect hears: “I only care about getting you to sign a deal, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time trying to help you.”

18) “What will it take to earn your business?”

What the rep means: “Can you fill me in on your priorities?”

What the prospect hears: “I only care about getting you to sign a deal, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time trying to help you.”

19) “Can I speak to the decision maker?”

What the rep means: “I don’t want to waste everyone’s time selling to the wrong person.”

What the prospect hears: “You’re not important, and I don’t want to spend any more time on you.”

20) “As I said before … ”

What the rep means: “I know I’m repeating myself, but hear me out …”

What the prospect hears: “I’m frustrated that I need to repeat myself.”

21) “I really like you, so I’m going to give you a deal.”

What the rep means: “I wonder if I can tap into the rapport we created.”

What the prospect hears: “I give this deal to everyone.”

22) “I can give you a 20% discount if you buy today.”

What the rep means: “I’m ready to close this deal.”

What the prospect hears: “I want to pressure you into buying today.”

23) “Let me check in with my manager.”

What the rep means: “I don’t think those terms are feasible, but I’ll ask my manager first.”

What the prospect hears: “I’m going to tell you no, but I don’t want to be the bad guy.”

24) “There’s no catch here.”

What the rep means: “Seriously, there’s no catch.”

What the prospect hears: “Watch out for the catch.”

25) “I’m going to take off my salesperson hat and talk to you directly.”

What the rep means: “I need you to let down your guard for a bit.”

What the prospect hears: “I’m still talking as a rep, but I want you to trust me.”

26) “I’m sorry, that’s just our company policy.”

What the rep means: “I wish I could help you, but my hands are tied.”

>What the prospect hears: “I’m not even going to try to help you.”

To win the buyer’s trust, steer away from these 26 statements and explain exactly what your objectives are. Even better, don’t say anything manipulative or even slightly untrue. The more straight-forward you are, the greater the chance prospects will hear exactly what you mean.

HubSpot CRM

Originally published Aug 16, 2016 8:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017

Topics:

Sales Communication