Salespeople are often advised to sound confident. If you don’t believe in your product or service, who will?

There’s one time when confidence can backfire, though: When you’re prospecting.

If you’re too confident in that first encounter, you lack credibility. Customers know there are no easy solutions. If it were easy, they would have done it already.

Yet we all continue to hear overconfident pitches that go something like this: “Hello, this is Cindy from ABC Company and I’d like to show you how you can save 20% on [insert your product here]!”

Do you want Cindy to keep talking? Not me. I’m thinking, “Get me off this call right now.”

Now, maybe Cindy really can save me 20%. But even if it’s true, I’m just not ready to hear it yet. What I want to hear are those unconfident “weasel words” we’ve been trained to avoid: Cindy might be able to help me. She’s not sure. But if she could just ask a couple of questions, it’s possible that, in some small way, she could make my life a little better.

She had me at “might.”

When you’re prospecting, it’s best to be humble. Use soft, tentative language and you’ll stop sounding like a salesperson.

Note: Hats off to prospecting guru Art Sobczak, who introduced me to the power of weasel words.

photo credit: Cecil Sanders

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