We’ve all heard them: sales phrases that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Some phrases have been part of sales conversations for so long they deserve their own Wikipedia page, but just because something’s been around for awhile doesn’t it mean it’s worth repeating. Here are some phrases that should go the way of the rolodex:
1. Just following up
Where is ‘up’ going and why are you following it? Instead of using this generic excuse to contact someone, add value or urgency to whatever you’ve been discussing and ask directly for what you want.
Try instead: “I wanted to remind you our discount is only available for two more weeks - do you have 30 minutes to discuss how [your business] can help solve [a business need]?” This reiterates the deal you’re offering, positions your company as the solution to their problem, and asks directly for a conversation in which you can close the deal.
2. Are you the decision maker?
Ouch. More often than not your initial contact won’t make the final purchasing decision, but that doesn’t mean they want to be talked down to. This condescending question implies that they don’t have the authority to be in the conversation and sets you up to fail. If you’re far along in the buying cycle and trying to move things forward, ask about their process, instead of their hierarchy.
Try instead: “What’s the next step in your buying decision?” By asking them an open-ended question, you may get the answer you were originally looking for, and if they are the decision maker, you haven’t set yourself back a step by insulting them. Win!