“Can I send you some information?” “Does that make sense?” “Feel free to call me at …”
If any of these common phrases are in heavy rotation at your business when you reach out to B2B prospects or consult with wedding clients, watch out: They’re three of nearly 50 phrases that can inadvertently irritate customers and close the door on sales.
That’s according to Geoffery James, a contributing editor at Inc.com, who compiled the list of 47 words and expressions after mulling over how much he dislikes pat, cliched phrases such as “We’re excited to announce…” (Why the preamble? Just announce the new product or event.)
- “Are you the decision-maker?” Why: slightly insulting.
- “But wait, there’s more!” Why: Hackneyed.
- “Buy now and save.” Why: Way corny.
- “Can I send you some information?” Why: Nobody wants more information.
- “Can I tell you about…?” Why: See No. 4.
- “Could you direct me to the right point of contact?” Why: You’re being a pest.
- “…offer you a discount.” Why: “discount” implies cheap (in the bad sense.)
- “Limited-Time Offer” Why: Obviously manipulative.
- “Do you have budget for this?” Why: Too crude in “me want make sale” way.
- “Does that make sense?” Why: Too obviously fishing for a “yes” to build momentum.
- “Feel free to call me at…” Why: People know salespeople will take their calls.
- “For more information…” Why: Again, nobody wants more information.
- “Frankly,…” Why: So, you were lying up until now?
- “Have you heard about us?” Why: If you have to ask, they haven’t.
- “Highest quality…” Why: Unprovable and everybody says it so, meh.
“Some of the items below are simply bad writing, others are out-of-date, and still others are strategic mistakes of the ‘oops, I accidentally told the truth’ variety,” James writes.
Here are 15 phrases James suggests losing — along with his take on why they are so ineffective.
Check out the full list from James here. Looking to purge other words that irk from your vocabulary (and your staff’s) as you head into fall? “No problem” instead of “you’re welcome” is one swap that often annoys some customers.
Read more B2B sales-building tips — that extend far beyond vocabulary — from florists with thriving businesses in the August issue of Floral Management.
Mary Westbrook is the editor in chief of Floral Management magazine.