No matter what your job title says, if you are owner of a small business, an important part of your job will always include selling. Be ready for a pitch when someone asks, “What does your company do?” And beware of the seven words you should NEVER use if you want to make a sale. Here they are:


For some reason, a burst of humility occurs when some people talk about their product or service. “We’re just a…” does not sound humble, it’s sounds like you are apologizing. “I’m just calling …” does not sound like a phone call opening that anyone wants to continue. Tip: Just drop the word just.


No matter how you say it, or in what context, saying “probably” sounds like you are avoiding something. Tip: If you don’t know for sure, say, “I will research that and get back with the information immediately.”

“Maybe” or “May” 

As with “probably,” these words make you sound as if you’re afraid to commit. People want you to express confidence in your product or service. They want you to tell them something “will” do something, not that it “may.”

“I’ll have to …” 

Whenever a potential buyer can put you in a position where they can move away, you’ve likely lost the chance for a sale. “Having to” do anything is a pause in the sales process that allows the prospect to disengage. Tip: Say instead, “I’ve added that to the items I will immediately track down and provide you.”


Even people who purchase expensive things want to believe they are getting great value for their money. Tip: Focus on value, return on investment and outcome.


Listen to yourself the next time you’re pitching new business. Hear yourself when you say, “If you select our firm.” Tip: Say it this way, “When you select our firm.”’


Too often when selling, we refer to the reasons to purchase a product in terms of “wants,” as in, “I know you want a better way to catch a mouse.” Tip: Say “need” instead of “want.” “You need to keep your children away from the diseases spread by mice, therefore you need our better mousetrap.”


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