Effective communication is crucial for success in sales and marketing. However, many people mistakenly believe that knowing how to talk equates to effective communication. In reality, strategic organization of thoughts and intentional messaging are essential components of effective communication. The words we use in our sales and marketing messages are especially important, as they can significantly impact the outcome of our efforts. Some words, known as “swear words of sales and marketing”, can decrease the chances of earning a potential client’s business.
In this article, we’ll discuss 21 swear words of sales and marketing, and provide tips on how to become a wordsmith and master your messaging. We’ll break these 21 swear words into two categories: “Ten Swear Words you should eliminate from your messaging today” and “Eleven words and phrases you should use to become an expert Wordsmith”.
First, we’ll identify the swear words that you should eliminate from your messaging immediately. These are the words that could be causing potential clients to turn away from your product or service.
Then, we’ll provide 11 ways to become an expert wordsmith, with actionable tips that you can implement in your sales and marketing messaging right away. By mastering these tips, you can craft messages that are highly impactful, crystal clear, and tactfully engaging, and increase your chances of earning the client’s business.
“How we communicate is directly related to how we operate.”Ryan Avery – Renowned strategic communication, negotiation, and leadership Consultant
Let’s start by defining what constitutes a “swear word” in the context of sales and marketing.
What are Swear Words of Sales and Marketing?
Sales and marketing professionals must be aware of the psychological factors that come into play when communicating with potential clients. The words used can have a significant impact on how the message is perceived, and some words can even decrease the chances of earning the client’s business. These words are known as “swear words” of sales and marketing and should be avoided.
Like the word “Because”, many words in our English vocabulary have psychological impacts on how we perceive a message and the actions we take based on what it is telling us. Because of these psychological factors, we need to be extra careful about the message we are delivering to our clients whether that be on a phone call, sent via email or SMS, or delivered as social outreach through platforms like LinkedIn.
Therefore, sales and marketing professionals must be mindful of the language they use and how it can affect the potential client’s perception. By avoiding swear words and using positive language that emphasizes value and benefits, the chances of earning the client’s business can be significantly increased.
Ten Swear Words you should eliminate from your messaging today
Effective communication is crucial in sales and marketing, and the language you use can significantly impact your success. Some words are known as “swear words” because they can decrease your chances of earning a client’s business. Here are ten of these swear words and why you should eliminate them from your messaging today:
The word “contract” suggests a focus on the transaction rather than building a relationship. It can make the client feel like just another customer, which can negatively impact your chances of earning their business. Instead, use “agreement” to show that you’re a trusted partner. An agreement implies that the client had control over the decision and that they look forward to working with you.
What good sounds like: “My team will be able to provide you with an agreement that you can sign when you’re ready to move forward.”
The word “buy” can imply pressure to make a decision, which can make the client feel uncomfortable. They may ask to think about it or come back later. Instead, use words like “invest” or “upgrade” to emphasize value. This will reduce buyers’ remorse and instill confidence that they made a good decision to do business with you.
What good sounds like: “Our clients who invest in [name] services have seen up to X reduction in [category] spend and Y increase in department productivity.”
Using the word “honestly” can imply that previous information was untrustworthy, which can cause the client to lose confidence in your ability to deliver. Instead, use phrases like “from my experience” to show that you’re an expert in your field and that you’ve had success for other companies in a similar situation. Other words you can use are “frankly” or “to be transparent.”
What good sounds like: “From my experience with another client dealing with the same situation as you, after implementing [product name], they enhanced their business intelligence and were able to [insert result].”
The word “probably” can imply uncertainty, which can cause the client to lose trust in you. Instead, use phrases like “what would be best” to emphasize your expertise. This will help to instill confidence in the client that they’re in good hands.
What good sounds like: “What would be best is to have you meet with my account manager so that we can give you a clear idea of how that would integrate with your existing services.”
Using the word “prospects” implies that potential clients are just numbers, which can cause them not to take you seriously. Instead, call them clients or future clients to show that you view them as partners.
What good sounds like: “I have a meeting with a future client at that time. Could we schedule for X or Y instead?”
The word “obviously” can come across as condescending. Instead, use phrases like “to summarize” or “what this means for you” to explain key points. This will help the client to better understand what you’re saying and avoid any negative feelings.
What good sounds like: “What this means for you is that your company can use [product] to increase decision-making abilities by as much as [statistic].”
Using the word “cheap” implies low quality. Customers tend to shy away from things that are cheap or of poor quality. Instead, use words like “low cost” or “better investment” to emphasize value.
What good sounds like: “One of the best parts of using [product name]is that our clients know they’re making a better investment.”
Using the word “if” in sales can imply uncertainty or lack of confidence. It’s better to know who you’re reaching out to so that you’re sure they’ll be interested. Instead, use words like “when” to show that you’re confident the client will want to meet with you.
What good sounds like: “When are you available to talk about how [product name] can help you [value statement that resolves a pain point]?”
Using the word “think” can imply uncertainty, and asking what the client thinks allows them to give an excuse and get out of the conversation. Instead, tell them how you feel, ask them how they feel, or use phrases like “that’s a great idea” or “we would work well together.”
What good sounds like: “You know what, I feel that we would work well together because [insert need/pain point]. Let’s do [insert action item].”
Using the word “just” can minimize whatever comes after it, making your statements less impactful. It can also be a sign of timidness, lack of confidence, or laziness. Instead, use words like “simply,” “all you have to do is,” “only,” “no more than,” “at most,” “exactly,” “precisely,” “utterly,” “altogether,” “entirely,” “in all respects,” and more. To find a broader list, you can Google “antonyms of just” and scroll through the adverb lists that Google provides.
What good sounds like: “Hey [Name], only a few hours left before we meet with my specialist. Are you still good to meet at [time]?”
Eleven words and phrases you should use to become an expert Wordsmith
Becoming an expert wordsmith is not an easy task, but it is a critical one. The words that you use in your sales and marketing messaging can be incredibly impactful for your benefit, or for your demise. In the first part of this article, we talked about ten swear words that you should eliminate from your messaging today. These words include “contract”, “buy”, “honestly”, “probably”, “prospects”, “obviously”, “cheap”, “if”, “think”, and “just”. We provided context for each word and gave replacements for them that you can use to convey your message with greater confidence.
In this second part of the article, we will discuss eleven words and phrases that you should use to become an expert wordsmith. These words and phrases will help you convey your message effectively and make a lasting impression on your clients. The first word that we will discuss is possessive nouns vs. common pronouns.
- Possessive Nouns vs. Common Pronouns:
Using possessive nouns when discussing your products or services, your team, or the client’s pain points is important. This shows that you are personally invested in their success and that you are there to help them achieve their goals. It also helps to create a stronger connection between you and your client.
Common pronouns such as “they,” “them,” “he,” and “she” are fine when speaking generally about competitors or objects. However, when discussing your products or services, your team, or the client’s pain points, using possessive nouns such as “my,” “your,” and “our” can help to create a stronger connection with your client.
For example, instead of saying “The account manager can help you,” you can say “My account manager can help you.” This shows that you are personally invested in their success and that you are there to help them achieve their goals.
- Proposal vs. Quote:
Using the word “quote” implies that the pricing you are providing is set in stone and non-negotiable. This can be off-putting to potential clients and can make it difficult to close deals. Instead, use the word “proposal.” This implies that the pricing is open for discussion and can be tailored to fit the client’s specific needs.
For example, instead of saying “Here’s the quote for our services,” you can say “Here’s a proposal outlining our services and pricing. Let me know if there are any issues or if you have any questions.”
- Engaging Openers vs. Hope:
Starting a conversation with “I hope you’re doing well” is a common but uninspired opener. It doesn’t give the client a reason to remember you or to engage with you. Instead, try asking a question or throwing out a quick and impactful value statement. Depending on the situation, you can keep the opening casual or business-relevant.
For example, instead of saying “I hope you’re doing well,” you can say “How was your weekend?” or “What do you like the most about [relevant topic]?” This shows that you are interested in the client and their needs, and can help to create a stronger connection with them.
- Savings vs. Discount:
Using the word “discount” can have a negative connotation, suggesting that the product or service is cheap or of poor quality. Instead, use the word “savings.” This implies that the client is getting a good deal and that they are winning by doing business with you.
For example, instead of saying “We offer a 10% discount on our services,” you can say “Our clients have achieved more than [monetary value] in capital expenditure savings by using our services.”
- Premium vs. More Expensive:
Using the phrase “more expensive” can have a negative connotation, suggesting that the product or service is overpriced or not worth the cost. Instead, use the word “premium.” This implies that the product or service is of high quality and that the client is getting value for their money.
For example, instead of saying “We understand that our services are more expensive than our competitors…” you can say “We offer premium pricing on all of our services to make sure you’re getting the best return on your investment.”
- We can help vs. Our customers achieved
“We can help” is a nice phrase to use when you’re trying to offer assistance, but it’s also a bit passive and suggests that you’re new to what you’re doing. Instead of simply saying you can help, show them how you can help by offering concrete examples of how your product or service has helped other customers achieve their goals.
Using “Our customers achieved” in place of “We can help” demonstrates your expertise and success, while also showing the potential customer the value of your product or service. By providing specific examples of how your product or service has helped other customers achieve success, you are able to create a clear picture of what you can do for them.
- Following up vs. Are we still on track?
“Following up” is a weak opener and is easy to ignore. It suggests that you are simply circling back to where you started instead of making progress.
Instead of using “following up”, try a more results-oriented approach. Ask if you are still on track or in agreement, or if they are still available to meet. This shows that you are focused on progressing the conversation, not simply going back to where you started.
- Checking in vs. I’m calling because
Similar to “following up,” “checking in” is a passive phrase that suggests you are giving them all the control. Take control of the conversation by being results-oriented and progressing the conversation.
Instead of saying “checking in,” use “I’m calling because” to show them why you are reaching out. State the reason for your call, such as a new product launch or an update on their account.
- Who needs to be there? vs. Who would feel left out?
Asking “who needs to be there?” is a good question, but why settle for good when you can have better? Asking “who would feel left out if they weren’t included?” is a more refreshing way to approach the conversation.
By asking who would feel left out, you demonstrate that you care about the team’s dynamics and want to ensure everyone is included. This can help build trust and strengthen your relationship with the client.
- “Gotcha” or “Got It” vs. “Understood” or “Sounds like you’re saying”
Using “gotcha” or “got it” can come across as lazy and disengaged. It’s important to show empathy and understanding in your conversations.
Instead, use phrases like “understood” or “sounds like you’re saying” to show that you are actively listening and engaged in the conversation. This can help build trust and strengthen your relationship with the client.
- Are you interested in… vs. Do you see the value in…
Asking if someone is interested in something can be a turnoff for potential customers. It suggests that interest is the only factor in whether or not they will purchase your product or service.
Instead, focus on value. Ask if they see the value in your product or service, and show them why it is valuable. This can help build trust and strengthen your relationship with the client, while also helping them understand the benefits of your product or service.
In conclusion, effective communication is vital to the success of sales and marketing efforts. Understanding the power of words and how they impact the potential client’s perception is crucial. Avoiding swear words that decrease the chances of earning the client’s business is important, but it is equally important to master the art of messaging with positive language that emphasizes value and benefits.
The ten swear words that you should eliminate from your messaging today include “contract,” “buy,” “honestly,” “probably,” “prospects,” “obviously,” “cheap,” “if,” “think,” and “just.” On the other hand, the eleven words and phrases that you should use to become an expert wordsmith include possessive nouns, proposal vs. quote, engaging openers, savings vs. discount, premium vs. more expensive, “our customers achieved” vs. “we can help,” “are we still on track?” vs. “following up,” “I’m calling because” vs. “checking in,” “who would feel left out?” vs. “who needs to be there?,” “understood” or “sounds like you’re saying” vs. “gotcha” or “got it,” and “do you see the value in…” vs. “are you interested in…”.
By eliminating swear words and mastering the art of messaging with positive language, sales and marketing professionals can increase their chances of earning the client’s business. In doing so, they can create a stronger connection with the client and ultimately help them achieve their goals.