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Naughty Words in Sales Calls — Yay or Nay?

Naughty Words in Sales Calls — Yay or Nay?

Anirban Banerjee
Anirban Banerjee
August 4, 2022
5 min read

This article is part of the Sales Secrets Uncovered series where we share key learnings from our analysis of 211k+ sales calls spread over 3.8 million minutes and 12 months. Why? To uncover the stats that will help you sell better in 2022 and beyond!

This article is from the messy (and frankly overdue for a cleaning) desk of our Senior Content Specialist, Anirban.

PS: Use this data responsibly. Correlation is ≠ causation. 😇 Read more below.

Stubbed a toe? Lost a deal? Mad at your boss? You’ve probably dropped a four-letter bomb in one or all of these occasions. I know I have.

Science has a lot of interesting things to say about cussing, including the fact that they may be a sign of intelligence (I’ll take that) and can even help you overcome a tough challenge at the gym. Heck, it even improves pain tolerance.

But what place do they have in a sales call? DO they have a place in a sales call?

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If you had a similar reaction, we have news. The data suggests they do.

After going through 211k+ sales calls spread over 3.8 million minutes and 12 months, we noticed that in 5.3% of all deals, sales reps used words and phrases that can be termed “curse words”. As did prospects, in 3.2% of all deals.

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“But wait!” I hear you say, dear imaginary reader.

“Sure, some reps curse during calls. They’re probably losing deals left and right because of that!”

And you know what? I’d agree. Common sense dictates that cursing on calls is not a great way to create a good impression.

However, once again, the data seems to go against conventional wisdom here.

What we saw was that in deals where the reps cursed in calls, the win rate went up by 36%.

On the other hand, in the deals where prospects cursed, loss rate went up by 34%

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Now hold on. Before you start cursing up a storm in your next sales call (remember, causation is NOT correlation), let’s think about what this tells us.

It’s not that cursing on calls is by itself a great idea. The context is what matters.

We curse when we are angry, sure. But we also curse in casual conversation when we are around friends. When we cut a little loose, when we don’t use many of the professional filters we usually have on.

What the data tells us is that when you have built a rapport with your prospect that is so warm and close that you are comfortable dropping a four letter word or two, you increase your chances of closing deals dramatically.

And the only way to generate that trust is to honestly and genuinely have their best interest at heart.

So why is it that when prospects curse, the loss rate goes up?

Again, let’s look at it from the other way around.

Prospects are far less likely to be diplomatic when they aren’t feeling it — which means they don’t always curse in a friendly way.

So when a prospect curses in a call, it could be a bad sign. It could mean they are angry and upset.

So leads who want to track rep performance would do well to pay extra attention to calls where a prospect is using a few choice words.

PS: Wingman makes it easy. Just putting it out there.

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