During the summers in high school and college, I worked as an outbound telemarketer.
It was like a sales “sweat shop.”
For four hours each evening, I was tethered to a phone in a call center with 150 other college kids (and a few “lifers” as we called the older telemarketers), selling a vacation membership program to unsuspecting people who made the mistake of answering the phone.
“With this exclusive membership, you always get two nights for the price of one at thousands of hotels plus discounts at all major car rental companies”
Blah, blah, blah.
It was an awful form of selling. As soon as prospects would answer the phone, we would start talking aggressively, bludgeoning them with features and benefits.
There was a humorous little phrase we telemarketers used to say to each other back in those days:
“Smile, dial and push trial.”
What did that mean? The vacation membership program came with a 30-day trial. If you were not “completely satisfied,” you could get your money back as long as you cancelled in the first 30 days.
Our employer didn’t allow us to push trial, instead preferring us to sell the membership on its merits. From the telemarketers’ point of view, however, it seemed so much easier to make a sale if we could simply say, “Hey, if you don’t like it, you can always cancel it within 30 days!”
Well, our employer was correct. It’s never good to put a lot of emphasis on free trials.
In fact, a Gong study listed the term “free trial” among the worst words you can use in a sales call. Uttering the words, “free trial,” to your prospective customer decreases your likelihood of securing the next step in the sales process by five percent.
Here are the other taboo sales-call words:
- “Show you how”
- “We provide”
- “Absolutely” and “perfect”
- “Implement” and “implementation”
- “For example”
- (Your company’s name)
As I consider these worst words, a few observations come to mind.
Prospective clients don’t respond well to anything that demands a premature commitment, comes across as corny, makes them feel overwhelmed or is focused on the seller rather than the buyer.
When choosing the words you’ll say in your next sales call, use collaborative words and focus on what your client values rather than what your company offers. If you’re selling efforts are client-centric rather than seller-centric, you’re on the right track.