13 Words and Phrases to Avoid in Sales

Prospecting takes a lot of work. Once you have a prospect face-to-face or on the phone, don’t ruin a potential sale by using easily avoidable words and phrases. In some instances, certain buzzwords can be off-putting for prospects; so much so, that they’ll seek services elsewhere.

It’s best to know which words/phrases to avoid when talking to potential clients, especially if it can kill a sale. Check out the list below for the most common words/phrases that don’t sit well with prospects:

1. “Customer”

While the people you’re serving are technically customers, the word “customer” isn’t a very personable word. Instead, use the word “client” because it places more importance on prospects, making them feel valued.

2. Acronyms

Most clients will not understand health insurance vernacular, especially acronyms. Therefore, it’s best to avoid them or spell out what they mean. Using language that only you know means you aren’t relating to your clients; you may, in fact, be embarrassing them by making them feel incompetent.

3. “Commission”

Mentioning your paycheck to a client lacks class. Moreover, it reminds them that you’re getting paid to help them with their insurance needs. As a result, they may think that you’re only looking out for your own interests. More than likely, your client already knows you benefit from helping them so it’s best not to bring it up.

4. “I would like to…”

Avoid first person as much as possible. It puts the focus on you and makes the client, again, feel like you’re only looking out for yourself. Instead make the conversation customer-centric by creating a sense of partnership with the client. Drop the I/you dynamic and become a “we.” For example, replace “I would like to go through a, b, and c” with “To make the most of our time together, let’s set a game plan – a, b, and c.”

5. “Cheap”

Saying something is cheap is completely subjective. If you call an insurance policy cheap but your client disagrees with that observation, then you’ve created an awkward situation in which you may have just lost a sale. Use the phrase “relatively inexpensive” instead of “cheap.”

6. “Free”

Saying an insurance plan is “free” will potentially lead to a frustrated client down the road. For instance, if you’re presenting a zero premium plan, don’t tell your client that it’s “free.” Call it what it is – a zero premium plan.

7. “Buy/Purchase”

Though it is important that your clients know how much they’re paying for an insurance policy, try not to sound too pushy by using words like “buy” and “purchase.” Create a comfortable environment for clients by letting them know that you’re here to help and not corner them into a sale. Use words like “enroll” or “invest.” These words are more professional, and as such clients will place more trust in you as a professional.

8. “Maybe/Perhaps/Possibly/Probably” or “I don’t know…”

Words like these can make an agent look unknowledgeable or unprepared. However, if these words are followed up with an action plan, then you’re assuring your clients that you’ll do everything you can to help them. For example: “Maybe, but to be sure let me call the company real quick.”

Likewise, if you don’t know the answer to one of their questions, applaud them for their thoroughness and deliver a plan of action. Example: “I don’t know, but that’s a good question. If you give me a moment, I can make a call to find the answer for you.”

9. “Obviously”

This word can go one of two ways, and neither direction is good. Clients will either think they don’t need your services since the information you’re providing is common knowledge. Or, clients will feel insulted because you’re assuming they should know something already. It’s never a good idea to make a client feel incompetent. The filler phrase “you know” also has the same effect.

10. “Honestly”

Interestingly, the word “honestly” can instill a sense of distrust towards you because clients will subconsciously think you weren’t being honest with them from the start.

11. “Satisfaction Guaranteed”

Promising a client’s satisfaction has become overused in the sales industry. As a result, it sounds like an annoying infomercial, which effectually lowers an agent’s professionalism.

12. “Best-Seller”

While a product may generally be a best-seller, it does not mean it’s the best option for your client. Make your client feel like they have options instead of pushing them towards a product that other people have chosen. Unless a client requests the most popular plan, avoid promoting something as a best-seller.

13. “You should…”

Again, it’s best not to be too pushy and make your client feel cornered. Present all their options very clearly so that they’re informed to make the best decision for them. Guide them to the right choice, don’t push them towards it.

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