4 years ago
March 3, 2020

Yikes! Never Say These 9 Phrases on a Sales Call

What you say matters in sales. It matters a lot. All it takes is one slip of the tongue and you could go from potentially closing a deal to losing…

Rhys Metler

What you say matters in sales. It matters a lot. All it takes is one slip of the tongue and you could go from potentially closing a deal to losing a prospect.

It goes without saying that the words and phrases you use on your sales call will set the tone, so choose your words carefully.

“Sales is a language game. Salespeople use words to demonstrate value, identify business pain, create a sense of urgency, and close deals.

“Unfortunately, many salespeople also use words to ruin their chances of winning a deal.

Too much of sales depends on chance. Don’t lose a deal because you weren’t careful with your words,” says Leslie Ye on the HubSpot blog.

Never Say These 9 Phrases on a Sales Call

To help you avoid saying the wrong thing on your next sales call, our Toronto sales headhunters have put together this list of phrases that could stop a deal dead in its tracks.

DO NOT utter the following phrases on a sales call:

1. To be honest with you…

On the surface, this is an innocent phrase, but it could set off red flags in a prospect’s mind. Why? It insinuates that you may not have been completely upfront in the past. Many salespeople use this phrase as a way to say they are giving a prospect some insightful or insider information. But it could actually hurt your credibility, so remove it from your vocabulary.

Toronto sales recruiters advise staying away from the phrase "to be honest"

2. Let’s assume…

Never assume. NEVER. If you make assumptions about a prospect’s needs, timelines, or situation, you run the risk offering the wrong type of solution. Don’t try to fill in the gaps yourself. If you are not sure, ask. You are better off asking for clarification than making an assumption.

3. It’s easy

Saying something is easy could be setting yourself up for failure. Never assume that a prospect will find anything easy. Never say understanding your solution, using your products or even following a process is easy. Even though you are trying to reassure your prospect, what happens if they don’t find it easy? You could make them feel embarrassed. This could negatively impact your progression on the deal.

4. Can you tell me more about your organization?

All sales professionals have the resources to learn about their prospects. Company websites, press releases, blogs, industry news, and other sources online can provide you with most of the basic information you will need to understand a prospect. Your customers also don’t have the time or desire to educate you about their company. If you can’t bother to put in the time, you could turn off a prospect, and they could disengage. Don’t make this mistake. Do your homework.

5. Product XYZ is no good

Talking poorly about a competitor or their products is not how you differentiate your company or sales solution. When you speak badly about others, people take note. It can make your prospect feel uneasy. What if the prospect has a relationship with the competitor? What if they’ve used their products in the past? If you need to run down someone else to make your sales solution seem better, you will not be in a good position to win over prospects.

6. You should…

No one likes to feel like they are being told what to do. Saying “you should” can make a prospect feel this way. When this happens, you can put them on the defensive, especially if you do not know them very well. Saying this can make you come off pushy or as a know-it-all. Avoid saying these words on your next call.

7. Is now a good time to talk?

While it’s always a good idea to respect a prospect’s time, asking this question gives them an out. When you ask a yes or no question, the prospect can say no. If they say no, the conversation is dead. Rather than posing this as a question, express that you are happy to have connected.

8. Do you have decision-making authority?

As a sales rep, you want to speak with people who have the authority to make important decisions. Many reps will flat out ask a prospect if they are the final decision maker. But when you ask this question you could unintentionally offend the prospect. If they are not the decision-maker, you could make them feel awkward and not worthy of speaking to. If they are, you could offend them because you were unclear about their position and authority.

9. I need to close this deal

Avoid letting a customer know too much about your sales situation. Saying this phrase will make you seem desperate and will give the customer additional leverage when negotiating the deal. You are also making the deal about you, while you should be focusing on helping the customer.

More Sales Call Advice From Toronto Sales Recruiters

No matter where you are in your career and how good you are at sales, there is always room for improvement. In addition to providing you with tips for phrases to avoid, here are some additional blogs from our Toronto sales recruiters. Learn about how to follow-up, salvage deals, mistakes to avoid, how to retain current customers, and much more.

How to Make the Best Follow-up Sales Call and Close the Deal

5 Words (or Phrases) to Avoid When Dealing with an Angry Sales Customer

Don’t Give Up! 4 Ways to Salvage a Sale

To Send or Not to Send? 5 Tips to Use Texting as a Sales Tool

8 of the Most Common Sales Mistakes to Avoid

6 Highly Effective Ways to Keep Customers Coming Back

5 Ways to Say “I’m Sorry” to Customers When a Sale Goes Wrong


SalesForce Search is a sales recruiting company which specializes in the recruitment and placement of sales professionals. We recruit salespeople in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. Find the right salesperson for your organization, start your search here.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.