11 expressions to avoid

By Bryce Sanders | July 7, 2014 | Last updated on September 21, 2023
3 min read

In previous columns we’ve looked at a number of expressions you should never use with clients. Here are 11 more to scratch off your list.

Read: Expressions to avoid

#1.Easy Come, Easy Go”

Also avoid, “It’s only money,” and “Win some, lose some.”

Why: You appear as though you aren’t taking their concerns seriously.

Instead: “I realize the market is volatile, but it’s important to keep things in perspective…”

#2.I shouldn’t be telling you this, but…”

Sometimes we pass along rumors. It often backfires.

Why: Inside information, hot tips and speculation tend to blur the lines. If something went wrong your client will point the finger at you.

Instead: “Here’s what our research says. There’s been a lot of chatter about this firm on the following websites and talk shows. If you want to hear what these other people are saying, check out their websites.”

#3.You’re not recording this, are you?”

Now it really sounds like you have something to hide.

Why: Everything you do should be able to withstand scrutiny.

Instead: “Here’s what I know so far…” and “I have this available in print if you want more details…”

#4.Here’s what I think”

Implies you know better than the analysts. Many clients value a major firm’s research capabilities.

Why: Corporate executives respect chains of command and loyalty.

Instead: “I know you’re concerned. You asked a pointed question yesterday. Our analyst has a conference call today and I’ll ask that question on your behalf….”

#5.I’ll send you something”

You make a recommendation and plan to send the marketing package.

Why: It sounds like an afterthought.

Instead: If the client is sitting with you, hand it over immediately.

#6.I’ll let voicemail get it”

The phone rings while you’re with a client. It’s an important meeting. You ignore the ringing phone and focus on the client.

Why: The client saw you glanced at the caller ID first. She wonders if you do that with her calls.

Instead: “Excuse me. We have two levels of backup but sometimes calls bounce back if everyone is tied up. I’ll let them know I’m in a meeting and will return their call shortly.”

#7.I promise”

A version of “guarantee.” You’re committing yourself to an action and follow-up actions if complications develop.

Why: You set expectations, but you cannot control everyone’s actions. It’s your name on the line.

Read: 10 expressions to avoid

Instead: “Let’s go over our to-do lists. It’s my job to take care of the following…. It’s your job to do these tasks….Let’s reconnect on Friday.”

#8.You’re Outta Here”

We think we can fire clients, especially when tempers flare. It’s not that easy.

Why: Frustrated homeowners fire contractors. They get sued. We take on a level of responsibility when we enter a client relationship. We don’t expect our best clients to leave. Why can we choose when to walk away?

Instead: “We are all in this together….”

#9.The market took us all by surprise”

Our rationalization for sudden swings. Considering each trade has a buyer and a seller, it didn’t take everyone by surprise.

Why: It sounds like, “I’m no smarter than you are.” If that’s true, why are they paying for your advice?

Instead: “The market is a leading indicator for the economy. World events cause problems because the market doesn’t like surprises. We still own good companies….”

#10.It’s a sure thing”

Also avoid, “You can’t lose.”

Why: You cannot account for all contingencies. If the client owns a CD, what happens if he sells before maturity?

Instead: “Here’s how this investment works. It’s based on the following assumptions….”

#11. “The long term is what we talk about when the short term isn’t working”

It sounds like a comedian should be saying this. But your client isn’t laughing.

Why: It’s as if you’re treating investing like a game.

Instead: “The market goes up like an escalator but down like an elevator. We own well-run companies….”

Also read:

Never use these 10 expressions

Another 10 expressions you should never use

Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders is President of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, PA. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.com.