These Phrases Could Be Costing You Sales

You may not be aware of it, but your own personal jargon could be working against you. If you’ve been facing some rejection in the marketplace these days, it might be your phrasing. To see more success in sales, “Stop saying certain words and phrases that signal you’re there to sell something. Instead, use every word you say to portray that you’re an expert who is graciously and generously making yourself available to help them,” writes Pete Caputa of

Here are some good places to start eliminating:


The ums, uhs, and you knows have to go. Take another step forward and get rid of honestly, actually, and obviously, among others. These words are unnecessary and can make you seem as if you are stalling or unsure of what you are saying. Speaking slowly and measured will help alleviate the need most of us have to add words where they aren’t needed.

Qualifiers: Very, Really, Rather, Quite

Remember that scene in Dead Poets’ Society? Robin Williams, as Professor John Keating, tells his students to “avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose.” The next time you catch yourself using one of these words as a qualifier, do a quick check in at and build your vocabulary for the better. Your intelligence will come across, building your credibility and your client’s trust.

“Thank you for your time” and “I don’t want to waste your time”.

This one is tricky because it sounds so pleasant. While it is polite, it devalues your own expertise. Caputa writes, “When you thank them for their time, you’re implying that they did you a favor, but that’s not the way they see it. They gave you their time because you were helpful, and they’ll continue doing so if you continue to be helpful.” To offer the same formality while maintaining your authority, try swapping this phrase out for “Was this helpful to you?” or “I’m glad we could speak/meet.”

“Just checking in.”

Usually, the need to check in comes from a lack of communication from your prospect. While keeping yourself in their frame of mind is important, if you don’t add value to your communication, you may come across as desperate or greedy. To add value, try coupling your check in with something like, “I’m checking in because I had an idea that might help you,” or “I did some research after our last conversation and here’s some new information I have.”

“I think…”

When you preface a statement with “I think”, you are suggesting that this is merely opinion and not fact. Your words lose power. Consider the difference in “I think you should make an offer,” and “You should make an offer.” By losing the “think” from your vocabulary, you’re highlighting your expertise instead.