Opinions vs Reality: Do you curse in sales?
Devin Reed: Welcome to the show. You are now part of Reveal: The Revenue Intelligence Podcast, powered by Gong. We're your hosts, Devin Reed.
Sheena Badani: And I'm Sheena Badani.
Devin Reed: We have a series that we're running with advanced selling podcast folks, and that's the Opinions vs Reality series. And so we're hanging out with our friends there. Brian and Bill are sharing their opinions on different sales topics at their podcast. And then we're jumping over and sharing the backside, which is the reality side. We just got done talking on your podcast about your opinions around cursing in sales. Now in case folks haven't heard that part of the episode, really quickly, Bill and Brian, you want to just give me the quick, what your opinion is on the matter? Should you or should you not curse in sales? Is it good? Is it bad?
Bill: Yeah, this is Bill. My opinion was, it's not helpful. Although, by the way, you asked the question and some of the stats you're starting to lead with, it feels like I may be way off in my answer. But I'm going to say now, I think it's probably not helpful.
Brian: And I also say that I think it is a no- no, something you shouldn't do. The only positive I could really see is it does show your authentic self if you are someone who curses, which I am. Otherwise, I'm sitting back and waiting and you're making a judgment there. So I would vote no, also.
Sheena Badani: Mine was generally no, but I see it happen all the time. So I feel like there must be some goodness in there, but I don't know.
Bill: Some goodness. crosstalk.
Brian: Some goodness. Cursing goodness. That's great.
Devin Reed: Which is good because when we were building our podcast, I remember being in a room with Sheena and being... I think I had cursed on an interview. Interview ends and I look over to her and I was like,"Is she going to crack?" And I was like," Sheena, are we cursing on the podcast moving forward?" She gives me this look, she's like," We are not cursing on the podcast moving forward." That's usually me, but I've done a pretty good job. So we looked at how often do sellers curse on sales calls. Bill guessed 8%, Brian guessed 32%, Sheena got the closest at 15%. It was 20%. Sellers curse on- calls 20% of the time. Now that includes the rated R versions, the F- bomb, S- H- I- T. I'm spelling these things out today because I've learned I can get flagged for explicit content, thank you, Brian. All the way to things like damn. That's if it happens or not. We looked at which words are said the most. Anyone want to guess the most popular curse words that are on calls?
Bill: Hell? I'll say hell.
Brian: I'm going to say shizit.
Devin Reed: Correct. It was.
Devin Reed: That was the most popular one.
Devin Reed: So if you look-
Brian: It's a tweener. It's a tweener curse word is what I got.
Bill: There's some goodness in that word though.
Brian: There's some goodness.
Bill: There's some goodness.
Brian: Sheena, you're famous forever. The goodness in cursing.
Bill: The goodness in cursing.
Brian: By Sheena Badani.
Devin Reed: By Sheena Badani, yeah.
Brian: That's great. Its own podcast.
Bill: It's a book.
Brian: It's a book.
Bill: It's a whole series.
Brian: The goodness in cursing.
Bill: The goodness in cursing.
Devin Reed: So we looked it up. So we said," Hey, is there a positive or negative correlation with the outcomes of deals, right? Is it going to kill your deal or not?" It does not kill your deal. In fact, there was a correlation that the best impact is when the buyer and the seller curse in a deal. There's an 8% percent lift in win rates.
Bill: Wow. 8%?
Devin Reed: 8%.
Brian: Yeah. Dang.
Devin Reed: So what we looked at too was, was there no cursing at all in the deal? And did the buyer curse? Bumps like 2%. Did just the seller curse? Bumps up another 2%. Did they both curse? 8%. And that's all the baseline from no cursing, so.
Devin Reed: It does have a positive impact, but like you said, Brian, I think it has to be used kind of strategically/ mindfully.
Brian: Mm- hmm( affirmative).
Devin Reed: And that was the advice I give in the article is, look, Bill asked me," One of you, do you curse on sales calls?" I said, yes, but it was when they curse first. Because what would happen is you're selling, and when the buyer... We sell to VPs of sales.
Devin Reed: Shocker. They curse sometimes.
Devin Reed: And so they would curse about something. Thank God, never at me. I didn't irritate them enough to be cursed at, but when they cursed I kind of sensed," Oh, their guard is down."
Devin Reed: You know what I mean? They're kind of letting me in to see the real them. I'm not getting their title, I'm getting the person.
Devin Reed: And then I would sometimes choose to reciprocate and kind of meet them at that level. But I almost never went first. And that's because one time, it was another guy on the sales team, he cursed on a sales call first, before this report. You later learn that person was a pastor at a church.
Bill: Mm- hmm( affirmative).
Devin Reed: And so he thought he was building rapport, but I think he probably put himself in a bit of a hole there.
Bill: So the key there then is get them to curse first.
Brian: Yes, exactly.
Bill: If you're a curser, full of goodness, full of cursing goodness, you want to get them to curse first and then you're home free. You're bumping 8%, I mean, 8% is a significant amount it's big.
Brian: It's huge.
Bill: And the next thing is that once they do curse, I think you've got to be careful not to curse quickly.
Devin Reed: Yes.
Bill: Because if it sounds a little too contrived and a little bit too like," Oh man, thank goodness you curse. I'm right at it." And you roll off 17 curse words, I think you need to be mindful of just making it organic.
Devin Reed: Yeah.
Sheena Badani: It kind of goes to your point, Brian, around being authentic.
Devin Reed: Yes.
Brian: Yeah. Yes.
Sheena Badani: Don't curse to curse.
Devin Reed: Yes.
Sheena Badani: If this is part of who you are and it's natural and it's part of the conversation and dialogue, then you're building that relationship in a more authentic fashion.
Brian: If any of us know, my friend's wife is a terrible cusser. She's a bad curser. She doesn't curse right. And it sounds real awkward.
Bill: She doesn't curse right.
Brian: No, she doesn't.
Devin Reed: Yeah.
Brian: I'm not going to say the things, but I'm like," Ugh." Every time. You don't know how to do this so you shouldn't because I think it gives you away.
Devin Reed: Like a teenager learning? A teenager learning how to use the words crosstalk
Brian: Little bit. Yeah, exactly right. Yeah.
Bill: Learning how to smoke and crosstalk
Brian: Trying to put them all together. And I do think if that is your authentic self and they do go first then I think it is, I would say, a decent strategy to go ahead and jump in with them.
Bill: Yeah. All though, I also feel that if you don't curse, don't curse.
Brian: True. Truth. Truth. No.
Bill: Don't use this as a way to get 8% more, because it's not going to come off organically, or the organic curse.
Bill: Yeah. I mean, I think it's more important you listen to what the prospect is saying and how they're feeling, and asking those questions and getting your mind in this whole curse/ no curse thing.
Bill: But it's a fascinating experience.
Brian: I had a client actually that... Clients always give you feedback, and they came after our first few sessions and their VP of sales said," Hey, I want to give you some feedback." I'm like,"Great." So I'm thinking about how it's going or something, whatever. He's like," Hey, just one thing that's just not working for us." He's like," You cuss a lot." And I don't want it to take away from the content. And I'm like, okay, I can deal with that.
Devin Reed: Yep.
Brian: And then of course I hang out with these guys and every other word is the F- bomb from some of them. I'm like, wait a second. What's going on? But read the room, let them go first, and then feel comfortable being yourself. Authenticity always wins.
Devin Reed: Yeah. Once I published, I think people were like," Oh, he's looking for a reason to curse or to justify it."
Bill: Yeah. Yeah.
Devin Reed: When I did it it was more of," Am I shooting myself in the foot?"
Devin Reed: You know what I mean? Is this a bad thing? And it really what I was hoping for was just, it doesn't do damage.
Devin Reed: Right?
Devin Reed: So to me, it was like, look, if it slips... If you decide to occasionally, don't worry about it. HR don't call. It's all good.
Devin Reed: Versus the advice of," Oh, I guess Devin Reed is saying go curse on sales calls." Which is really funny, because later that year we took a sales call, like a demo. And one of the sellers came in really hot. And he was like," Devin, it's really effing good to meet you, man. I read all your work." And I was like," What?" And he's like," Oh, the cursing article." And I was like," You didn't read the whole thing, because I definitely don't do that."
Brian: He just read the headline.
Bill: And I didn't go first, right?
Brian: Oh, that's funny.
Devin Reed: Exactly. Exactly. So we talked about some words that don't hurt your sales. We also have a list of words that do so. So we did another analysis for listeners. If you want a HR- friendly list of words that sell, we have it in the show notes. It's literally called" Words that sell", it's a one- page PDF. It's got about a handful of different words that are proven to work by top performers. So if you want to check that out, download it, put it on your desktop background, share with your enablement team, it's there for you. And make sure you tune in next Monday for our Reveal: The Revenue Intelligence Podcast interview, and the following Wednesday when we're going to have Brian and Bill back for another Opinions vs Reality. Did you like today's episode? Subscribe now so next week's episode will be waiting for you on Monday.
Sheena Badani: And if you really liked the podcast, please leave a review. Five- star reviews go a long way to help get the word out there.
Devin Reed: And if you're not ready to give a five, check out another episode and see if we've won you over by then.
Do you know the impact cursing has on your sales calls? Bryan and Bill from the Advanced Selling Podcast join us for Opinions vs Reality. This midweek bonus episode unpacks the unexpected impact cursing has. Do you think it shows authenticity or a lack of professionalism?
We reveal data that may make you rethink the words you use (and when).
Plus, there are 5 words that can make your sales calls even more persuasive. These are the words and phrases used by high-performing salespeople to close more deals. How many of these words do you use? Find out: https://gongh.it/words-that-sell-gong-asp/
If you missed the Opinions portion of this podcast (aka the first half of the episode), you can listen here: https://link.chtbl.com/RXCZTv0g