13 Words You Need to Avoid in Sales

Actionable, results, excellence – these words may all seem positive and compelling, but they may actually be turning people away from you and your product.  Some of these common words have been so overused that they have lost their meaning – and now they just sound like filler at best and lies at their worst.  Some don’t mean what you think they mean and others never really had much meaning in the first place .  See how many of the following words you regularly use in your sales or marketing vocabulary, then try to find more original, attention-grabbing words to use instead.

1. Leading

In sales, this word usually has no basis in fact.  There was no contest to see who leads your industry; you just decided it was you.  Stay away from the kinds of words that sound nice but don’t have any basis in reality.

2. Actionable

According to dictionary.com , actionable means: 1) furnishing ground for a lawsuit 2) liable to a lawsuit 3) ready to go or be put into action; ready for use.  Don’t use a word whose meaning you don’t fully understand – you will seem ignorant if you use a predominantly negative word that sounds positive to promote your product.

3. User experience

This is a very vague term.  Instead of talking about the user experience, give your leads specific anecdotes from past customers and demonstrate how your product will help them.  Saying you have a positive user experience doesn’t really tell your customer anything about your product.

4. Results

Again, if you are going to talk about results, you need to be ready with specific examples.  Saying that you “get results” doesn’t ensure a positive outcome for your client – it just means that something will change.  Focus on what the result will be for each specific customer rather than telling them that they will get results.

5. “A” game

You can tell your client that you will bring your “A” game, but they will probably stop listening after you say it.  This phrase doesn’t really have any meaning.  Plus, you shouldn’t need to tell someone that you are working your hardest; that should be expected.

6. Honestly…

When you start your sentence with the word “honestly”, your customer will assume that you are actually being dishonest.  If you need to tell them when you are being honest, then have you been dishonest the rest of the time?  Don’t make yourself seem guilty.

7. Excellence

This word has been so overused that it actually adds no value to your product’s description.  Like “leading” you can’t measure anything to prove your excellence.  Like “A game” it will bore your prospect who has heard the word too many times already.

8. Strategic

Every approach should be strategic.  Nobody tries to solve a problem randomly.  Telling your client that you are strategic makes it seem like you are talking down to them.  They assume that your approach will be strategic, so why do you need to tell them it is?

9. Satisfaction

Tell anecdotes about satisfying your past customers, rather than just saying you guarantee satisfaction.  Besides being overused, this word is much less powerful than a story.  Your prospects will appreciate being able to imagine themselves in the place of your satisfied customers.  Prove to them that they will be satisfied instead of asking them to take your word for it.

10. Innovation

Unless your product is actually unlike anything else, don’t use this word.  It has been misused by companies that are only slightly different than the status quo, or sometimes not different at all.  Let the bio-engineers and avant-garde filmmakers keep this word for things that are actually groundbreaking – not just slightly different from the norm.

11. Premier

Like “excellence”, this word is overused to the point of meaninglessness.  Unlike “excellence”, there are already sneaker stores, health insurance companies, and bartending services named Premier.  You want to stand out, so don’t use a word that can apply to such a broad spectrum of industries.

12. Teamwork

While teamwork is important, the prospect doesn’t want to hear about it.  Work as a team, but don’t consider that to be one of your major selling points.  No one is going to use a company just because its employees work well together.  Allow your teamwork to serve your customers behind the scenes.

13. Quality

This word has unfortunately been used more by companies with poor quality than those with great quality.  Because of this, just saying the word “quality” is a huge turn-off for buyers.  They will assume that you are just like the other companies that flaunt their high quality and deliver low quality.


What are some other words you have come across your sales reps using that have proven to be ineffective? Share them in the comments below!

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