One Three-Letter Word can Derail a Sales Presentation

man-holding-hands-over-ears-medThis seems too simple to really make a difference.

Actually, it makes a very big difference.

There is one word, used in everyday conversation, which can derail an otherwise perfect sales presentation.

This one little word is often used when responding to an objection, but it can ruin everything else you say.

Words Matter

How quickly you capture a customer’s attention depends on how carefully you choose your words, according to Maura Schreier-Fleming, author of “Real-World Selling for Out of this World Results.”

Schreier-Fleming recommends staying away from one particular word.

Avoid This Word

“If a customer has a concern, our job as salespeople is to listen, to acknowledge and to hear that concern.

“Using the word ‘but‘ negates everything you’ve said before it,” warns Schreier-Fleming.

“What your customer hears is the disagreement that precedes an argument.”

Instead, first acknowledge the concern and follow with the word “and.”

For example, your customer might comment that the process you recommend sounds complicated.

You would respond:

“Yes, it is complicated and with our technical assistance . . . ”

Think about how much better the word “and” sounds – in the sentence above – instead of the word “but.”


“We are happy with our current vendor.”

When hearing this objection, some salespeople begin their response with “Yes, but we can offer you a lower price” or better quality products, or faster delivery, etc.

A more effective way to handle this objection is to use a soft-sell response without the word “but.”

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5 Cold Calling Mistakes

Watching a business associate listening to a cold call prompted this article.

When the phone rang, he picked it up and listened.  After what seemed like 30 minutes of listening (it was probably only five minutes, but still too long) he finally said: “I don’t need any” and hung up.

Whoever phoned him was obviously just reading a script and talking about whatever products he wanted to sell.  Borrrring. :(

5 Cold Calling Mistakes + Tips to Keep the Prospect Interested

Mistake #1. Not researching the prospect and business you are calling.

Tip:  Do some research on the prospect and her/his company before you call.

Spending a few minutes on research will yield big results.

Otherwise s/he will know that you are just “smiling and dialing” randomly.

It’s so simple these days to obtain good solid information on a prospect prior to picking up the phone.

Google the prospect’s name or check and you can get really useful information.

Mistake #2. Not Asking questions.

Tip:  If you take the time to ask questions to find out what the prospect needs and what is important to her, you will get honest answers.

If you don’t bother to ask these questions, how can you uncover needs and pains?

How can you try to sell something when you don’t even know what the prospect needs or wants?

Without asking questions, it sounds like you’re just in it for the sale, your quota and your paycheck.

Asking questions the right way prompts a conversation instead of a monologue.

Open-ended questions keep the prospect on the phone with you longer. It works like magic.

Mistake #3. Not Listening to answers.

Tip: If the prospect has something to share, stop talking long enough to listen.

Really listen, don’t just hear the words.

Mistake #4. Don’t say you “will be in the area.”

There is nothing worse than hearing those words from a cold caller.

That sales technique went out in the 80′s.

It is one of the fastest, most effective ways to induce a hang-up in record-breaking time and shut down the call.

Tip:  Be honest and ask to set up an appointment if there is any interest.

Mistake #5. Not using the prospect’s name.

There’s no sweeter music to the ears for most people than the sound of their own name.

Tip:  Don’t use his name too often because you will sound like a pushy sales person.

Remember that we are all subconsciously conditioned to respond with openness to our name and a question.

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