In sales, finding the right words is critical to one’s success. There can be a noticeable difference to both the salesperson and the consumer when the dialogue is planned yet personable instead of cold, canned and corny.
There are some words that never will grow tiresome to most people. Words we learned at a very young age like please, thank you, I’m sorry and you’re welcome can be uttered in most situations and not cause many problems. In sales we love to hear the word “yes” but hearing the word “no” isn’t always a bad thing, just like sometimes saying the word “no” is the right thing to do.
Can anyone’s language or vocabulary be perfect? It’s quite a subjective question because every situation, personality and desired outcome could be different. Sometimes, it’s not so much about adding the perfect word, it’s about not saying something that can make all the difference.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery
5 Words To Stop Saying
Try – Many people tell someone they will try to do something and while that sounds like good service it also isn’t a strong commitment. As Yoda, a Jedi Master from The Empire Strikes Back and other Star Wars movies once famously said to Luke Skywalker, who lazily said he would try to do something… “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.”
Fine – How’s work? “It’s fine,” says the lethargic employee. How was school today? “Fine,” mumbles the teenager. How is the food? “Fine,” grunts the unappreciative diner. While most of us hear the word “fine” and think it’s not a bad word, it also isn’t extremely positive. On one of those surveys that ask you to rank something on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is “outstanding” and 1 means “horrible,” somewhere in the boring middle lies the rating of “fine.”
Later – Put yourself in the shoes of a consumer, customer or client. Do you want your needs satisfied now or later? If you could have some satisfaction, would you want it sooner or later? The word “later” doesn’t really have any specificity to it, other than not right now. If you have to tell someone your service, product or answer isn’t ready now, try to be more specific on the outcome so people will know when they can expect it.
Busy – It’s so cliche´ these days for people to respond to the question “How are you?” with a flippant “busy.” The alternative isn’t much better – unless you’re retired and even then you’re probably looking to be active doing something. It’s great to have a full schedule of things to do but don’t simply default to using “busy” as an answer. Assess if you’re spending the right amount of time and attention on each activity and remember that efficient and effective are two different things.
Maybe – This one is a lot like the word “try” above. In sales it’s okay to get a “yes” or a “no” from your customers but the worst thing to hear is a “maybe.” When we hear “maybe” we could be a lot farther away from a successful sale than simply hearing the word “no.” If you are in a position to give a response or make a decision, avoid using the word “maybe” because it doesn’t really make a decision and no one knows that it means.
Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than the ability to decide.
– Napoleon Bonaparte
Of course, these words will certainly make sense in context and sometimes cannot be avoided. And sure, it’s fine to try and remove these words from your day-to-day vocabulary later but remember… if you get too busy, maybe it’ll never happen.
What words have you tried to avoid using to help serve your customers and create more engagement with your peers? Drop me a few ideas in the comments below.
I know 6 words that I’ll never be able to remove from my mental Rolodex – Build relationships, solve problems and have fun.