You know what really grinds my gears? By: John Barrows

A bunch of stuff, but here are a few phrases/words/questions that really grind my gears and need to be eliminated from the vocabulary of Sales professionals:


1.      Touching base and checking in – my #1 pet peeve and the two most meaningless phrases in sales. They mean there is no reason for your call so there is no reason for me to talk to you. You should always have a reason for your call.
2.      Tell me about your business – one of the worst questions you can ask someone in today’s business world. Companies spend thousands of dollars on their websites, SEO, marketing materials, etc. to tell the world about their business and the first thing you’re going to say when you get someone’s time is “tell me about your business?”  You should know about their business before walking in the door. Ask clarifying questions about their business to show you’ve done your homework.
3.      We’re the leading provider of… – apparently everyone on the planet is the leading provider of something. I challenge you to go to someone’s website and NOT find this phrase or something similar. No fix for this one, just stop using it.
4.      What keeps you up at night? – My daughter keeps me up at night. Next.
5.      Is this a good time? – It’s never a good time. Try “do you have a few moments” instead.
6.      Is this STILL a good time? – reps ask this question to clients even when they have a scheduled meeting on the calendar. Why leave yourself open to someone rescheduling when you already have them?
7.      I can help you (when used too early in the sales process) – You have no idea whether or not you can help me so don’t tell me you can before you understand my situation.  You might have helped other clients like me but don’t tell me you can help me, especially when prospecting.

I have a bunch more but I had to get these off my chest. Good luck and happy selling.

-John Barrows



John Barrows currently provides sales training and consulting services to some of the world’s leading tech companies like, Linkedin, Box and many others.  He has excelled in every position in Sales from Inside all the way through to Executive Management and successfully sold products, services and solutions to both SMB and ENT clients. He led Sales and Marketing for one of his first companies (Thrive Networks) from start up through acquisition by Staples.  His overarching goal is to help improve the overall education and quality of Sales by sharing ideas and techniques that work.