You love your product. You believe in your product. And, you can sing its praises all day long. Unfortunately, nobody is listening to you. Even the most zealous and dedicated salespeople can fall into the trap of sounding too “salesy.” When you slip into salesy language and never-ending verbal pitches, eyes begin to glaze over among your audience and minds start wondering.
How do sell effectively without sounding too salesy? For many salespeople, this will require retraining your brain and how you listen to your audience. Your automatic response is likely to jump into your sales pitch anytime someone asks about your products or brand. However, you do not know anything about your audience yet, including their needs or wants. Everything you say will come off as salesy and disingenuous.
If you feel like you are constantly pitching your products or services without closing deals, it is time to make a change. By learning how to respond to prospect inquiries without defaulting to your sales pitch, you can make the most of ever opportunity. Keep reading for more on sounding too salesy and how you can change your approach for the better.
Salesy Definition: What does “too salesy” even mean?
Imagine that you are chatting with someone, a prospect or an industry connection, and they ask what you do. Most salespeople would see this as an opportunity to launch into their sales pitch and introduce their contact to the products and services their business has to offer. After your conversation, you never hear from your contact again. While they seemed interested in your pitch at first, they quickly lost interest.
This example shows how being too salesy can come across as pushy or make people feel pressured. What was intended as a simple, polite conversation by your contact quickly turned into an unwanted sales pitch. Instead, you had the opportunity to listen to your contact, talk briefly, and start to build a beneficial relationship for both parties.
Consider another example where you are giving your sales presentation for the thousandth time. You easily get into a rhythm because you’ve given this pitch to so many people in the past. You don’t even have to look at your notes anymore. However, you never close the deal and your prospect goes with another company. If you rocked your sales pitch, why didn’t the deal close?
More experienced salespeople can fall into the trap of sounding inauthentic when repeating their sales pitch many times. You use the same words over and over or incorporate industry jargon that comes across as cheesy or empty. Instead of treating your prospects like unique individuals, everyone gets the same “salesy” treatment.
What sounding too salesy means is that you’re coming off as a stereotypical “salesperson” so your prospects think you only care about the deal. That you’re not there to help them, only to help yourself. People know salespeople get paid commission so the incentives are not aligned.
Why You Don’t Want to Sound Salesy
You’re a salesperson, so why is it bad to sound salesy? The biggest consequence of sounding salesy is losing deals and discouraging potential customers. If a lead feels like you are too salesy, they are less likely to be interested in your products and services. These sales tactics make prospects feel manipulated or pressured. They do not feel heard or that their challenges are being acknowledged.
Additionally, they don’t trust you. Trust is a key component of selling a product. Besides the money they’re risking, b2b buyers are risking their reputation. Large purchases can have a material impact at a company. If they don’t trust you, they’re not going to take on the risk of buying your product.
As a modern salesperson, your job is not to sell, sell, sell. Instead, your job is to listen to the concerns and needs of your prospects and help them overcome their challenges. Thankfully, you should be able to find ways to resolve their issues with your products and services, thus making a sale. The opposite of sounding “salesy” is listening to your prospects and adjusting your sales pitch to meet their unique needs.
What is Salesy Language?
If you have been giving your sales pitch for a while, you may not even realize that you sound salesy. Singing the praises of your products and services seems like the obvious way to close a deal, but prospects don’t want to hear about you. Your potential customers what to hear about themselves and how you can help them achieve their goals.
Salesy language can include empty words, unrealistic promises, industry jargon, cheesy phrases, and long-winded pitches. It is easy to slip into the habit of using the same words and phrases over and over, but breaking this habit can help you connect with your prospects and close deals.
What Sounds Salesy?
Finding the right balance between listening and selling is difficult. You want to help your prospects, but you also have sales goals to meet. What is too salesy will depend on your industry and who you are talking to. The right combination of selling and conversation will differ by salesperson and organization. However, there are some common words and phrases that instantly make prospects’ skin crawl. Consider the following phrases and salesy words to avoid.
- Guarantee: There are very few guarantees in life and this word often falls flat.
- Cheap: Cheap rarely evokes thoughts of high-quality products and services. There are better ways to convey your lower prices or overall costs.
- Innovative: This word is overused and rarely means much to other people. Instead of telling prospects why you are innovative, show them.
- Amazing/Wonderful/Fantastic: These superlatives and similar salesy synonyms come across as overselling. Buyers are skeptical of these descriptions.
- Pitch: You can refer to your sales pitch internally, but prospects do not want to feel like they are being “pitched” to.
- We/I/Our Team: The more you refer to yourself or your team, the less you pay attention to your customers.
- Limited: A limited-time deal or opportunity is often used to encourage action on the part of the prospect. It can also make your prospect feel pressured or manipulated.
- Once in a Lifetime: Bragging about your products and services is likely to fall on deaf ears, especially if your competition is also offering a great deal.
- Their Name: You’ve likely heard that using someone’s name helps grab their attention and make your sales pitch feel personal. But overusing someone’s name comes across as annoying or overkill.
- Most: If you state a fact, like “most people…” you have to be able to back it up. Using the word “some” is a safer bet that doesn’t sound like an exaggeration.
- Superior Quality: This is another empty phrase that does not resonate with prospects. Showing why you are superior is better than telling prospects.
- Cost: You can quickly lose prospects by talking about prices and costs. Move away from the dollar signs by focusing on value.
Can you spot the salesy language in your pitch or presentation? If you are struggling to identify salesy words and phrases, record yourself giving a sales pitch. Watch the footage back and keep a record of the times you use empty phrases or overused descriptions. Once you recognize the issue, you can start to fix it. Swap out “salesy” language for more genuine or impactful phrases.
How to Not Sound Salesy
After evaluating your sales pitch, you realize, “I don’t want to sound salesy.” If you remove all of the words and phrases listed above from your presentation, what is left to say? Salespeople can avoid salesy language and still sell by focusing on the customer instead of themselves.
Don’t Pitch Immediately in Your First Conversation
The first time you talk to a prospect or contact should not be your sales pitch. This tactic will just come across as pushy or overzealous. Also, you do not yet know enough about your prospect to tailor your pitch to meet their needs.
Your first conversation with a prospect should be all about them. Learn about their business, ask about their challenges, and gain an understanding of their ideal solution. This strategy makes your prospects feel heard and valued. It also gives you the information you need to craft a unique sales pitch for that prospect.
Know Your Product
Salespeople may fall back on salesy language when they run out of things to say. If you do not know your products and services instead and out, you are likely to use empty or generic phrases to fill the silence. By fully understanding what your company has to offer, you can highlight key features that make sense for your prospect.
Don’t Read a Script
You should have the key points of your sales pitch committed to memory and be able to talk about your products and services with anyone. However, memorizing your sales pitch is also an easy way to sound scripted or fake. You can incorporate memorized facts, statistics, or examples within a natural conversation. Let the prospect tell you what they need and guide the conversation, filling in your key points as appropriate.
People can spot a phony from a mile away. You may say all the right things but still not close a deal because a prospect doesn’t feel comfortable with you. You can’t always control how people perceive you, but you can do your best to be honest and transparent in your sales pitch.
Avoid exaggerating about your products and services, and don’t try to make every single feature work for your prospect. Speak to the true value of your product and pick out the key features that make sense for your contact. Pushing features or add-ons that a customer does not need will turn them away from your brand.
Your prospects will always appreciate it when you value their time. Do not fill dead air with meaningless sales jargon or go over the same points multiple times. Keep your sales pitch brief and to the point, ensuring it is personalized for your prospect. The less you talk, the more your prospect can be heard.
Encourage your prospect to ask questions or bring up their concerns. By listening to what they have to say, you can overcome obstacles and push through objections. If they don’t have a lot to ask, you have saved them a considerable amount of time and they will appreciate the consideration for their schedule.
Additionally, prospects are busy. When they schedule time with you, they don’t want to hear long salesy monologues. They want succinct answers to their questions. They want to be able to stay focused. By getting to the point, they’ll be more engaged and remember what you said.
Tell a Story
Creating your sales pitch around a story that is relatable for your prospects can help you stick in their memory. Whether you highlight the experience of an existing customer or you give a potential example, a story helps bring your brand to life. Prospects can imagine themselves in the story, being positively impacted by your products or services.
Stories also play on our emotions, making a prospect feel more connected to your brand. You are not a robotic salesperson. You are a real human, and you want your prospects to see you as such. You can weave a single story or multiple vignettes into your sales pitch to drive your key features and benefits home.
Avoid Putting On Pressure
So many sales emails involve a time crunch or a sense of urgency. While this can encourage prospects to act quickly, you may not like the action they take. Nobody wants to feel pressured, and your prospect may write you off if you come on too strong.
You can add anticipation or urgency to your sales pitch without setting a timer. Focus on the challenges your product can help prospects overcome. Instead of insinuating that they are running out of time, let your prospects know they do not have to deal with their obstacles any longer.
Remember, you’re not the only consideration in your prospect’s life. They may need help with what you’re offering but if you’re pressuring them too much with salesy tactics or language, you’re going to turn them off. They wont want to move forward.
You don’t have to be sticky sweet and overly optimistic when pitching. In fact, that approach may turn some prospects away or come across as fake. Instead, you can stay positive without going overboard by wrapping up your pitch with a quick summary.
Recap the main points of your sales pitch before concluding your presentation. Highlight the specific value propositions that meet the needs of your prospect and remind your audience why you are the better choice. Keep this wrap up short, though, to end on a positive note.
How to Avoid Being Salesy – A Checklist
- Don’t pitch, be conversational
- Know your product
- Don’t read a script
- Be genuine
- Be brief
- Tell a story
- Avoid pressure tactics
- Stay positive
- Don’t lead with discounts
- Don’t exaggerate benefits
- Provide value
- Demonstrate expertise
- Share insights
- Disqualify prospects who are not a fit
- Avoid dramatic promises
- Eliminate salesy language