Using the right words and phrases on a sales call can have a big influence on the outcome. But what are the best sales statements to use?
Below, we give our top ten words and phrases to use on a sales call, before Michael Melhado gives us a few pointers about how agents should adapt their sales language for different types of potential customers, giving plenty of example phrases along the way.
The Top Ten Word and Phrases to Use on a Sales Call
Before we delve into the specifics of the best words to use with different types of customers, here are ten of our favourites that can be used during any sales-related interaction.
1. “Living in (City Name), we thought you might be interested to hear that…”
A personalised call opening is likely to hook the customer early. Having a “hook” in sales is key, as attaining the immediate interest of the customer is essential – especially when cold calling.
2. “That’s true, Sir/Madam, but…”
Acknowledging the customer’s concerns is a key part of sales, as justifying the customer’s response builds rapport. The next stage would then would be to demonstrate why there is no need to be concerned.
3. “I can assure you that we…”
As highlighted in our article “How to Develop Sales Focus in a Customer Service Team“, we discuss the importance of sounding confident when selling. Making assertive statements like “I can assure you” are a key part of conveying such confidence.
4. “I’m throwing in a (bonus freebie), just for you…”
Not only does everyone like a freebie, the addition of the phrase “just for you” makes the customer feel special and helps to develop a stronger relationship between the customer and the brand.
5. “We can certainly do that for you, Sir/Madam”
Again, this statement is assertive and “certainly” is a good positive word to use. This is because using words with an “-LY” ending is a little-known persuasion technique that many marketing agencies have recognised. Just think of the slogans to some of your favourite brands.
6. “The difference is that we are committed to…”
After the initial phone call, potential customers are likely to do their research. So, if agents can set your brand apart from competitors early, it can be helpful in standing out from the crowd.
7. “Let’s move forward and discuss…”
Words such as “let’s” indicate that the sales agent and the customer will move forward as a team and signpost that your company works in a structured and methodological way.
8. “When would be a suitable (delivery time/start date), Mrs Brown?”
This phrase can help to reaffirm to the customer that they are the priority and that the company is flexible in arranging its business best around their customers’ needs.
9. “I’m sorry to bother you, Sir/Madam, but I thought you would be interested to know that…”
Greetings to sales calls can be an immediate customer turn-off, especially if the sales agent uses a generic phrase such as: “Hello, my name is…”. However, starting off with an apology is more unorthodox and will engage the customer in conversation right away.
10. “Let’s see if we can put together a package that’s perfect for you…”
Making the product/service sound flexible to the best interests of the customer is an expert sales trick. This comment also helps to develop that notion of teamwork, using “we”, as in the agent and the customer as opposed to the more corporate “we”, as in the agent and the brand.
Introducing the Different Types of Potential Customers
Never underestimate the diversity of your customers. Coming as they do in a variety of ages, cultures, interests and personality types, there is no “one size fits all” sales patter that sales agents can apply.
If a sales agent is encouraged to take on this linear approach, they risk sacrificing the personal touch that so many prospective shoppers find endearing.
The trick to successful sales lies in the agent’s ability to identify the character type of each potential customer, and to quickly adapt his or her sales pitch accordingly.
We have termed the four most common types of potential customer as: “The Early Interrupter”, “The Fence-Sitter”, “The Eager Rebound” and “The Negotiator”.
Below, we examine how sales agents can identify each customer type, alter their approach and use the best suited sales words and phrases.
In addition, Michael Melhado, the Director of Luther Marketing Group, gives his expert advice to agents on how to alter their sales approach, when handling each of these customer types.
The Early Interrupter
This type of customer is likely to signal lack of interest and hang up within moments of an agent’s opening.
Hardened by irrelevant offers and telesales propositions, the Early Interrupter has the staunch resolution that any unexpected call is undoubtedly an unwanted one.
Since this type of customer is likely to signal lack of interest and hang up within moments of an agent’s opening, it is important here that agents set themselves apart from the competition as early as possible.
To do this, try adopting an unconventional sales approach, as soon as the customer’s lack of interest becomes apparent. When it comes to making a convert of the Early Interrupter, originality really is an agent’s finest ally.
By delivering your pitch openly and responding to rebuttals with as much non-aggressive, calm integrity as can be mustered, agents will demonstrate that they represent a company that really does offer something special.
Once this has been established, of course, it’s only a matter of converting the customer’s curiosity into all-out enthusiasm.
The Right Words and Phrases to Use With the Early Interrupter
As far as the agent’s “lingo” goes, continuous use of the first person singular will help enormously in distinguishing yours from the faceless corporations with which Early Interrupters are so disenchanted.
Here are some good rebuttal phrases.
“I’m sorry to bother you, Sir/Madam, but I thought you would be interested to know that…”
Opening with an apology will immediately set the agent apart from the norm.
“I’ll only take a moment of your time, Sir/Madam…”
The customer will appreciate the fact that the agent values his/her time.
“I’m calling to tell you about an offer I think will appeal to you…”
The first-person singular here lends a deeper, more personal touch to the conversation.
“This really is an extraordinarily rare offer, Mrs Brown…”
Pointing out the limited availability of the product will serve to attract the customer’s attention.
“That’s true, Sir/Madam, but…”
This demonstration of honesty will set the organisation apart from the competition and help to build a degree of trust.
Michael Melhado’s Advice on Selling to the Early Interrupter
The Early Interrupter is the most common objection that we receive. To overcome this, we tend to focus the call on them and specify that we have called them specially today because our solution is helping similar companies achieve great things and we would like to show them how they could benefit from learning more about this.
Focus on overcoming the objection rather than the person saying it.
We tend to focus on overcoming the objection rather than the person saying it. As our main goal is to achieve an appointment or generate leads, we refrain from talking too much about pricing, feature and benefits, etc.
As mentioned in a previous Call Centre Helper article, the best way to overcome this objection is to acknowledge the customer’s concern with an empathy statement, and then demonstrate how the product/service/appointment can help them nonetheless.
This acknowledge and demonstrate example is a great way to “bridge” an objection, as shown below.
The Fence Sitter
Even the most well-seasoned of agents can have difficulty in assessing their Fence-Sitter’s needs.
Ah, the Fence-Sitter – never was there a more tentative breed of customer. Ever-cautious of committing, this type of customer can be a difficult nut to crack.
As picky as they are persistent, the key to this customer’s heart will be found through the agent’s speedy ability to acquire a concrete understanding of each Fence-Sitter’s desires.
By then allowing sales agents a high degree of flexibility in adjusting the offer that’s being put forward, an organisation will gain an invaluable advantage over its rivals.
Of course, nobody is psychic, and even the most well-seasoned of agents can have difficulty in assessing their Fence-Sitter’s needs.
The Right Words and Phrases to Use With the Fence Sitter
The key here is to reassure the potential customer that the product/service that is being offered to them is better suited to their needs than any other option.
To offer this reassurance to the caller, try using the following statements.
“Living in (City Name), we thought you might be interested to hear that…”
This will give a bespoke, tailor-made feel to the call opening.
“Unlike our competitors, we’re proud to offer…”
Stated without arrogance, this will project a sense of genuine confidence in the organisation’s products/service.
“Let’s see if we can put together a package that’s perfect for you…”
Conveying an image of versatility will give the organisation an invaluable edge over its rivals.
“I understand that you don’t need (the internet/home insurance, etc.), Mrs Brown, but we’ve a brand new (TV/travel cover, etc.) package that looks just right for you…”
Showing that the company recognises the customer’s specific requirements will set it apart as a highly astute service provider.
“I can guarantee you that we…”
Weighty assertions will help to garner the sort of agent–client affinity that will likely have customers coming back for more…
Michael Melhado’s Advice on Selling to the Fence Sitter
For a Fence-Sitter, one approach could involve getting them to commit to a low-risk option that moves the sales process along.
An example of this would be sending the potential customer specific information that provides a deeper understanding of what is on offer, with a call to action.
With Fence-Sitters, the organisation and agents have to accept that the sales process may involve multiple touchpoints, e.g. case studies, literature and so on, that show how the product/service can benefit their business.
With Fence-Sitters, the organisation and agents have to accept that the sales process may involve multiple touchpoints, e.g. case studies, literature and so on.
To summarise, you have to accept everyone is different and some people will buy with little evidence, while others need more examples of how the product could benefit them.
For more on giving choices to customers, read our article: Call Control Techniques: How to Present Options to Customers
The Eager Rebound
This consumer type seeks quality of service over cheap-but-lacklustre thrills.
Though decidedly few and far between, the Eager Rebound will come as a pleasant surprise to any agent fortunate enough to come into contact with one.
Typically sick to death of their current provider, this consumer type seeks quality of service over cheap-but-lacklustre thrills.
As paradoxical as it seems, however, it’s crucial to remember that the Eager Rebound is not necessarily an easy catch.
All too often, in fact, agents misinterpret this client’s dejection as all-out desperation. This, in turn, can lead to a lapse in those all-important soft skills – the very thing the Eager Rebound was searching for in the first place.
Quite simply, this breed of customer should be treated with the very same courtesy and respect as any other potential client. You also need to add in an extra touch of gratitude, mingled cunningly into the wording.
The Right Words and Phrases to Use With the Eager Rebound
As the best way to sell to the Eager Rebound customer is to go back to basic soft-skills and courtesy statements, keeping the conversation upbeat and respectful at all times.
Here are some example phrases that will help sales agents to achieve this.
“I’m so glad you’re interested, Mrs Brown…”
Expressing the agent’s own emotions will give the call a more personal, welcoming aura.
“We can certainly do that for you, Sir/Madam”
Strong, reassuring words will impress upon the customer your commitment to going the extra mile.
“Thanks so much for giving me a moment of your time, Sir/Madam”
The customer may not have experienced this sort of gratitude in a very long time.
“When would be a suitable (delivery time/start date), Mrs Brown?”
This will demonstrate the company’s convenience-oriented work ethic.
“I’m throwing in a (bonus freebie), just for you…”
Such phrases will lend the call a pleasingly bespoke feel.
Michael Melhado’s Advice on Selling to the Eager Rebound
As they feel let down by their current supplier, the key thing for the agent to do is to build trust. The sales agent must demonstrate that they have the potential customer’s best interests at heart and that they are different from the ‘rest’ – who promise the earth, but deliver less than expected.
The sales agent must demonstrate that they have the potential customer’s best interests at heart and that they are different from the ‘rest’.
Strategies on building trust could involve demonstrating success with similar companies or taking baby steps in the sales process, so the potential customer does not feel they are being rushed into making a decision that they will later regret.
So, try using words asking them to make the decision can help. For example, “would you like to see…” or “would it be beneficial if we did…” or “how about if we …” – slower and steady will win this race.
Listening skills and using empathic words or phrases are also really important. The objection methodology “feel, felt and found” is a good tactic here.
The “feel, felt and found” tactic is further discussed in the article: 17 Things You Can Learn from the AO Contact Centre
Pitching to a Negotiator is like challenging a particularly accomplished player to a game of chess or draughts.
Pitching to a Negotiator is like challenging a particularly accomplished player to a game of chess or draughts. It can be difficult, as the Negotiator has developed a shameless knack for exploiting the market in search of a bargain.
However, you do have a trump card. The very fact that the Negotiator invests so much time in haggling with the agent is an inherent testament to his interest in the organisation’s product/service.
Since retaining good profit levels is ultimately the name of the game, it’s important here that the organisation predetermines its best-price offers – and refrains from “bettering” them, no matter what loyalty or good publicity the Negotiator offers.
The Right Words and Phrases to Use With the Negotiator
The best statements to use with a Negotiator are those that show the client that the offer on the table already represents outstanding value for money.
So, perhaps try out some of our examples below.
“We always beat our competitors on…”
This provides a subtle aura of consistency and hints at the long-term support your company offers.
“Remember, (VAT/P&P/Extended Warranty) is also included in our price”
Indirectly draws to light the possible hidden charges imposed by rivals.
“Recent surveys show that ours is the (fastest/best value/most trusted) service on the market…”
Drawing on positive statistics can give the customer a favourably subjective point of view.
“The difference is that we are committed to…”
A comparative style of language will give the customer a sense of context and will lend weight to the agent’s argument.
“Let’s move forward and discuss…”
The collective “let’s” gives a mood of cooperation and amicable partnership.
Michael Melhado’s Advice on Selling to the Negotiator
The key thing is to determine the level of interest. Are they playing power games for the sake of it, with little interest? Or are they looking to secure the best deal for their business? This is not easy, but agents should listen to their own intuition, this should give them a clue.
Ask potential customers politely, using open questions, what is important to them in making buying decisions. For example, why did they choose their existing supplier? How satisfied are they with that decision?
Power relationships can be involved with a Negotiator, so get them to think that they are making all of the key decisions or are directing the course of the call.
Power relationships can be involved with a Negotiator, so get them to think that they are making all of the key decisions or are directing the course of the call.
Ask Negotiators for their opinions and views, e.g. “What do think is the best feature of ” or “what do you think of a product than can/ could…”.
Once they have told the agent their views, the agent can then tell them how their offering could provide similar capabilities, before asking the Negotiator if they would they be interested in a meeting, demo or so on.
Now we know all the right words and phrases to use, it’s time to think about those that we should avoid. For more on this topic, read our article: The Wrong Words and Phrases to Use on a Sales Call
Originally published in September 2012. Updated in April 2018.