My Top Seven Career and Sale Killing Cliches!

I hate sales clichés! I have always really had an aversion to them – and for good reason. They lack any real value and in the end say nothing. They are just words that have been so overused that no one listens. They get lost, and I believe that they can inhibit sales and our own development because they are empty, worthless and actually have an opposite effect to what we are trying to achieve.

I have been asking people for a while what their least favorite sales clichés are, and I am now proud, excited, and amused to announce“Todd’s Prohibited Sales Cliché List of 2015” The best part of this list is that it is not exhaustive. I am SURE that there are many, many more out there, and I invite you to share them with me. Ready?

My Top Seven Sales Clichés to Avoid

(in order of how nauseous they make me AND how often I hear them)

Sales Cliche #1. “Trusted advisor.” Seriously? I think this one is the worst. People who have anything to say about anything tell me that they want to be my “trusted advisor” – and after only ONE meeting! I can’t help but wonder What makes you think that any of my trusted advisors are people that I meet right away OR that I don’t know very well? Recently, I was at a networking event and I met a fellow selling insurance plans who said to me that he had THE “secret to sales.” Needless to say, I was quite intrigued and asked him what it was. He looked at me with a perfectly straight face and replied, “I am everyone’s trusted advisor.” He then went on to let me know that he had heard that term recently in sales training and was “told” to use it with everyone.

Sales Cliche #2. “Let me be honest” and all of the derivations, including “To tell you the truth” and “Let me be frank.” What more can I say about the obvious pitfalls of using this and actually trying to keep a straight face? Do I look like someone who wakes up and says “I want to buy from someone who is dishonest”?

Sales Cliche #3. “Just between us.” UGH. This has slimy written all over it and reeks of insincerity. It then gets worse and worse with the sexist overtones such as “Just between us boys” when the audience is both male and female.

Sales Cliche #4. “Let me be sincere.” See number two. I feel like saying “Actually, I will feel much better if you are insincere with me.” I am so much more likely to buy from you or hire you. NOT. If you tell me that you are being sincere or honest, then I automatically think you are not or that what you are saying is suspect.

Sales Cliche #5. “I know….” This one is a bit more delicate and subtle. When conducting a sales campaign or a job interview or any conversation, the timing of this term is critical. If you use it too quickly, you seem as if you are not listening, and it is a way of getting your words in at the wrong time. Many times the use of “I know” indicates that you may not be listening as closely as you need to be, and it becomes a cliché and not a statement of fact.

Sales Cliche #6. “Paradigm shift.” I first heard this in the ’90s. It made me think then. It makes me kind of ill now. It is a contrived term that just makes people look at you funny and think, “What the heck did he just say?”

Sales Cliche #7. “I’m laser focused.” NO – I want to you to be only partially focused on the situation at hand. Please give me only some of your attention. Will full attention cost me more?

Want to have fun? The next time you are dealing with someone, count the number of times you hear these sales clichés and tell the person speaking that you want a discount for each occurrence. See if you can get to the point where the person will pay you to buy from him or her!

There you have it. Seven of the worse sales clichés I know…and there are literally hundreds of them. This is NOT a complete list! I am a strong believer that when you use these terms, they weaken your sales campaign and you as a person. So how do we make the same points and not use these awful terms? It’s simple – listen more, and just have a conversation and an exchange like you would with anyone you don’t feel you need to be “on” for. In other words – be yourself, and people will be more comfortable with you and more likely to buy, hire, or engage you.

What are the most irritating cliche on your list?

2 thoughts on “My Top Seven Career and Sale Killing Cliches!”

  1. Enjoyed the post. I will do my best to avoid using any of these moving forward (wish I could say that I had not used them in the past).

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