Why ‘Trust Me’ and ‘To Be Honest’ are Cuss Phrases
By Subhas Desai
Most salespeople and product marketing folks tend to overuse them that could potentially lead to lost opportunities.
“Trust me… my product is one of the best in the industry.”
“To be honest with you, I have explored all options to get the deal.”
In the business world, seasoned buyers who listen to these phrases take them with a pinch of salt. Because when words like ‘trust’ and ‘honest’ are used where they are not required, somewhere they sow the seed of skepticism.
In my own experience of working with sales and marketing teams, when my salespeople make the statement “To be honest with you, I have tried all options to get the deal”, I ask them 10 more questions to validate their “honesty”. And 9 out of 10 times, my hunch is right – they did NOT explore all the options at all.
The other day I was attending one of the not-so-well-known technology events in Bengaluru, and one of the speakers before ending his speech said, “Trust me, this platform works.” My mind went into the questioning mode again – ‘Why should I trust him at all? Do we know each other from before? Has he produced anything stellar previously for people to vouch for him?’
Many in the audience had come to see the product demo, so for them, it was not the person giving the demo who was important but the product. Asking the audience to trust the speaker for no reason sounded immature enough to risk a potential business opportunity.
So, When to Use Them...
I’m not saying you cannot use ‘trust me’ and ‘to be honest’ at all. They have their own place and timing. My strong feeling is that you cannot use them with strangers – especially at forums and other speaking assignments, especially when you are a budding entrepreneur and not well-known.
Celebrities endorse many products. People buy these products because of the psychological affinity and connect they carry with the celebrity. Let’s take M S Dhoni’s endorsement of Cars24.com. When he says on TV, ‘Trust me – if you want to sell your car, go for cars24,’ cricket lovers believe him because he is known for his impeccable appeals behind the stumps. Even Captain Kohli seeks Dhoni’s advice when it comes to taking a DRS!
It’s the same ‘trust’ sentiment that works every single time. Consistency and strong emotional stir make deep inroads into our psyche. Strong personalities like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Amitabh Bachchan and many others don’t even have to use the word ‘trust’!
But the problem with today’s salespeople and product marketing folks is that they tend to overuse the cuss phrases that could potentially lead to lost opportunities.
I would strongly recommend striking off ‘trust’ and ‘honest’ from your list unless you are speaking to someone who has worked with you earlier and knows you well - of course for good things! If you think you must use these words/phrases, try changing them to: “Our clients trust us because we are known for… .” Or say, “The trust we built with our existing customers speaks volumes.” There could be 10 other ways of saying it but know when and where to use them.
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