“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We are tonight’s entertainment! I only have one question. Where is Harvey Dent? … You know where I can find Harvey? I need to talk to him about something, *just* something little.”

-Joker, The Dark Knight

Capture Your Prospect’s Attention By Removing This Word From Your Sales Opening

I monitor several sales blogs and newsletters to stay on top of what other sales gurus are teaching.  Recently I received a sales newsletter that brought up a point I learned back when I was undergoing my NLP certification.

In this newsletter, the writer wanted salespeople to stop making weak sales calls.  Instead, he wanted salespeople to stand strong and give support to their solutions.  So his newsletter focused on coaching salespeople to use strong openings and strong call-to-actions.

However, the “weak” openings he used as examples all had a common denominator. And he didn’t identify it.

All of his weak openings had one word in common.  And I’ve heard both new and seasoned sales reps use this same word in their sales openings.

What’s this one word that will put you at a serious disadvantage in getting your client’s attention?


Richard Bandler, author of Frogs into Princes and the co-creator of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, stated that we needed to be wary of the word ‘just’.  When we use the word ‘just’, we are seeking to ‘justify’ our request and minimize the impact of the intrusion in our client’s mind.

Examples Where the Word ‘Just’ Hinders Your Sales Opening

For example, I’ve heard salespeople follow up on internet leads with a statement like the following:

“Hi Bob.  You downloaded a white paper from our site.  I’m just following up to make sure that you got everything you needed.”

And when I’ve accompanied other salespeople in door-to-door sales calls, I’ve heard:

“Hi Bob.  I was in the area and I just wanted to introduce myself as the local rep.”

And when setting meetings:

“Bob.  I just called to see if you had a minute for a cup of coffee and a quick meeting.”

When you use the word ‘just’ in your sales opening, you are positioning yourself and your solution as secondary considerations.  In your prospect’s mind, ‘just’ is a verbal signal that says, “OK. This interruption isn’t important as what I’m currently doing.  It’s ‘just’ a salesman selling something.”

Now, you may think that by diminishing your interruption, your client will find it easy to break off what they are doing and give you their attention.  However, if it’s so small, then why are you interrupting your client to bring it to their attention?

If the item is small and not worth your client’s time, then it’s probably not worth your time either.

So take note. Get your client’s attention by bringing value to the conversation with a strong, sales opening.

Start by removing the word ‘just’ from your language.

For additional tips on using words to shape your sales call, download Maximum Impact, my latest collaboration with instructor Paul Bagan on presentation skills and tactics.

Maximum Impact Public Speaking and Presentations