Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Crude Phrases that destroy trust in a sales pitch

Crude Phrases that destroy trust

Crude Phrases that destroy trust in a sales pitch

Imagine these two scenarios:

You answer your home phone. A voice you don’t recognize says, “How are you today?”

You open the front door of your house in response to the door bell. A stranger smiles at you and states, “We were just in the neighbourhood.”

What’s coming next?

That’s right, a sales pitch. There’s nothing wrong with selling. That’s key to any market and critical to the survival and growth of business.

But, I find these opening lines crude, deceptive, and wasteful.

Let’s examine each of these charges.


By crude I mean that these are unpolished methods used by novices. The phrases are the first things that the person thought of without considering how they might be perceived by the prospect. As you can guess a person could be doing something for decades and still be a novice. Time and experience don’t improve your skills. Self examination, perspective-shift, study and training (or coaching) improve your skills.


This is the big crime. If you’re the seller it would be prudent to establish trust with your prospect to enable the sale. But, you’re not building trust when you start the conversation (sales pitch) with deception.

Would you trust someone who lies to you every time they talk to you?

How are these phrases deceptive? Glad you asked.

“How are you today?”

That is a greeting you might pose to a friend. The complete phrase that is normally implied is “How are you feeling today?” That’s an expression of interest in the emotional, mental, or physical health. The person might respond with, “Feeling good. I think the cold is gone.” Or “My back still hurts from that work in the garden.”

The conversation will depend on the depth of the relationship and recent exchanges. The key inference with this opening question is that the two of you have a relationship and some mutual concern about the other’s well being.

When a stranger asks you that question the inference is a lie.

My response to this opening is “Who wants to know and why?”
We were just in the neighbourhood

Perhaps you’ve told friends or family, “If you’re ever in the neighbourhood please drop by.” Perhaps you’ve received a similar invitation. It probably was a sincere invitation – to family or friends.

This invitation didn’t apply to door-to-door sales people. When they open the conversation with this line they are implying that they are friends or family.

The other implication is that because they are in the neigbourhood you are obliged to listen to them - because to do otherwise would be un-neighbourly.

My response to this opening line is “So what?”


These opening phrases waste time, opportunities and goodwill.

By opening the sales conversation with dumb phrases time is wasted because the prospect still doesn’t know what you are offering.

Opportunities can be lost because of the misdirection of these openings. The door is slammed in frustration.

Using deceptive phrases will destroy trust along with goodwill.

The closing comment on the use of these crude openings comes from the character that Marlon Brando played in the movie Apocalypse Now:

“The horror, the horror.”

What other phrases have you noticed that destroy goodwill?

Add your comments below.

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" Power Marketing on FaceBook Marketing Zoo on Twitter Share/Save/Bookmark

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