When it comes to marketing and sales, negotiations, and relationship building in general, the words you choose to use can boost you up or cut you down.  The power dynamic of a professional relationship is a tenuous one, and using weak words has an impact on your position.  Today, we will talk about about 5 words or expressions that weaken your position.  These are words to minimize starting now!

Marketing is all about the perception you build of your brand.  Sales is about the relationship you develop with a prospect.  In both cases, you want to show them value.  Generally, weak words will hurt you in your effort to position your brand or offering from a place of value.

Before I go on, I want to point out that there is a time and a place for everything.  Sometimes showing weakness is how we get our strength back.  I know there are times when I have intentionally used this tool.  In those moments, I was using that tool, because I had exhausted my other tools.  Coincidentally, showing weakness gave me strength in those moments.

However, in marketing, showing how strong your brand is makes your brand seem stronger.  Read here to learn about social proof to understand why this principle works for your business.

To go further, in sales or negotiations, the person who has the power controls the conversation and has more influence on the outcome.  Although there will be times when this is unavoidable, there are things you can learn to do to project strength.  And for some, this may turn the tide in your favor more often.

Be on the lookout for the weak words that will hurt you. #marketing #sales #negotiating #business #smallbusiness #entrepreneur Click To Tweet

Words are a tool we have to establish our position and create a subliminal message.  So, be on the lookout for the weak words that will hurt you.  Here are five to watch out for starting now:

  • Just.  Just is #1 with a bullet.  This is a word that I have become hyper-aware of in my own life and one that I used far too often.  Yes, there is a time and place for the word “just.”  In fact, telling someone that a product costs “just $1000” can psychologically influence them to believe that $1000 is lower than they may initially have perceived it to be.  “Just” sometimes has a role to play.  But not as often as some of us use it.  If you are using “just” to excuse yourself into conversations, minimize your contribution, or downplay YOURSELF, it’s self-sabotage in four letters.
  • I.  This word is weak for a different reason.  If you are marketing, “I” is irrelevant.  In sales, “I” is irrelevant.  Your audience wants to know what is in it for them.  By framing your pitch from your own point of view, you give them no reason to listen.  Replace “I” with “you.”  When appropriate, you can also replace it with “we,” which can work better in a negotiation or a situation that drives towards both parties benefiting.
  • I think. Sure, sometimes what you think is useful.  There may be sentences that don’t work without an “I think.”  However, are you using “I think” when you could have gone without it entirely?  “I think we have the budget to increase this by 10%” vs. “We have the budget to increase this by 10%.”  Notice how the first option encourages your listener to ask you to go back and run the numbers again instead of just making a final decision?  If you already know, you don’t have to “think.”
If you already know, you don’t have to “think.” #marketing #sales #negotiating #language #stronglanguage Click To Tweet
  • Sorry to interrupt. If they answered and allowed you into their brain space, then you don’t need to be sorry.  There are more powerful ways to be tactful than apologizing.  Say, “when you have a minute, let’s chat about that email.”  Ask, “Do you have a minute now to talk about that email?”  There are ways to do it that still involve being polite without making it seem like you are not worthy of their time.
  • Try or Trying. Trying is a fake promise that most people will see through.  Trying is nice, but it is not reliable.  If a result is expected, trying to get it is not going to be seen as success.  If you can’t promise a result – and I am personally cautious about overpromising, preferring instead to be seen as dependable to my word – you can instead promise an action you will take.  There is a difference in strength between “I’ll try to get these in by tomorrow” and “I’ll get on the phone with the supplier right now.”

As someone who has long downplayed herself with weak language, I have learned that changing what you project does not happen overnight.  However, what you project is made up of a hundred little habits and choices.  You can find one or two of your own and start working immediately.  Be mindful of your weak words, interrupt yourself, and make new choices that you want to become habits.

Be mindful of your weak words, interrupt yourself, and make new choices that you want to become habits. #sales #marketing #language Click To Tweet

If you found this helpful, check out the next tip about five strong words that give you power.  In the meantime, if you spot one or two of these weak words as common in your own day-to-day life, now is as good a time as any to begin changing those habits.

Want to know the impact of body language on your position?  Body language says as much as your word choice!  Click here to read more on the body language of strength and weakness, interest and disinterest.