I’m not big on definitives.  Interests change, opinions change, priorities change over time.  But if there’s any constant in sales, it’s certain words and phrases that never work.

Do yourself a favor and do a search through your sales materials (email templates, call scripts, playbooks) and think carefully about whether these are working for you or against you.

  • Assigned: I continue to be surprised how many reps start their email by telling me they’ve been “assigned to my account.”  Assignments are for school and detention, not for prospecting.
  • Touching Base: There may be no two-word phrase with less value embedded than this one.  I’ve been guilty of using it in the past too, but it’s lazy.  Even “following up” is better than this (don’t use that one either).
  • I Need: In fact, try to eliminate as many uses of the words “I” and “we” from your sales and marketing copy.  Say “you” more often.
  • I’m Sorry: If you are apologizing for the interruption or follow-up email, that tells me you know it’s actually not that valuable.
  • I Hope You Don’t Mind: Same.
  • You Didn’t…: This is usually followed by words like “respond”, “read”, etc.  But this phrase immediately puts me on the defensive.  If you’re trying to make me feel bad to get a response, it’s not working.
  • I Saw That You Are…: This feels like personalization but I don’t really care how you found me or segmented me.  And the more time you take up front telling me how you found me, the more likely you’re going to lose me to the delete button before I get to the (potentially) good stuff.

I could probably write this post with different words and phrases every week.  But if you start creating messages that put the prospect’s true interest first and foremost, you’ll eliminate these and future bad words/phrases from the get-go.