As a salesperson, you know you should never speak to your customers in certain ways. You would never adopt a condescending tone, and you wouldn’t use crude or informal language. You keep your tone and your language professional and approachable so your customers know they can trust you as a friendly authority.

However, even if you keep your words respectful, clean, and encouraging, one wrong word could drive your customers away. Certain words and phrases sound cliché or off-putting to your customers, so you should try to avoid them wherever possible. Tweet This

These cliché and off-putting words include the following.

1. Best

This word presents two problems. On the one hand, customers hear or read it all the time. Every company who comes to them will claim their products or services as the “best.” So when customers come across this word, it doesn’t mean anything to them. It won’t help you persuade customers to make a purchase.

On the other hand, if customers don’t ignore the word, they’ll become skeptical after they hear it. They don’t know who decided to give your company, product, or service the “best” label—in fact, they may assume you did it.

When they come to this conclusion, they’ll become suspicious of everything else you’ve said to them as well. Keep your authority intact by keeping this word out of your sales pitches.

2. Unique

A similar principle applies to this word. Customers hear it from every company, and they don’t know if you actually mean it. Don’t make your customers bored or doubtful—explain exactly what makes your product or service unique instead. This way, customers will come to the conclusion that you offer something unique on their own. Specificity sells better than subjective words.

3. Expert

Your company has a lot of experience, so you like to include the term “expert” in your web copy and sales pitches. However, this term could actually undermine your authority instead of bolstering it. People will hear it and immediately ask themselves, “Expert at what?”

Instead of simply saying “expert,” show customers your expertise. Tweet This Tell them about your past accomplishments. Let them read your ratings from organizations and past customers alike. You can also show off your knowledge of your industry to highlight your expertise.

4. Value

“Value” is another word that readers ignore or feel suspicious about if you don’t quantify it. If you want to tell customers that they’ll get a great service or product for little money, give them specifics. Explain what makes your product or service great, and then tell customers exactly how much they’ll pay. Let the facts speak for themselves.

5. No

No one likes to hear the word “no.” It makes you seem unhelpful, and the moment you seem unhelpful is the same moment customers become disinterested. If at all possible, find some way to say yes to your clients’ requests. Respond and interact as accommodatingly as possible. The harder you work to accommodate your customers, the more they’ll want to buy from you.

6. Can’t

Again, don’t shut your customers down. They’ve come to you with a request, and if you can’t fulfill that request, your customers will leave. Don’t tell them you can’t do anything. Do everything you can to meet their needs, even if you have to stretch outside your comfort zone. You shouldn’t do anything unreasonable for them, of course, but you should assist them wherever possible.

7. Don’t

Customers don’t like it when you tell them what to do. If you tell them not to do something, they’ll probably do the opposite. When you tell them “Don’t worry about prices,” they’ll automatically start worrying. “Don’t” makes you sound both pushy and untrustworthy, so leave it out of your sales pitches.

8. Why

When you ask any question that begins with the word “why,” customers immediately feel like they have to explain or defend themselves. This makes them feel stressed instead of comfortable, and a stressed customer tends to purchase less than a comfortable one. Even if you want to get to know your customers, don’t phrase your questions using the word “why.” You’ll keep your customers at ease if you simply ask them how you can help.

9. Honestly

Like the word “don’t,” “honestly” makes customers think the opposite of what you said. It makes customers think that you spoke dishonestly or manipulated them before, so you instantly lose credibility. Avoid this word (and its synonyms like “truthfully,” “sincerely,” or “frankly”) to maintain your persuasiveness.

10. Should

Again, customers don’t like it when you tell them what to do. This word may not seem like a command on the surface, but it implies that if customers are wise, they will go along with what you tell them. Your customers will pick up on this consciously or unconsciously, and they’ll often disobey this command so they don’t feel pushed around.


Words have a lot of power, and the right words can mean the difference between making a sale and losing a customer. Tweet This Avoid the words listed above to maintain your customers’ engagement and trust.

For more tips on improving your marketing tactics, visit our post on the secret to success in sales.




  • Josh, April 27, 2015 @ 7:37 am

    “Let the facts speak for themselves.” I love it. That’s how I feel about it. I don’t want anyone else attempting to play the role that my own brain is supposed to play. Whenever I hear a salesman use these types of words and phrases, I immediately want to say, “I can think for myself, thank you!”

  • Maria Williams, April 27, 2015 @ 4:11 pm

    For me to be a good sales person needs with the fact that you need to know your product, and know how to talk with the clients. Words can make a huge different and have to be really carefully with every word you say to your customers. Also, the product is good ! then you should let the product and it’s value to speak for itself.

  • Lindsey Potter, April 30, 2015 @ 9:50 am

    This is great. I don’t want my salesman telling me the product is the “best” or has the most “value”. Tell me about your product with real facts and information and let me infer for myself that you are selling the best product with the most value. It you are trying to persuade me, I shut down immediately (even if what the salesman is saying is true).

  • Steven Spencer, May 28, 2015 @ 5:39 pm

    I am guilty of using “Honestly” too much, and this is just confirmation that I need to get it out of my vocabulary. Even if you are not selling a physical product, we are ALL salesmen. We are always trying to sell an idea, a point-of-view, a feeling or even an attitude.

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