Five Phrases Sales Pros Should Use More Often

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What makes a salesperson extraordinary? Is it the sales numbers? Size of the commission check? Number of clients? Awards with “Top” or “#1” lining her office walls? An article from, “10 Things Extraordinary People Say Every Day,” suggests that extraordinary people as a whole say some things that may appear quite ordinary but have an extraordinary effect.


Regardless of your job title, profession, vocation or avocation, most of us would like to be regarded as a little better than average. Outstanding, even. OK, extraordinary! In Sales, it’s good to have an edge over the competition. Sales are all about building relationships and being a good conversationalist. Salespeople who use some of these phrases with sincerity in the proper setting may move up to the extraordinary category.


  1. “Here’s What I’m Thinking.” Coming off as the authority (even if you are) can put people off and make you appear like a know-it-all talking down to them. This phrase is best used only after you’ve spent some time listening to the other person’s ideas or needs. It’s an open phrase, suggesting—not telling—a course of action and asking for collaboration.  
  2. “Can You Help Me?” This again puts you in a position of asking for input. It also establishes that you need information to help better understand a situation. People like to be treated as individuals, not just someone you’re trying to fit into a particular product or program. This also works well when asking for referrals. Instead of just asking for names, start by asking for help in meeting new people. If you’ve done a good job with a client, he will be more than happy to refer you to his contacts.
  3. “I’m sorry.” Sometimes salespeople are so anxious to close a sale they don’t take enough time to listen and empathize with a prospect. You can say you’re sorry for a lot of things even though you weren’t the cause. Take the time to let a prospect or client tell their story and express sorrow or regret. If you’ve made a mistake, lead off with an apology. Don’t make a client go through an extended version of a problem or situation where you clearly were wrong. Apologize and find out what the client feels is appropriate to heal the relationship and set things right. 
  4. “Let Me Give You A Hand.” Sometimes you aren’t the right person or have the right products.  Chances are you know someone who can help that person. Even though you don’t make the sale, you are building good will. Just like Kris Kringle in the classic movie, “Miracle on 34th Street,” if Macy’s doesn’t have the item, send them to Gimbal’s. Making the customer happy is more important and will come back in good will and future sales.
  5. “Nothing.” Extraordinary people know when enough is enough. The more you press a customer, the more likely he is to back off. Too much of a sales pitch can make a prospective customer wonder whether something is as good you say it is. Pay attention, listen to the customer and read body language. Lighten up on the pressure. Give the customer time to think it through. They may appreciate your restraint and come back for the sale after all.


With everyone so tuned into the present moment on various digital devices, there is a sense of urgency to do everything fast and immediately. Being extraordinary sometimes means doing the little polite, courteous things of the past. Slow down. Back off. Look people in the eye and have a conversation, using some tried-and-true phrases that connect and respect. You may become extraordinary in the eyes of your prospects before you know it.


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  • Thomas Todd H
    Thomas Todd H
    Interesting to read someone else's perspective on what works for them in the field.  Every sale and customer is unique in of itself, thus the use of these techniques must be strategic in applicability.  Thanks.
  • David S
    David S
    Perfect advice. I really liked the "Purple squirrel". I'm just entering the unemployment sales realm....very helpful.
  • Mary Nestor-Harper
    Mary Nestor-Harper
    Thanks for your comment, Paul.  I'm glad to see that the advice has worked for you in the field.  I think listening to clients is so important.  Sometimes we are so busy thinking of our response or interrupting to add to the conversation that we don't really hear what the other person is saying.  You can't solve a problem or connect your product to the customer's situation unless you really first listen and understand their situation.  Thanks again!
  • Paul G
    Paul G
    Excellent advise.I have successfully used many of the same and similar phrases.1.  Here's what I'm thinking.   Once you have given the customer/prospect an opportunity to desrcibe their point you can respond as follows:Thanks for providing the details.  Many of my cusotmers have felt the same way.  With a view to hlep provide additional insight here's what I'm thinking.2. Can you help me?  The best example of the use of this phrase is the TV character Columbo.3.  I'm sorry.  Only really works when you mean it.  Very powerful and honest term.  Helps to reinforce honesty.4.  Let me give you a hand.  You're bang on with the example of "Miracle on 34th Street"5.  Nothing.  Now i'm going to shut up and listen.
  • Mary Nestor-Harper
    Mary Nestor-Harper
    I appreciate the variety of comments about the article.  The original article had some phrases I didn't think applied very well to sales, and I can see that some I included didn't make the grade with some readers.  I'm glad the articles prompt comments, since it shows they are thought provoking and in most cases, helpful.  Thanks!
  • Keith L
    Keith L
    Thanks for the input and I will take the information and apply it to sale.
  • Geoffrey C
    Geoffrey C
    Good advice especially number one; it is a turn off for other staff and can make enemies of other contemporary’s as well as costumers seeing it as a warning sign that a sales pitch is coming.
  • ted e
    ted e
  • Bethine D
    Bethine D
    I am not sure I agree with using the word nothing with a customer but may use it in my report after I was offfered nothing.  It does not sound professional.  Though I will depends on the type of customer it is.
  • Marshall D
    Marshall D
    I have a lot of very successful experience in Sales and the only phrase I agree with is #5. The writer of this article should have used it and kept these thoughts to herself.
  • terry m
    terry m
    ok thoughts some truth but a stretch for being correct
  • Donald J
    Donald J
    Thumbs up Mary . I'm in technical industrial products but you brought me back to what gives a salesperson a real edge over the competition . It is the emotional quotient.
  • Deborah E
    Deborah E
    Thank you for the great reminders.  I am going to pass on this article to my staff.  It is also important to remember that each situation is individual and because there seems to be a trend of returns or complaints that each customer deserves to be heard as a fresh new situation.  Thank you Mary.
  • Mary Nestor-Harper
    Mary Nestor-Harper
    thanks for the comments.  It's good to know the articles are helpful.  Mary
  •  Rib D
    Rib D
    Thank you....desperation can sometimes overheat coolness...and in the very end you want the friend....the sale will come.
  • Cheryl C
    Cheryl C
    Clear and Concise!  Great refresher!

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