Succeeding in today’s complex business environment—in which the buying process is controlled by consumers—has become increasingly difficult for salespeople. With prospects now in possession of unlimited information, old sales strategies that once charmed buyers no longer suffice.
While most salespeople are still operating as if nothing has changed—including using the same worn-out verbiage—top-performing representatives have adopted new tactics to appeal to today’s more empowered buyer. They’re positioning themselves as trusted advisors, educating themselves on market trends, and building long-lasting relationships with customers.
If you find yourself continuously striking out on deals, take a lesson from your more successful counterparts and avoid using these five phrases when speaking with potential buyers:
1. “Tell Me About Your Business”
Buyers don’t have time to discuss the ins and outs of their business, nor do they want to. Before reaching out to a prospect, be sure to thoroughly research their company and industry. Doing so will allow you to better position your product or service and show the buyer that you’ve spent ample time already considering their needs.
2. “Our Product Is the Best”
Unproven claims about the greatness of your product will raise warning flags in your prospect’s mind. If you want to discuss the benefits of your product, make sure you have substantial evidence to back them up. What’s more, align whatever advantages your product offers to the challenges your prospect is experiencing; for example, benefit X can solve your company’s Y.
3. “I Promise”
If a deal is going south, salespeople will often make promises that they can’t actually keep; for example, guaranteeing a discount on a particular product. Even stooping to that level can damage your trustworthiness and might even cost you the sale. Make sure you’re aware how far you can go in negotiations—and don’t overstep those limits—to avoid making agreements you can’t fulfill.
4. “I Don’t Know”
Once in a while, a prospect will ask a question that you don’t know the answer to—no big deal. However, if you find yourself repeating the phrase “I don’t know” throughout your conversation, chances are that you’re not prepared. Anticipate questions that might come up in discussions and plan your answers ahead of time. Don't waste the opportunity for a first great impression by being unprepared.
5. “Can You Give Me an Answer Today?”
There’s nothing worse than a pushy salesperson. Give your prospect time to think over all the details of your pitch and consult others within their organization. If the individual feels like they’re being pressured into making a decision right then and there, they’ll most likely decline. Respect the decision-making process and follow up when appropriate.