The Top 10 Most Annoying Things Salespeople Say That Turn Off Prospects

February 27, 2017

Top salespeople have a secret. That secret is knowing the right words, questions and phrases to use when interacting with a prospect to help the prospect while at the same time optimizing their chances at making a sale. And just as top salespeople know what to say, they also know what not to say. In this blog post we discuss common sales phrase cliches that salespeople often use that can lead to them irritating a prospect and losing a sale.

“Just Checking In”

In most cases, when a salesperson is "just checking in", it is because the prospect did not respond to the salesperson's voicemail or reply their email. In some cases, the prospect did not show up for their scheduled appointment. You should avoid using the "just checking in" approach and instead try to get a clear buy-in commitment from your prospect during your interactions with them. However, if you are "just checking in" without a scheduled appointment or call, then you need to be more creative and add value to your call. The value addition depends on the extent of the sales funnel and your prospect's needs and interests. If it is early in the sales cycle, then you should offer a useful tip to the prospect or ask insightful questions. 

“Thank You for Your Time” 

This is one of the most common phrases used by salespeople and it should be avoided completely. You should never thank a prospect for their time. In simple terms, when you thank them for their time it means you see their time as being more valuable than yours. This immediately puts you in a weak position as being a less valuable person than your prospect.  People buy from people they respect and have confidence in. It is difficult to respect and feel confident about a person who positions themself as being unimportant.

“Touching Base”

This weak phrase is very popular, especially when salespeople are waiting for a prospect to make a buying decision. To avoid this annoying cliche, work on improving your closing skills to get the prospect to sign the contract during your meeting with them. If the prospect cannot sign the contract due to a legitimate reason, then you should schedule another meeting or conference call.

“Do You Have a Budget For This?”

Because of the Internet, modern buyers are more empowered with information about your product and your competitors' products. They know what they want based on the challenges they are facing in their life or business. Furthermore, pricing information is readily available online for most services and products. Therefore, asking a prospect whether they have a budget for your product or service can be insulting as it makes people feel that you think they cannot afford your product or service or they are too dumb to know what it costs. You should only ask about budget after establishing value and agreeing on the ROI of your product. 

“I Wanted To”

This is one of the most annoying phrases used by salespeople. The truth is, your prospects don’t care about you and they don't care about what you want. They only care about their needs as well as their own agenda. Most salespeople make this call, whenever they are trying to introduce a topic or an agenda. You should avoid it entirely and replace it with something like, “would you like to…” If you fear that they will reject your approach, involve them during the agenda setting process so they feel involved and more in control.

“I Don’t Want to Waste Your Time”

Some salespeople say this when they think their product or service may not be a good fit for their prospect's needs. This approach creates a dead end for the sale as you are basically giving up on the prospect and the sale.  However, you need to ask yourself if you are making an incorrect assumption about the prospect's needs. Your prospect knows what he/she wants. If your prospect thinks your product is a good fit for their needs, do not stand in their way. Be careful about making incorrect assumptions about what your prospects wants or does not want.

“Are You the Decision Maker?”

In today’s corporate environment there are numerous decision makers and often it is a committee that will make a final buying decision. So, Instead of asking your prospect if he/she is the decision maker, ask how their organization makes final buying decisions. Your prospect will then tell you the process their company uses for buying new products or services and the steps you need to take.

“You Can Trust Me”

If your prospect is not paying attention to you, avoiding you, or just being rude to you, it is most likely because they don’t trust you. It is a fact of life that many people do not trust salespeople due to how salespeople are represented on TV or because of bad experiences the prospect may have had with salespeople in the past. The wrong thing to do is to tell your prospect to trust you. In fact, by telling your prospect to trust you, you are making them doubt you even more. Instead, build natural trust and credibility by asking good questions and being sincere about wanting to help them. So, instead of asking them to trust you, behave like a caring and trusting friend so they naturally begin to trust you.

“That Is Not My Department”

You should take full responsibility for helping your prospects and clients with any questions and problems they may have. Don't pass the buck telling them it is not your department and that they need to call a different department at your company. You need to make that call for them and help them in any way you can. It is going the extra mile that creates the best and most long term business relationships between you and your clients. So, go the extra mile knowing that by doing so you are becoming a trusted and valuable friend to your client, which will likely lead to that client buying more from you in the future and telling their friends, family, and colleagues to do business with YOU.

“I Don’t Use This Myself”

How do you expect to build credibility and excitement for the product you are selling if you don’t use the product yourself? Confessing to the buyer that you don’t use the product you are trying to sell to them means that you don’t see value in it. You are also indirectly telling the prospect that they will probably not receive value from your product either. If you want to truly understand how the product you are selling helps people, you need to use the product yourself so you can experience both its benefits and any weaknesses it may have. If you don't like the product you sell, you will not be a good salesperson, and you should honestly find a different product to sell at a different company--a product you personally use and love and that you know people will receive value from it.


If you have been using the cliche phrases discussed in this blog post, it's time to stop and start using the alternatives. By doing so you will see your sales increase.  


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