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Sales Training - Um, you know.

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I give credit for this phrase to Beavis and Butthead.   I think they ushered in this non-committal, I’m not really sure what to say, expression.  When someone asks you about your product and you start with, “Um, you know, it helps you save money” your prospect, while you might not be seeing it, is rolling their eyes.  In their minds:

1.      “Um” signifies you don’t know what you’re talking about.

1.      “You know” has your prospect thinking, how does this person know what I know?

2.      You sound very “unconfident” about what you’re about to present.

3.      They’re thinking you watch too much Beavis and Butthead and not spending enough time learning about them and their company.

Not much screams louder to your prospect that you’re an amateur than starting your sentence with, “Um, you know.”   But this is very easy to fix.  Just don’t do it.  Watch:

“Zelda, tell me about your after-hours support please.”
“Um, you know, we give the usual eight hour support.”      

Professional Salesperson-like:
“Zelda, tell me about your after-hours support please.”
“We offer eight hour support, which is standard in the industry.  Would you need something different?”           

Yes, in addition to removing the, “Um, you know,” I added a more professional response. I cannot help it.  I’m a professional.  And you should be too.   


Sales Homework – Practice delivering your responses to typical prospect questions without using “Um, you know.”  Record yourself.  You may not realize how much you’re doing this.

Sales Managers – You want a team of professionals.  A team of professionals will attract other professionals.  Nobody wants to join a team of amateurs.  Don’t let this little phrase bring the team down to the minor leagues…or worse, cartoon parodies.


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