What does ummm mean to your sales and bottom line?

Ummms and likes damage your sales. Stop using filler words now.

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Ummm… are you like, like, using way, way, way too many filler words? You’re not alone if you can’t stop your ums and buts, filler words have been around for generations they’re not the sole preserve of the young. Every age group has struggled with its own variety so don’t be surprised that they constantly up in sales conversion scripts.

We’re all guilty of using filler words but that’s no excuse. In personal situations they can make you come across as lacking in vocabulary. In professional situations they can make you appear incompetent, untrustworthy and unimagintive.

You don’t want to come across as a sales simpleton after all so we’ve put together this guide on the filler words, what they are and how to avoid using them. Implement the lessons in this guide and your sales conversion scripts will be significantly improved.

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    What are filler words and how to avoid them in sales conversion scripts

    There are many, many forms of filler words but they all have one thing in common. Filler words are short and meaningless words or phrases used to fill pauses in sentences while we decide what to say next. They are used exceptionally frequently and in a variety of situations.

    The words might not mean much yet they do perform a basic function. Filler words let you take a second and think about what you’re saying, how you’re saying it, and what you want to say next. They also let others know that you’re not quite finished speaking yet, even if you’ve paused for a moment.

    We frequently use filler words when we’re nervous or tired because in such situations our words have a habit of running away from us. We shouldn’t feel bad about this as it’s perfectly normal. Even the most loquacious amongst us, including celebrities and writers, are guilty of using filler words in their everyday speech.

    However, it’s still a bad habit which as a sales professional you need to quit. Fillers words can damage your credibility if overused. Before you think you’re certain that you don’t use filler words in your sales conversations and scripts, think again. Filler words go beyond just ummm and like there are far more out there than you might realise.

    Filler words and phrases – More than just ummm

    • Ummm – ‘I was hoping to ummm… conclude today, what are your thoughts on that?’
      One of the most egregious examples of filler word foolery, ummm is just awful. A short pause works better in this situation. A pause injects urgency or drama, an ummm makes you sound like a bored teenager.
    • Like – ‘I was considering what you said during our last meeting and, like, I don’t agree.’
      One of the most commonly used filler words nowadays it’s particularly popular amongst Americans and millennials. Using this in a sales situation implies inexperience and a lackadaisical attitude. Avoid this filler word at all costs.
    • You know – ‘You know… I really think this product can significantly improve your KPIs.’
      Remove ‘you know’ from the previous statement and it becomes much more impactful and professional, doesn’t it? If you’re speaking honestly then they’ll know, you’ll know, so why do you need to add ‘you know’?
    • Okay – ‘Yes… okay… I fully appreciate what you’re saying…okay…hmmm.’
      You’re likely to come across this filler word frequently if you’re involved in phone sales. People often use it when someone else is talking over the phone and they want to appear engaged. In fact, using okay has the opposite effect as it makes you sound detached and dismissive.
    • Got it – ‘Hmmm… got it… okay… can we move forward with the plan tomorrow? ’
      Similarly to okay, got it, when used as a filler word, comes from the right place as the speaker is also trying to appear engaged. However, it has the opposite effect. Instead, use got it at the end of sentences for it to have meaning.

    How filler words are damaging your sales

    Filler words go beyond bad impressions and they can have an active role in damaging your sales prospects. They make you appear as if you lack confidence, and as people on average use filler words every 15 seconds they eat into valuable time you need to successfully pull off your pitch. They distract your prospect, and make it more difficult for them to take on board your pitch’s key points and takeaways.

    Your prospects want you to speak fluently and naturally, as if you were having just a regular conversation. Filler words distract from your natural conversation flow making you seem less trustworthy. You could have a product your prospect desperately needs and a genuine personality but too many fillers will make you seem dishonest.

    Filler words lend quantity to any sales pitch or call. As a sales professional you ought to focus on quality instead. Plan what words you’re going to use in each meeting, and carefully craft your idioms and vocabulary for them to achieve maximum effect. You can’t achieve this with filler words.

    Read also:

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    Guided selling: what it is, why it matters

    How do you avoid using filler words?

    Given that most of us have a bad habit of using filler words too often you might be concerned that it will prove difficult to drop them. Don’t worry, quitting this bad habit isn’t as hard as it might seem. All it requires is some hard work and your sales conversations and scripts will improve in no time.

    The first stage in dropping fillers is to simply replace the offending words with pauses. They are much more common in conversation that you might imagine and they inject an air of authority to your speech. For example, public speakers frequently pause for several seconds in their speeches.

    Practice makes perfect when it comes to removing filler words. Before you have an important sales meeting or call record yourself speaking as if you’re in communication with your prospect. Start by making a note of any filler words you use then alter your pitch accordingly and edit your script to remove them.

    If you’re meeting with another individual in person then maintain eye contact, you’d be surprised how effective this is at stopping filler words. Try experimenting with turning your torso and eye gaze toward each person during a meeting giving your attention inclusively. If you’re on a conference call then turn your attention to your notes or script.

    It takes time but eventually you will be able to drop the filler words. Write notes and reminders you can use during meetings and calls, tap yourself every time you’re aware of yourself using a filler word. The method needs to be tailor made for what works for yourself.

    Forget the ummms…

    It’s time that you significantly boost your sales conversations scripts by dropping those pesky filler words from your speech. Experiment with different methods you can use to train yourself to avoid them. We’d like to hear how you got on with this so please leave us feedback on your guilty filler words and preventative methods.

    You can also read more of our articles on sales techniques that will improve your profits and a variety of other sales topics on our blog. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to our social media pages too as we continue to publish content on how to improve as a sales professional.