You know what’s worse than using a traditional sales pitch?

Using ineffective phrases and words that hurt your sales. Salespeople are prone to using the same phrases and words over and over again in their pitch making them sound less sincere.

In other words, you may come out as a generic one-way communicator that serves up your words just like you were scooping them up from a can. But with all the words swirling in your head, how do you know what words encourage the sale and what words kill them.

Wouldn’t it be easier if you had a list of bad words so you could make sure you avoid them when conversing with a buyer/prospect. Well, today you struck gold. 

30 words that you should be avoiding in your next sales pitch

#1. Honestly

Anyone who makes this claim is implying everything they said previously wasn’t the truth. You might think that this term has a lot of merit posing yourself as an honest individual, but they are actually destructive. Buyers and customers have been socially stereotyping salespeople to be a distrusted group and the use of this word just adds to the fear.  

When you say “honestly” or “let me be honest with you”, you are actually sending your prospect subconscious messages that perhaps much of what has been said up that point may have been less than true. It creates distraction and doubt in the mind of the prospect. Sales leaders let their actions speak for them when building trust and credibility with prospects. Steer clear of saying ‘honestly’, by being honest.

#2. Maybe

Maybe shows you are not sure of yourself or not confident about what you are saying or selling. You need be confident in your sales pitch and using this word won’t help the cause.

#3. Obviously

“Obviously” sounds vague at best and patronising or condescending at worst. Don’t use this word to fill up your sentences, because it is a messy way to use your speech and off-put your customers. Using this word when explaining something to your prospect will give them the impression you don’t think they are smart enough to understand what you are saying.


#4. Perhaps

Just like “maybe”, “perhaps” shows you doubt yourself and what you are selling. You have to be confident and positive when conversing with the prospect. If you sound like you are spitballing where you don’t expect the prospect to act, you have definitely lost the sale.

#5. Buy

This might sound obvious, but the word “buy” is destructive. Sure you want people to buy your products and services, however, they don’t want to be blatantly sold to. You have to be very subtle when you use these kinds of action words. Instead of “buy” try using words like “invest” “claim”, or “own”, because people like to make an investment, make a claim, or own something. They don’t want to “buy”.

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#6. Things/Stuff

Do you want to sound clueless as to what you are selling or saying? Then avoid using words like “things” and “stuff”. People use these words when they have absolutely nothing to say or they are just lazy to get to the specifics. Instead, use words like “tips”, “techniques”, etc.

#7. Guarantee

“Guarantee” means absolutely nothing to your prospect. It has no value. Prospects are smart and throwing phrases like “100% money-back guarantee” is not going to help you close a sale. Instead, use words like “warranty” which are stronger and more reliable to the prospect.

#8. Seriously

Just like “honestly”, seriously shows that you weren’t serious till now.


#9. Innovative
Labelling your product or service as innovative is not going to show that you are one. If you are truly innovative, your prospects will know. Telling them won’t make a difference.

#10. Opportunity

You cannot sell to prospects by pitching them opportunities. Opportunities are more or less chances, and decision makers will not invest in mere chances. Make your pitch more definitive and specific to your prospect. Make him discover the value proposed, rather than asking him to dream about the opportunities your product hold.

#11. Basically

This is probably the most used word by salespeople, but this word itself can sound condescending, especially when coupled with a pushy and confident attitude. Your customers are not stupid, so don’t treat them like one. Replace “basically” with words like “in other words” or “to put it in another way.”

#12. Problem

Negative words like “problem” come from your one’s own mindset, and the last thing you want is negativity entering into the mindset of your prospect when you are trying to open the window of prospecting opportunity. Striking negative words from your sales pitch means restructuring your behaviour, mindset and how your respond to your prospect’s negative vibe. Instead, use words like “challenge” that sound neutral.

#13. Prospects

Do not call your prospects “prospects”. You don’t want to make them feel that you merely see them as an opportunity. Instead, use “future clients”. This will show that you wish to make a long-term relationship with your prospect.

#14. Objections

This may instigate your prospect to think about objections to contradict or refute your value proposition. It will get them thinking that there are customers that have raised objections previously to the product or service you are selling. Instead, use words like “areas of concern” to clearly understand the prospect’s pain points.

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Never use the word “pitch” in your pitch. It sounds very salesy and exposes the buyer that he is being sold to. Instead, use “presentation” which shows that you wish to educate and inform your prospect about your offering, rather than making him agree to a purchase.

#16. Customers

Customers don’t want to be treated like “customers”. Calling them customers will make them feel ordinary. Instead, refer them as “clients”.

#17. Cheap

A lot of salespeople think that it is easier to land a sale by labelling your product “cheap”, but that is not how it works. You need to position what you are selling as valuable even if you personally think it is cheap. Buyers normally relate “cheap” with “low-quality”, and you don’t want that to happen.

#18. Price

Price may make them think they can shop around giving them a reason to delay the sales process. Instead, use “investment”.

#19. Quota

Using this word in your pitch will imply that you don’t actually care about your prospect, you are simply trying to close the deal to achieve your target.

#20. Commission

“Commission” again comes off like “quota”. Prospects are aware you work for yourself but don’t make it blatantly obvious to them that you are going to make money off the sale.

#21. Competitor

You don’t want to bring up your competition. Decision-makers are well aware of your competitors and would have researched quite well in advance before speaking with you. But reminding them about your competition will make matters worse. Position your product or service in a way that shows your prospect it meets their needs and will exceed their expectations.

#22. Actually

“Actually” is a dead giveaway that at the least needs further investigation, or may point out deception. By using this word, you are subconsciously pointing your prospects to question for unspoken information. For example, if the prospect asks “How many companies use your product?”, and if you answer “We actually have over 1000 companies”, you are not giving the prospect any extra information, but making him more curious as to why the word was added. Now the customer might follow-up with a request to see a list of your customers or even a referral.  

#23. Erm

Crutch words like “erm”, “uhh”, and “ahh..” are all noises your prospect hates to hear. They do not add meaning to your statement, and will make you sound unprofessional and off-putting to your customer. These are normally used to fill pauses in sentences, but you fail to realise how prevalent it is in a conversation. Practice confidence skills in telephone and learn that silent pauses sound much better than these words.

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#24. Cutting-edge

Prospects have heard this so much they couldn’t care less. This idiom couldn’t be more ironic. If you say that your product is “cutting-edge”, it is not cutting-edge. Say something original about your product that makes sense to your prospect.

#25. Discount

Refrain from using this word wherever possible because it will devalue your entire sale. This shows that you are desperate for a sale, and the prospect will start working you for heavier discounts. Arbitrary discounting is probably one of the quickest ways to lose credibility. While it is true that the word “discount” brings sparkle to prospects’ eyes, but it is usually tied with products being overpriced in the first place.

#26. Hope

It sounds like you are not cent percent sure about what you are selling. “Hope” build doubts in the mind of your prospect, and will make him re-think your proposition.

#27. Advice

If your prospects wanted advice they would have hired an advisor. You might be well-versed in your industry, but overpowering your prospect might not be the best thing to do. Replace “advice” with “had a similar experience in the past.” Talk about customers that have benefitted from what you are selling. Use testimonials and case studies to prove your point.

#28. Don’t

Using this negative word in your conversations when referring to your product or service is a big NO. By using “don’t” in your pitch, you are bringing awareness to the thing you don’t want. Tell people what you want them to do. Don’t tell them what not to do. This will take a little bit of practice, but you’ll be surprised the difference this will make in getting your prospects to do what you want them to do.

#29. But

Being a conjunction word, “but” introduces a word or sentence that contradicts the preceding sentence or statement. So after you have built a positive aspect of your product and get the hope up of your prospect when you say “but” everything falls apart. Whatever you have done is undone. Instead, by using words like “nevertheless”, “even so”, “however”, etc., you adjust your tone and say whatever you are suggesting without risking a potential sale.

#30. Like

It might seem harmless, but when using “like” you are making yourself and what you are selling sound generic. Make your product unique. If you are not able to differentiate, you won’t be able to sell.

Culled from Inside Sales Box

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