Everyone speaks in clichés sometimes, but using too many clichés can hurt your sales calls. You should be talking like YOU, not like a caricature of a “sales person.”

Instead of leaning on clichés like crutches, sales reps should aim to speak simply, clearly and sincerely. Using well-worn phrases can make prospects tune you out, and ignore you as just another B2B sales rep offering the same old thing. Say something original and different, and you’ll catch their attention.

Here are the sales clichés you should stop using right now:

“What if I told you…” (Click to Tweet)

In sales, reps often say this right before they promise something big and exciting – trying to get prospects to promise to buy right away. Unfortunately, prospects are usually suspicious when reps use this intro, because they’ve heard it before and other reps haven’t been able to deliver on their assurances. If you say, “What if I told you I could solve all of your business problems today?” The prospect probably wouldn’t believe you. That’s unfortunately what many people will be thinking about the business solution you’re about to offer. So skip the intro, and get right to the point.

“We’re a leading provider of…” (Click to Tweet)

What does it mean exactly to be leading? Unless your company is the #1 market shareholder for your product, then you shouldn’t be saying this at all. Every other company likes to claim they’re leading the market, but it’s not true and really doesn’t influence your prospect’s decision. If you want to prove that you’re a player in the industry, talk about your biggest current customers and share a relevant case study. But stop telling people you’re leading the industry, when you’re clearly not.

“To be honest…” (Click to Tweet)

Are you saying that you haven’t been honest with the prospect before this point? Saying this automatically disqualifies everything you’ve said up to then, and makes the prospect less likely to trust you. Don’t say you’re being honest, prove it to them with your words and your actions as you move forward in the buying process. Prospects will decide for themselves whether or not you’re being honest.

“This is a unique opportunity…”(Click to Tweet)

The word unique has almost ceased to have any meaning in the world of B2B sales. Every single company out there claims to have a unique product, a unique differentiator, and a unique offer just for you. Unfortunately, this means that when you tell someone this is a unique opportunity – even if it really is – they’re not going to believe it. This is yet again a case of showing, instead of telling. Explain what makes your company unique, without saying the word unique, and you’ll be much more convincing.

“You get out what you put in.” (Click to Tweet)

Like all clichés, this one has a kernel of truth at the center. The product you’re selling will only deliver results equal to how well it is used by potential customers. However, that’s not exactly something you want to emphasize to prospects. You want to show how easily your solution will help their business, not how much effort they’ll have to put into it to get results. This is definitely one to avoid.

“Give me a ring, Let’s circle back, I’ll touch base, etc.” (Click to Tweet)

These phrases are completely tired, but everyone in business continues to use them. Unfortunately in sales, saying this is not just a cliché, it’s also ineffective. If you want to make sure you can follow up with a good prospect, don’t just promise to call back or email them in the future. Book the next meeting on the calendar before you even hang up the phone. You should be saying, “When do you have time to speak with me next week?” Not vaguely promising to “circle back”. Be more proactive when you speak with prospects.

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse…” (Click to Tweet)

If you’re using this very old-school saying, you’re probably talking about money too soon on your sales call. This is a bad idea. You haven’t even convinced your prospect they want your product yet, and you’re already talking money. This means you risk losing the deal by jumping too far ahead, and are getting a little too greedy. Be patient, step back, and try to slow down the sale. Push the money discussion until they’ve already committed to buy, and you’ll find they’re more willing to listen.

“A win-win…” (Click to Tweet)

Ideally, every sales situation is a win-win. Your business wins a new customer, and the customer wins a useful new product. So why use this boring cliché to express it? You should never point out to a prospect what you’re getting out of the sale. You should be focused completely on their business and their pain points, trying to help solve their problems. Show a prospect how your product can help their company win, and you’ll never have to utter the words “win-win” again.


All of these phrases need to be retired immediately from your sales vocabulary. While clichés may seem useful at the time, they can actually hurt your sales pitch and leave prospects yawning with boredom instead of wanting to hear more. Don’t become a sales cliché yourself – start talking like a human again.

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