4 Business Clichés to Avoid

 4 Business Clichés to Avoid

When you envision a polished and successful salesperson you likely see a well-dressed, confident and determined person. The visual perfection and certainty they exude contributes to our perception of an accomplished and high performance sales monster. He or she can do no wrong.

While a smooth appearance and a savvy manner can do much to set a salesperson ahead of their peers, one fatal flaw can quickly deflate their lead and bring them back to earth. The blemish protrudes from something in which we all have – a mouth. Our mouth can bring forth catchphrases which lean more towards clichés.

A cliché is a trite or stereotypical phrase or sentence expressing a common thought with a loss of originality and ingenuity. It’s also impacted by the fact that it’s overused. As an example “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. We’ve heard these clichés many times.

 A salesperson can annoy and irritate their prospect or customer by using sale clichés.

Let’s consider four which we must avoid or risk alienating our audience.

(1)  At the End Of the Day – At the end of the day – it’s simply evening time and nothing else. This overused cliché is basically saying when you consider everything this is the solution or product which will fulfill your needs or solve your problem. Our presentation should strongly convey this message not a kitschy catchphrase.

(2)  Circle Back – You’re not circling back rather you’re doing what all quality salespeople do and that’s follow-up.

(3)  Value Added – If our product or service is valuable it will stand on its own. There is a total package you’ll receive and there’s a total cost to acquire it. Our customer or prospect isn’t naïve. They understand a salesperson has only so much leeway to include additional incentives.  The reality is nothing is “thrown in,” it’s simply an aspect of what you’re allowed to offer to entice the prospect to believe in the value you’re pitching.

(4)  The Customer is Always Right – Many believe this cliché came to life in 1908, coined by Department Store magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge. The reality is no one is always right, though this one can give our prospect or customer an unlimited and dangerous license to increase their demands to an unreasonable level.

To summarize: “At the end of the day we’ll circle back on the value added services because the customer is always right!”



14 thoughts on “4 Business Clichés to Avoid

  1. I would add “reach out” to the list. As in the following conversation with a vendor:

    Me: I never heard from your associate John
    Vendor: Sorry. I’ll have John “reach out” to you.
    Me: Thanks but I’m not stuck in a hole or sliding down a cliff. I just need him to call me.

  2. Our largest customer is an orange BIG BOX company. And yes, they are always right! We are upfront with them though. We need to keep buildng their trust in us as their supplier. We don’t revisit, we look forward in order to increase their sales and ours.

    In addition to all the sayings listed; here are a few more.

    Draw the line in the sand
    Who owns this?
    Fact of the matter is
    Give them a chance to successful
    We have an oppurtunity(when its really a crisis)

  3. Besides the ones you mentioned that I can’t stand are:
    Let’s tee it up and see where it goes.
    That’s spot on
    If he doesn’t like it, he can go poumd sand
    Save a little, get a lot

    1. If the customer is always right, it must mean he knows everything about what you are selling and maybe even more than you. If that’s the case, we don’t need salespeople. And if they need assurance that they made the right decision, then they can ask another customer because “the customer is always right.” Two “rights” don’t make a right.

      1. I find this comment more offensive than anything else. A salesperson job is to be polite first, even if the custmor is wrong. The salesperson has to be curtious about their information. They have to be knowledgeable without being smug.

        1. I agree. The salesperson should help educate the customer about his product and how it would benefit them. This would help the customer make an informed decision. He will be right the next time.
          If someone comes in and insists on buying a size 8 shoe but they really need a 9, they will leave with an ill fitting shoe and think they are still right. The salesperson should have explained in a polite way why the 8 would be better. Use your experience and knowledge to educate the customer to be right. Yes the customer helps pay your bills, but they can’t be right about everything. When you are the customer, are you always certain about your purchase? Are you always right?

  4. In your introduction:
    As an example “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

    These are not devoid of meaning, these are sayings based on observations.

    Your other examples are of misuse of commercial jargon or sales speak.

    The customer is ALWAYS right.
    Unfortunately this is true, the customer is the one who pays and according to their satisfaction, they will return. It is a business principle. In the knowledge that only one person out of five knows what they want, it is up to the salesperson to help the customer to be right.
    They should help the customer inmaking a decision so that the buyer is convinced that they have made the right purchase.

    Waching someone leave my shop with a wrong size, wrong color garment is not rewarded with the money in my till, it is sad.

  5. I think anybody actually in business knows that the multitude of ancient expressions closely mirrors the ancient age of the most successful. I frequently get to hear “until the cows come home” and other golden oldies. I applaud the forward wishful thinking, but sadly you won’t see an end to any old expression in business no matter how much you hate it. It really is an old man’s game.

  6. Great post!! I agree that the customer is NOT always right, but they ARE the customer. Setting appropriate expectations early on is one of the keys to avoiding problems down the road.
    And I’d like to add “think outside of the box”. So totally overused..

  7. I agree with Customers are not always right. If the request is impossible, we should tell them the limitation that we can offer. A certain level of honesty if definitely appreciated by customers, I’ve tested these and it works on building credibility.

  8. The customer is not always right, but they are always the Customer! When something goes wrong, it works best to apologize, empathize and offer a solution.

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