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Your Salespeople Unintentionally Kill Their Credibility When They Say……- Sandler Training

Hamish Knox

Sandler Training



Written by Hamish Knox; President of Sandler in Calgary, Canada

Creating accountable, sales focused organizations in Calgary



In sales you don’t have to be dramatically different than your competition to win, only slightly different.

Unfortunately, slight differences can also cause your salespeople to lose business by unintentionally killing their credibility with their prospects and clients.

Below are four common phrases your salespeople use to mean well, avoid “damaging a relationship” or make a prospect feel okay that actually hurt their chances of earning that prospect’s business.

  1. “No problem” – an “ah-hah” from my Sales Mastery group recently. When your salesperson says “no problem” to a prospect when they say they didn’t keep a commitment, like bringing specific information to your meeting, they kill their credibility and Equal Business Stature. They said “no problem” because they didn’t want their prospect to feel uncomfortable, but what their prospect heard was “I can pay lip service to this salesperson with no consequences.” There’s probably a legitimate reason why they didn’t keep their commitment so gently hold them accountable by saying something like, “these things happen. How do we get that information?”
  2. “Is it…” – one of David Sandler’s rules was “no begging – for business or appointments.” Starting a question with “is it” (e.g. is it okay if I ask you…) is begging your prospect for permission and is I-centred instead of prospect-centred. Instead use “are you,” (e.g. are you okay if I ask you…) which puts the pressure on your prospect, but makes them feel important because what they hear is “they want my opinion so I must be important.”
  3. “Can” or “could” – these are also “begging” words (e.g. “can we get the budget for your project” or “could we speak with the other members of the committee”). Replace your “can”s and “could”s we “how” (e.g. “how do we get the entire committee in the room”) because “how” triggers your prospect to think for a moment instead of just snapping back a “no” to your “can” or “could” question.
  4. “Just” – also an Equal Business Stature killer. has a great articleon why leaders should stop using “just.” Their first point on “just” includes “the ugly side of just is when it’s used to diminish the importance or difficulty of an activity.” So when your salesperson calls a prospect and is “just following up on the proposal we sent last week,” they are minimizing their importance in the eyes of their prospect.

You may feel like these suggestions are semantics. That’s fair. Keep in mind that human beings are still animals and animals are wired to make judgments based on feelings not words. The words above trigger feelings in your prospect that they will likely never verbalize to your salesperson, but will be the real reason they choose not to work with your company.

A cliché in sport is “we play how we practice.” The best time for you to identify that your salespeople use these phrases is during role play.

As their sales leader you aren’t the language police. Your salespeople will use one or more of those phrases even after you start coaching them to stop because they are comfortable with using those words.

In addition to role play, suggest that they track the number of times they use those words on a prospecting call or discovery meeting and commit to reducing that number each week. What you’ll find is the simple act of tracking will make them more aware of their word choices and their brains will rewire to avoid using those unintentional credibility killing phrases.

Until next time… go lead.

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Upcoming Workshop:

Building a High Performance Sales Culture

Align your people, processes and sales culture to consistently achieve maximum results.


Thursday September 7, 2017 from 11:30AM-2:30PM

Click to register online or register by phone on 403-457-1507.

Successfully filling an open position requires the skill to develop an accurate job profile and identify the skills, habits, attitude, and other abilities required to effectively and efficiently carry out the functions of the position.

Workshop facilitated by Hamish Knox of Sandler Training and Lynee Miller of the Devine Group.

Investment includes – 3 hour workshop, Playbook for recruiting, hiring and onboarding A-players, lunch and a copy of “Winning from Failing – Build and Lead a Corporate Learning Culture for High Performance” by Sandler Trainer, Josh Seibert.

Are you:

  • A Chief Executive, Owner or President who seeks sustainable top and bottom line growth for your business?
  • Do you wonder how to build a team with the right attitudes and behaviors to succeed?
  • Seeking to hire the right people?

You’ll Leave With:

  • A playbook for hiring, recruiting and onboarding employees.
  • A roadmap to properly manage, supervise and motivate your people for growth.
  • Coaching plans to improve individual and team performance.
  • An easy and efficient process for identifying key competencies that are aligned to company performance.

Attract, Retain and Train High Quality Employees

Click to register online or call (403) 457-1507 to register by phone.

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