6 Things You Thought You Couldn’t Say In Sales

In sales, we’re quite particular about what we say and what we don’t say. We want to guide our prospects to a sale – it’s what we do. Some of us, however, are afraid to say certain things, or are nervous that some responses may have a negative impact. Here are a few that, said in the right way and circumstance, are perfectly fine.

I Don’t Know: We all like to have the answers. We don’t. Get over it. Please stop trying. It looks bad. It’s okay to say “I don’t know.” In fact, it makes us more human, and we can better connect with our prospect. It’s also an opportunity to show the client how far we’re willing to go, or to exemplify our product’s benefits. For example, if they ask if the product can do this or that, a simple “that’s a great question, let me find out” shows a prospect we appreciate their question and will respond quickly and professionally.

That’s Not A Feature: When selling products, prospects inevitably see a feature they’d like to add. And, it’s often a really good idea! The problem is, it’s way down the list, or not even on the product road map. While there are techniques to re-focus the customer on the features and benefits now, when we state that “that’s a great idea, it’s not a feature at this time” we acknowledge their point and close the door and can move on to closing the sale. Saying things like “that’s coming up in the next quarter or two,” if true, is fine, but let’s be honest and sell in the now.

I Made A Mistake: We all make them. Trying to cover up, side step, or euphemize them creates distrust. Customers understand mistakes are made. They’re much more willing to forgive when we admit them quickly.

I Can’t Talk Right Now: Protect time. If we have a tire kicker, or a prospect that is cutting into someone we have on the hook, politely schedule a time to talk with them. Be polite and sincere. Prospects will respect and appreciate our professionalism. They’ll also see that we value them and their time. If we try to squeeze them in, we may lose both sales opportunities. We also won’t be at the top of our game.

No: As sales professionals, we often say yes as this is a positive way to engage and negotiate. However, saying no, is really good too. In fact, it can be quite effective in closing sales. To close sales, sometimes we have to narrow the options and get the buyer focused on the here and now. Saying no also weeds out weaker prospects. When discounts are sought, saying no reinforces the value of our product and services. It’s an honest sales technique. Buyers appreciate this as it helps affirm, in their minds, that they’re dealing with quality and will get what they pay for. For more tips on saying “no” check out Sales Tips

Try A Competitor: Be careful with this, but if we simply don’t have what someone is looking for then help them find it. This can take a prospect by surprise, and they’ll remember and appreciate your guidance. Prospects are much more likely to consider doing business with you in the future, and it can even help get referrals.

A critical point to all these “negatives,” is that they’re not negatives. The tone in which these statements are made is upbeat and positive. We can have empathy for prospects that want a lower price or additional features, but ultimately we have to respectively hold the value line.

What do you think? DH and I were just kicking around these ideas. Please comment and send us your thoughts? What else is okay to say and can actually be a great sales tip or technique?

~ By Theo/DH


  1. Shanon Biley says:

    I would like to say how refreshing it is to hear that as sales people we are “allowed” to say no at times. I have been using this technique for a couple of months and feel so much better for it.

  2. Thanks for your comment Shanon.

  3. Christopher Pugliese says:

    I really enjoyed this blog. Most people don’t use these terms in hopes that they will boost their sales. What they don’t know is that by using these terms when necessary these people will actually boost sales because they will build trust with clients and customers. The one time sale is great, but when you gain trust from someone then they will come back to you again. If you are willing to sacrifice one sale for the lifetime value of the customer, then you will make it a lot further in sales. Great post, thanks for posting.

  4. Thanks for your comments Christopher – trust is indeed key!

  5. Amazing! I told a prospect no when he inquired about Canadian grade beef. Turns out he was testing me for knowledge and credibility. I told him that I had never heard of this but would make some calls and research. His response was that he was only kidding me and appreciated my honesty. Hopefully this will lead to a great new account.

  6. Sales Grail Team says:

    Thanks for your comment Mike – honesty goes a heck of a long way.

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