Words That Undermine Your Credibility In SalesOur words can either help or hinder our sales efforts. The right words can ease our buyer’s fears, stoke their excitement, and move them to action. The wrong words can annoy prospects, insult them, and even scare them off.

Some of the most dangerous words, though, are words we’re not even aware we’re using. They’re called “crutch words.”

Crutch words are words we consistently use to
• fill space
• begin sentences
• end sentences
• add emphasis

They’re verbal tics we pick up at a young age and use so often we don’t even realize it.

And they’re hurting your credibility every time one comes out of your mouth.

What exactly are they? Here are 16 of the most common:

1. Right
2. You know
3. Like
4. So
5. Honestly (along with frankly, truthfully, to tell you the truth, to be completely honest with you)
6. Um
7. Uh
8. Okay
9. Well
10. Just
11. Basically
12. Literally
13. Really
14. Very
15. Anyway
16. Know what I mean

Because these are weak words and phrases, every one of them causes you to sound less credible, especially when you use them frequently, as most of us do. And the damage gets compounded when using them in combination: “Okay, well, basically….”

As you read this list, you probably thought of various people in your life who use these words constantly: The person who starts every sentence with “So” or “Well.” The person who ends every sentence with “right?” or “you know?” The person who uses the word “literally” in literally every sentence.

You also probably thought to yourself, “Ha! I don’t use any of those words.” Except that you do. You simply don’t realize it, because we all hear what we think we say, not what we actually say.

Record yourself delivering a sales presentation. Or ask someone to record you in conversation when not aware of it. Or ask people who know you well if you use any crutch words. I guarantee you’ll be astonished by what you hear.

Once you’re aware of your crutch words, you can work on eliminating them. Be cognizant of the words you’re using as you’re speaking. Start your sentences with a real word, not filler. End your sentences with confidence, not by trailing off (so….) or seeking confirmation (“know what I mean?”). Pause instead of saying “um” or “uh.”

Strong communication skills are vital to success in sales, as well as in customer service, leadership, and other areas of business. Make sure the words you use in conversations and presentations enhance your credibility, not sabotage it.

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