Stock conversation

I am quite sure if you are a salesperson, you have said that lie. And if you are a customer, you have heard it. What a dumb thing to say. Oh yeah, I have also said it so many times until someone years ago pointed out to me what I really just said.

Let’s examine the phrase that has been uttered million of times by salespeople. “Let me be honest with you” … then blah, blah, blah.

What it really means is, up until this point I have been lying to you. Yepper. An award-winning line salespeople say without even realizing the meaning of what they just said.

Here are some other dumb things salespeople say:

• “Do you have a minute to talk?”

Can you really say what you wanted to say in less than 1 minute. If not, you have lied to the customer already.

• “I was in the area so I thought I would stop by.”

Does the customer care if you were in the area? Was it convenient for them for you to stop by unannounced?

• “Just touching base with you.”

This phrase is about as corny as saying “Groovy.” Just take it out of your vocabulary.

• “I really need this order, so I can offer you this discount.”

Yeah, the customer really cares about how much you need this order or how important it is for you!

• “Please give me a call back.”

Is it the customer’s responsibility to call you or should you be trying to reach them?

Think about what you are asking them to do for you.

• “I don’t want to waste your time,

but …”

If you think you are wasting their time, you probably are, and if your product or service is so good, you wouldn’t need to say that.

• “Our company believes in value added.”

The customer doesn’t care one bit about your mission statement, value statement, company philosophies or your value proposition.

• “I usually would not provide this deal to anyone, but ...”

Really, they are that special and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?


• “Trust me, I ...”

Trust is earned with anyone you meet in your life. Get rid of those words as well and just talk less.

Those lines are just a few throw aways that I can think of at the moment, and I am sure there are plenty more. The whole point of this rant is for you to think about what you are saying – before you blurt the words out.

Are they meaningful and do they have impact that is important to the customer? Or are theses lines things you say because they make you feel comfortable since you have been saying them for years?

The phrase that really sums it all up here is: “Less is more.” The less you say, the more powerful your presentation can be, and certainly the more the customer talks, the more you will learn about them. The sales call is not about what you want to say, it is more about what you want to hear.

Take an inventory of things you might say in a sales situation that are powerful and other phrases you say that are just a waste of breath. I promise you this … you will catch yourself saying, “Let me be honest with you,” and a smile will come over your face. Now, you will (hopefully) laugh at yourself.

Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers, “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at


The Cleveland Jewish News does not make endorsements of political candidates and/or political or other ballot issues on any level. Letters, commentaries, opinions, advertisements and online posts appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News, on or our social media pages do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

How do you feel about this article?

Choose from the options below.