Tainted Words

Are you a fan of 80’s music?  I am, but not the hairstyles.

The other night I was watching some 1980’s videos on VH1, I came across one of my favourite bands – Soft Cell and their number one hit “Tainted Love” originally released in 1981.

And it got me thinking about other tainted things.  Tainted words came to mind and I came up with four tainted words to banish.


These are some words that you really want to stop using in your sales and coaching language but they just seem to pop up everywhere. 


Please sign here. Sign your life away you mean. Just stop and think of the impact this has on people. It can terrify some, turn others in to objection maniacs or just stop others in their tracks to really question what they’re doing.

Think of alternative ways of asking people to sign things. Use autograph, “can you authorise this for me please”, “Can you kindly OK this for me please”

If you indicate to the customer where they should be signing keep well away from putting an X marks the spot and use a tick instead. What does the note X mean to people? 

Yep it means wrong, zip, zero, bad, you can do better, incorrect.

Obvious when you think about it.


Use this word at your peril.  I often talk about revealing customer problems before introducing a solution and this is a tried and tested consultative selling technique. Just don’t use the word “problem”.  Instead use challenge or issue.


Definitely a no-no. Cheap, even worse and you’ll be inviting discounts. Instead re-phrase to cost, investment or fee. They just sound better.


We use the phrase “don’t hesitate to contact me”. What are people going to do first?  Yes they’re going to hesitate before calling you.

So there we have four tainted words – I’m sure you can think of some more of your own.  Lets banish them to the video archives of the early 1980’s.