Sales Word of the Day: Problem

Emma Brudner
Emma Brudner




Think about the success of Staples' "easy button" ads. This campaign ingrained in consumer's minds that finding appropriate office supplies and furnishings should be as easy as pressing a button. And if life wasn't exactly so simple? Shoppers could actually purchase a giant red easy button and press it when they wished their problems would disappear.

Much is written today about simplifying the sales process for B2B buyers. If reps can make it as easy as possible to buy, the logic holds that sales will spike. Too bad that problems often get in the way, and make reps yearn for an easy button of their own.

It's unavoidable that problems will crop up in any sales engagement. The trick of bypassing them is to not acknowledge them as such.

The word "problem" casts a negative shadow on a person's mindset -- regardless of whether the issue is truly major, or just a slight snag. This isn't always a bad thing in sales, considering that reps seek to prove to prospects that their status quo is unacceptable. Using the word "problem" is encouraged when referring to the buyer's business issues.

However, the word "problem" should not appear at any other point of a sales process. If an obstacle crops up, refer to it as a "challenge." Challenges urge people to rise to the occasion to overcome them. Problems suck people down into wormholes of root causes and finger pointing. Keep the connotation as positive as possible.

It's also important to ban the word from your speech even if it's in such innocuous phrases as "not a problem" or "no problem." In this article, Katie Taylor explains why.   

"Sales jobs can be challenging and some clients can demand more than others, but in their opinion, what you are doing for them is a part of your job," Taylor writes. "So naturally, it isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a problem." Replace "no problem" with "my pleasure." 

Make everything as easy for your buyers as possible. If you can't prevent problems, you can at least make them seem a lot less difficult by not acknowledging them as such.

Verdict: not recommended.

sales email templates

Related Articles

We're committed to your privacy. HubSpot uses the information you provide to us to contact you about our relevant content, products, and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For more information, check out our Privacy Policy.

Save time, find new ways to reach out to prospects, and send emails that actually convert.