Words and Phrases to avoid on a sales call

Words and phrases to avoid on a sales call if you work in a call centre

Words and Phrases to avoid on a sales call

If you find yourself working in a call centre or having to sell over the phone it can be a pretty daunting experience for the uninitiated (and untrained).

Thankfully though, you aren’t the first person who has had to tackle this challenge so it makes it easier to learn off other peoples trials and tribulations.  

And it turns out there really are some key words and phrases to avoid on a sales call if you want to achieve a successful outcome.

For this article, we are focussing on some basic introduction conversation killers you need to be aware of.

With so many traps and pitfalls to avoid during the prospecting stage, it’s a bit like negotiating a minefield – one wrong step and BANG, the solid conversational ground can disappear out from under you so you fall into a deep, dark hole leading to resistance, rejection or a hang up.

And no-one wants that, right?

So if you want to improve your success in selling over the phone make sure you avoid these common mistakes, words and phrases people making when trying to sell over the phone in an outbound/telemarketing call. 

10 Words and Phrases to avoid on a sales call

1. Is now a good time to chat?

Never allow a new prospect to defer discussions.

Trust they will say if the timing of your call is not convenient. 

Your chances of reaching them a second time are less than 20%.

2. How are you today?

Refrain from asking pointless and confronting questions during the introduction process.

This question is unprofessional and will most likely be met with silent rejection.

Furthermore, never, ever ask a closed question unless you want a NO response.

3. Budget

For most people, the word budget conjures up feelings of restraint in spending, domestic debates, sacrifice and household expenses.

Try using a phrase like ‘what is your comfortable price point’ or put the word ‘comfortable’ before the word ‘budget’ this will soften the impact.

4. Sales

Refrain from using this word at all cost.

If referring to yourself, for example, consider yourself as the resource, ‘I am your property resource/all services resource’.

This conveys you are the person to assist across all their requirements, i.e. you will connect them with all the relevant professionals they’ll need to help them reach their destination.

5. No problem or no worries

By using either of these, you are suggesting there might be a problem, or there might be worries.

Look at both these words separately – can you see it? Both are quite negative.

Try saying ‘my pleasure’ or ‘it has been a pleasure’.

6. Is this something you might be interested in?

When considering all the words and phrases to avoid on a sales call, this might have been acceptable in the 60’s but you’ll experience the sudden death of the call if you try it in current times.

7. Be careful with the word ‘Just’

Proceed with caution if you are going to use the word ‘just’.

Never use it directly before your name as it minimises your importance.

However, it is useful when you want to minimise impact, i.e. ‘Just a quick call.’

8. I am sorry that is not possible.

Never tell a client you can’t do something or mention ‘not possible/no/ impossible’, distract them with another question or advise ‘I will do my best, but experience tells me this might be a challenge. Let me come back to you on that’.

Hopefully, time will help dissipate the need for them to know the answer.

9. When would you like to receive a call?

Too big a question – way too much room for them to reject the option or fob you off, plus you’re asking them to scan their mental calendar which takes effort and again likely to result in rejection.

You must suggest two-day options, then two time periods, i.e. morning or afternoon.

At this point if they haven’t mentioned a specific time, then you call it, i.e. ‘is 10 am good for you?’

10. I am just following up from the email I sent

If you want to follow up from this same sent email for the next lifetime – keep referring to it.

When a prospective buyer doesn’t know what else to say they will likely advise they haven’t received or read the email.

Emails are not a sales tool – if anything, they are a hindrance to further communications.

If you have sent an email or a brochure by post, make quick reference to this point then, move on with the discussions.


I trust that now you are armed with words and phrases to avoid on a sales call your conversion rates will be on an upward trajectory! 

Your welcome 🙂 

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About Jonine Baker 1 Article
Jonine Baker has been researching customer journeys across a broad spectrum of industries for over thirty years.
Her passion is seeing your sales process and team delight clients and increase your profit, while handling every communication with respect, humility and professional eloquence.

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