How to Avoid Sales-Speak on Your Team

Sales clichés are ubiquitous -- and they rarely help close the deal. Learn to replace those cheesy one-liners with these social selling tips.

November 9, 2014


Sales clichés are ubiquitous -- and they rarely help close the deal. Look at your stereotypical "cheesy salesperson" and you'll see these phrases pop up every so often. Their goals never revolve around the customer and their tactics appear annoying or desperate.

Popular media has ingrained this stereotype in the minds of many people – characters like Gil Gunderson from The Simpsons are clear examples of the reputation that many salespersons fight against. Relying on clichés and boilerplate tactics doesn’t help – and it risks losing the sale before it even begins.

If you catch any of your sales team members uttering these phrases during a conversation, break the cheesy salesperson cycle with these social selling tips:

What will it take to earn your business? What are your needs?

These questions exude unpreparedness and should never be used to initiate a sales conversation. Your team members should already know the answer – especially if they have done the research and tracked prospect behavior.

Instruct team members to conduct preliminary research on target prospects via LinkedIn – you’d be surprised how much they can learn from a cursory look at the main profile page. Have them focus on the following aspects as a starting point:

  • About and Contact pages – especially if they include executive bios
  • Current employees – see if someone in their current network already works for the prospect company
  • What groups/influencers do these people follow – learn what drives them to interact socially

With enough research and social listening, your team will be able to identify key prospect pain points long before initiating the sales conversation.

If I could show you (insert benefit), would you be interested?

Lacing the sales process with this question risks losing goodwill with the prospect. Your team should understand that the actual product/service should benefit the customer sufficiently without any additional sweeteners. This question assumes that the customer can only be persuaded with incentives or gifts – and that the product/service lacks enough merit to sell itself.

If your team has already done the research to identify customer needs and pain points, their sales conversations should be focused on answering those concerns.

What do you know about us?

With the wealth of information available for prospect consumption, they’ll likely know enough about your team and company before any initial connection is made. This question also has the added benefit of diverting the conversation toward your company – and away from its intended purpose of helping the prospect.

Cheesy sales strategies are far too common, and rarely result in good deals. Learn to identify these off-target tactics within your team, and encourage them with social selling best practices. Follow @LinkedInSelling  for more sales strategy insights.