5 Words Customers Hate (and What to Say Instead)

speech-bubble-geoffrey-jamesWhenever you trot out one of these tired terms, you’re making it less likely that a customer will buy from you.

Words are not just their definitions; words carry emotional baggage.  As I’ve helped clients and the readers of my free weekly newsletter hone their sales messages and marketing emails, I’ve discovered five words that really turn customers off:

1. “Teach”

Example: “Over the next hour, I will teach you…”

Why customers hate It: “Teach” conjures an image of a grade school teacher droning on about something that’s not very interesting.

What to say instead: “In this webinar, I will share…”

Why this works better: “Share” implies that what you’ve got to say is valuable enough to consider keeping to yourself.

2. “Learn”

Example: “During this session, you will learn…”

Why customers hate it: “Learning” something takes time and energy, both of which are in short supply in the business world.

What to say instead: “During this session, you’ll discover…”

Why this works better: “Discovering” something is usually a happy accident that doesn’t require much effort.

3. “Details”

Example: “If you’re interested, I can provide additional details.”

Why customers hate it: “Details,” by definition, are unimportant and trivial. Why would anybody be interested in them?

What to say instead: “If you’re interested, I can share additional insights…”

Why this works better: “Insights” are unique and valuable. How could anyone not want more of them?

4. “Case Study” (OK, this one is two words)

Example: “Our website has case studies showing how…”

Why customers hate it: “Case studies” is academia-talk and reeks of tedium. The word “study” implies time and effort. Ugh. The word “case” implies legal action. Double ugh.

What to say instead: “Our website has success stories of how…”

Why this works better: Storytelling is what makes us human. Everyone likes hearing a story with a beginning, middle, and happy ending (“success!”).

5. “Guarantee”

Example: “We offer a money-back guarantee…”

Why customers hate it: The term “guarantee” has been “fine print” abused for so many years that it smacks of hucksterism.

What to say instead: “We will refund your money if…”

Why this works better: “Refund” is an actual promise of what customers can expect if they’re not satisfied.

Originally published at Inc



Geoffrey James

Geoffrey James

Geoffrey James, writes a daily column for Inc.com and is the author of the newly-published book Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.

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