Don’t Use “But” & Don’t Ask “How Are You”

I have a few pet peeves and you’re going to hear about two of them today. Have you ever been on a sales call when the prospect says something like, “we’ve tried products like yours and we haven’t liked the outcome?” Many salespeople, after hearing this, are poised to say something like “but our product is different..” The prospect, at hearing this, will tune out because they know what’s coming. The salesperson will offer some nifty benefit that the rep hopes will offer something different.

The truth is, this sales scenario is over once the salesperson says the word “but.” But is confrontational, it is aggressive, it tells the listener that they are wrong, it will promote an “us vs. them” discussion. DO NOT USE THE WORD BUT AS IT RELATES TO A DIFFERENT OPINION! But should be used as a conjunction in a sentence. In my opinion it should not be used at the beginning of any sentence.

Pet peeve number two relates to what a salesperson says when they place a cold call to a new prospect. Here is what the “peeve” sounds like. “Bob, this is Bill Smith from Widget Inc. How are you today?” Do you know what that sounds like? It sounds like a telemarketer! How many times have you received a call from an unknown person from a company you probably never heard of? What does this salesperson say first? Hi, Bob, this is Tom from Ajax Inc. How are you tonight?

Do you think this nimrod cares about how you are? NO! This is just a way to supposedly break the ice. When you do this as a professional salesperson you will sound like an amateur. Don’t ask your prospect how they are. If you’re going to ask them anything ask them if you’re interrupting them. At least that shows that you are courteous.

Remember-no buts and no how are yous!

The Final Thought: “But” is a word that cools many a warm impulse, stifles many a kindly thought, puts a dead stop to many a brotherly deed. No one would ever love his neighbor as himself if he listened to all the “Buts” that could be said. Edward G. Bulwer Lytton. (British politician, poet , and novelist)

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