7 hackneyed words and phrases that will doom your pitch

Red flags abound in sales and marketing emails and phone calls. If these litter your solicitations, it’s time to rethink your approach.

Words and phrases to avoid

Interests change, opinions change, priorities change over time, but if there’s any constant in sales, it’s certain words and phrases that never work.

Search your sales materials (email templates, call scripts, playbooks), and think carefully about whether these are working for you or against you:

  • Assigned: Many reps start their email by saying they’ve been “assigned to your account.”  Assignments are for school and detention, not for prospecting.
  • Touching base: There may be no two-word phrase with less embedded value than this one. It’s lazy.  Even “following up” is better than this. (Don’t use that one either.)
  • I need…: Try to eliminate uses of the words “I” and “we” from your sales and marketing copy.  Say “you” more often.
  • I’m sorry: If you are apologizing for the interruption or follow-up email, that says you know it’s not that valuable.
  • I hope you don’t mind: See previous entry.
  • You didn’t…: This is usually followed by words like “respond”, “read”, etc., but this phrase immediately puts the recipient on the defensive.  If you’re trying to make someone feel bad to get a response, it won’t work.
  • I saw that you are…: This feels like personalization, but people don’t care how you found or segmented them. The more time you take up front saying how you found them, the more likely you’re going to lose them to the delete button before they get to the (potentially) good stuff.

A version of this post first appeared on the Heinz Marketing blog.


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