Ask just about anyone, and the "believability score" for salespeople as a group-unfortunately-would rank right down there with most types of advertising, the contractor who says he'll get back to you with a bid, and most politicians.
We're a nation of skeptics. Which is contradictory to the way we try to raise kids. We teach them to not lie, yet they learn that many messages they're exposed to can't really be trusted. I constantly hear phrases and claims from salespeople that cause the Bart Simpson-like response, "Yeah, right," or are just plain meaningless to the listener. Not only do these eat away valuable time on a call, they also chip at a salesperson's credibility.
What to Do
Purge puffed-up phrases from your sales vocabulary, and replace them with specific action-oriented, results-type statements.
For example, instead of "We're committed to excellence," explain the excellence:
"We check every order three times to minimize errors."
"When you call with a question or problem, you dial the direct line of your own customer service rep who knows your account. You won't be bounced around between departments or have to deal with voice mail systems.
Here's one of my favorites. "We're the most respected name in the _____ business." What a pompous, self-serving, vain, and probably delusional, claim that is! Reminds me of the old Stuart Smalley routine from Saturday Night Live: "And doggone it, people like me!" When I hear the "most respected" claim, I laugh inside and think, "By whom, yourself?" If you want to establish your credibility among your peers or in the marketplace, be able to back it up. For example, "We were voted the number one provider of widget cleaning services, according to Widget Weekly Magazine."
And how many minutes have gone by since hearing "cost-effective"? Can anyone, anywhere give me a situation where a listener heard that term and said, "Oh, you're cost-effective? Wow! That's what we're looking for, since the vendor we're using now is cost-useless. Sign me up!"
Again, give examples. I guess "cost-effective" means that buyers get a return for their money. So describe the return in a way they can understand it, instantly: "With this new process, you'll immediately eliminate the extra hours it's now taking you to perform the sorting task by hand. Based on what you told me, that will come to over $200 per month. You'll get your initial cost back in just six months."
The theory I'm hammering home here is nothing more than substantiating your statements. Tell them what you'll do, then give facts to support the claim. And the more customized you tailor the statement to the prospect or customer, the more successful you'll be.