Eight Words or Phrases Hurting Your Credibility

Okay, finally my world is getting back to normal after the lost of my computer. There appears to be bad people in many places. However, this is not the subject of the day.

In recent discussions with various buyer types I have learned they have “red flagged” certain words or phrases and immediately assume the b2b sales person is only trying to “sell” them a product or service. They go further and state these terms in their opinion is fluff or smoke for the b2b sales person’s mirrors.

So, I began to ask about the words they believe are negative relative to building a trust based relationship. Some of the terms are obvious and a couple truly surprised me, yet, I feel these buyer types were truthful and if it is their perception – then it is real for them.

Here are the eight words you may want to stop using when talking with your customers today…

  1. Best of Breed
    Just how do you prove this statement? Breed? Are you talking about animals? Animals would be the only time to use this phrase as you should have documentation to prove it.
  2. Unequaled
    Again, unequaled to what? How do you prove this statement without making some very strong assumptions.
  3. Leading or Cutting Edge
    Unless you have an R & D group turning out innovative new products and services every quarter, well, again how do you prove this statement? Industry changing innovation could be a term to use, and you must be prepared to prove it with hard facts and data.
  4. State of the Art
    Really? Who makes this choice for you? Again, how do your prove this statement to a customer or prospect? A testimonial is the closest you will get to proving this and the source needs to be a well known and established company talking about how you changed their game in the marketplace.
  5. Industry Leader
    This could be proved if you have independently generated market share percentages to prove your statement. Yet, even this could be misleading without a track record of innovation and creativity in the market.
  6. World Class
    Seriously? Are you selling your product or service all over the world with a dominate position in the marketplace around the globe? Limit your puffing to areas where you have explicit data to back up your claim.
  7. Unique or uniquely qualified
    Unique is a term that is overused by every company and sales person I meet. And, managers and executives all feel their company is unique and totally different from everyone else in the marketplace. Sorry to tell you, Charlie – unless the customer decides your solution or offering is unique it is not unique. Oh, yes, who determines if someone or something is uniquely qualified? This is usually totally subjective and the data is hard to find to prove it.
  8. Leveraged
    Who or what is leveraged? While it is true you could be leveraging a deal with partners or a joint venture, I doubt if you are leveraging the customer’s position. Remember, it is the customer’s opinion and perceptions that count – not yours. So stick to the facts and the emotional reasons the customer desires change to make more positive results.

There you have the eight words, phrases or terms you will need to cut out of your customer conversations. If you choose to use these words you will create a credibility gap with your customer or prospect which can be very difficult to correct. Once a customer creates a perception of your credibility or honesty, it is set in the equivalent of concrete and very different to change.

Therefore, no fluff or puffing when talking about you, your company or your products – which quite frankly you should not be talking about very often anyway. The best sales people stay away from the presentation or telling game and use the Questioning Model of b2b sales to learn more about the customer.

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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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