The 5 Most Misused Words in Selling!

Sunday 03 April, 2016
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Peady's Selling Engagement


As regular readers know I work with media sales people all around the world - in big, midsize and small markets.  And when we do skills practice or accompany sales people on customer calls I often hear these misused words. Words that are actually code for something else altogether.

Here are some of my favourites:

“Value Add”

The two most misused “sales” words of them all whose real meaning has disappeared. In reality most clients and potential clients just ignore them because they don’t really mean anything.
In media sales “Value Add” means the free stuff we give to our client when we can’t overcome the price objection, explain our value proposition or can’t actually say what we really mean.


Many media salespeople don’t want to use the “s” word; you know tell people we are in sales. So our role is “marketing consultant” or “marketing adviser” - the problem is what we do isn’t marketing. We sell advertising solutions!

Additionally other sales people confuse what advertising and marketing actually is. Advertising isn’t marketing, it’s a component of marketing!


This one is a bit like “value add” - often negotiating in media simply means allowing the client or customer to win, but you at least keep your pride because you pushed back a couple of times.

Real negotiations are trust based and seek a mutually agreeable outcome - some call it a “win-win”. To complete a round of successful negotiations both sides need to trade a concession for a concession - for example; lower the price but buy more; provide more airtime or space and payment is made in advance.


One of those “sales” words that initially sounds positive but in fact tells the client "hey, it's all about me, I’ve got to get my budget and you can help!" Calling a customer and telling them about an exciting "opportunity" or a last minute “opportunity” is telling them that you've got a deal.  A deal just like any other opportunist and they’ll see straight through you.

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]






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