Weak Phrases to Avoid in Your Sales Communications

How you come across in your communications with prospects can make all the difference in moving the prospect along the buying cycle towards a sale. Whether it’s an email, text, voicemail or face-to-face meeting, the words you use communicate your posture as an expert at what you do.

Weak language will convey a lack of confidence. Conversely, strong, efficient and direct language will convey confidence and belief in the solutions you are selling.  So it’s important that you don’t diminish your expertise with weak language in written or verbal communications.

Below I share some key phrases that I suggest sales professionals avoid. I believe sales professionals tend to rely on these words as a sign of respect and humility, or simply out of habit. In my opinion, use of these phrases weakens your position in the business relationship.

I’ve also provided a before and after email. Read both and decide for yourself which one you think would represent you better.

Here are words and phrases I suggest sales professionals avoid:

1. “I know how busy you are …”

First, you don’t actually know this. Even if you do, let’s not bring attention to it. Second, everyone’s busy (or claims to be). Reminding someone how busy they are simply assures them it’s ok not to continue paying attention to you, because … well… they’re so busy.

2. “Hopefully we can …”  – OR –  “I hope we can …”

Remove the word hope and hopefully from your sales vocabulary. We don’t hope in business. (We may in private, but let’s keep that to ourselves.) Communicating that you’re relying on hope in a business transaction is like saying you’re not going to take the necessary action to make things happen. If a sales person tells me they’re hoping for something, I immediately wonder if they’re action-oriented or simply hoping for results.

3. “I’m just touching base …”  – OR –  “Just a follow-up …”

The word “just” is a diminisher word. It downplays the importance of what you’re doing. But do we really want to diminish any aspect of the sales process? This is an easy word to delete from your communications. Just stop using it. I mean, stop using it.

It can seem difficult at first to break the habit of using weak language. But over time, using empowered language will become your new habit, and you will discover how much stronger you both sound and feel as a result.

Decide for Yourself

Read the before and after examples below. If you received these emails from two different sales professionals, which one would have a greater impact on you? With which sales professional are you more likely to book a meeting?


Hi Sandy

I know how busy you are, but just wanted to send a quick follow-up to our phone call today. As promised, I’ve attached the white paper we released recently about changes in the industry. I’m hoping to be in your area in early January and would welcome a chance to meet with you then. 


Hi Sandy

Great talking with you today. Your comments about the damaging affects of the new regulations are being voiced throughout the industry. As promised, I’ve attached the white paper we released recently about changes in the industry.

You’ll want to take a look at page 10 in particular as the findings address your concerns.

I’m scheduling meetings in your area in early January. Are you available to meet on January 9th or 10th for 30 minutes? I’ll send an agenda in advance of the meeting.

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