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Every time I work with a new sales organization, I find a few salespeople that are, well, too “sales-y”! What’s the mark of one of these old-fashioned types of salespeople?

They employ platitudes and overused expressions rather than applying solid psychological sales principles. Nothing is more off-putting to a client than an obvious script or tired technique.

Here are 7 cliches that will drive a customer away:

  • I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” Really, how can you not know? Information is available to you, your clients, and anyone with a smartphone in their pocket. It used to be that reps played innocent in the hopes of eliminating objections and possibly bringing in a higher authority. This tactic simply doesn’t work anymore. With today’s customer you must build respect as well as rapport.
  • To be honest” or “To tell you the truth.” Salespeople that drop this bomb are simply stating to the customer, “I’ve been lying up until now.” The best salespeople are fully transparent from the beginning and even share what their product won’t do. Remember this: the product doesn’t have to be perfect; it has to be better than the alternatives.
  • It’s easy to understand.” Egads! What if they don’t understand your product when you’re finished? Now the customer feels stupid. Instead, tell the customer that as they use the product over the course of the next several months they’ll learn more and about the many benefits and uses of it. People don’t have to understand a product to use and buy a product. I still don’t know how electricity works!
  • We’re the number one company/product/program in the world.” If that’s the case the customer already would have heard of you and most likely bought your product. One of my favorite Buddhist sayings is, “When the sun rises, there’s no need to announce it.”
  • I’m going to show you something you’ve never seen before.” How do you know what your client’s seen? Unless you’re selling a flying horse, refrain from using this phrase.
  • We’re having a price increase tomorrow.” Urgency isn’t created because “there are only two left.” It’s created when your customer is emotionally involved in what you’re selling.
  • I’ll send you a proposal” or “Why don’t you think about it for a while?” Hold on, cowboy! This phrase simply allows your customer to put off a decision and leaves them in limbo. Take charge. Get buy-in on price, terms and delivery, or usage date.


  • Brian makai says:

    Fantastic, Shari! Thanks so much.

  • Michael Stapleton says:

    I have long been a real fan of your company and have been surprised you have not got a permenat base or operation here in SE Asia.
    I can change all that, after 13 years full time employment here in Thailand with Absolute World,(8 as training manager) and now my own realty company, I am in an ideal position to ghead up a sales training organisation for your company, expanding into India and China as well as Indonesia and Thailand.
    Please contact me on this mail for a further discussion.
    With Best Regards,
    Mike Stapleton

  • Michael Sobel says:

    As always, refreshing and lots of new material even for us “old timers”.

  • Reji Prabhakaran says:

    Hi Sheri, These are simple but very practical tips. I had attended a short training from you in India. Look forward to meeting you again. Rgds Reji

  • Ron Edwards says:

    # 3 is my mantra! Sell them first, then tell them what they bought. (Keep it simple stupid). Learned that from you almost 20 years ago, and it seems to be the one constant in an ever changing world! Big KISS Shari. Thanks-Ron

  • Shari Levitin says:

    Universal truths still apply. Thanks, Ron!

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