Sales Coach Christine Harrington
Two Words NOT to Use When Selling.

Two Words NOT to Use When Selling. 4 Words to Use Instead

How often do you catch yourself responding to the buyer with the same pattern of phrases in the course of one sales conversation?  Are you recording your sales conversations? You should. You’ll learn quite a bit about how you sound to the buyer.

Last week, a team I’m working with sent me their recordings of sales conversations. A pattern of language stood out and I’m certain the prospects noticed as well by their responses. The two words NOT to use when selling is “I know” or “I understand”.

In the course of one sales conversation the sales professional repeated “I know” or “I understand” at least a half a dozen times as a response to the prospect. It came across, as I listened, a little arrogant. The sales pro didn’t mean for it too, but his response after the prospect answered a question was either “I understand but…” or an abrupt “I know.”

Using these types of phrases can borderline as a “know it all”. It can also sound diminishing or as minimizing the response of the person.

To “know” means to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty. And the same definition can be said for “understand”.

I know the situation fully


I understand the situation fully

(which are the phrases I heard several times during the recorded sales conversation.)

There are better ways to acknowledge the buyer’s answer than the two words not to use when selling.

In this article, we’ll explore synonyms to spruce up your language as alternative words to use.

Here are 4 words to use instead.

Synonyms of the word “Know”

#1 Aware

Aware means having knowledge, informed, alert.

I appreciate making me aware of the situation.

This sounds much more agreeable than “I know the situation fully“. Plus, the sentence structure using the word “aware” can transition easily into asking a question.

I appreciate making me aware of the situation. How will this effect XYZ?

Using I know the situation fully further implies there are no more questions to be asked. And as a sales coach, my next question to you is…do you know this to be true? You’re not the buyer. How can you “know” the situation fully? Well.. you can’t and the buyer knows that too.

#2 Realize

Realize: to grasp or understand clearly.

I now realize the situation.

Using the word realize helps to acknowledge to the buyer the information they shared is helpful. And it again sets up your response to follow with another probing question.

I now realize the situation. How will this impede distribution?

#3 Recognize

Recognize: to acknowledge that something is true, factual, or legal.

I recognize the situation you are referring to.

Again, a reply that can continue with a follow-up question.

I recognize the situation you are referring to. What I don’t understand is how this will impact your distribution?

#4 Appreciate

Appreciate: to value or regard highly the situation and be fully aware of it.

I appreciate the situation you find yourself in.

As a result of this response, a follow-up question can easily be asked.


Start with these synonyms: aware, realize, recognize, appreciate. There are about 15 more synonyms if you care to explore outside this article. Use these words to replace the Two Words NOT to Use When Selling, I know and I understand which can sound dismissive to the buyer. The only way you can know how you come across to the buyer is by recording your conversations. I highly recommend it. Listen for repeat patterns of expressions. My guess is you’ll discover speech patterns and phrases along with tones that you’ll want to change.

One sales pro asked me if all of this was necessary. And I asked her

After listening to your sales conversation and the 6 times you answered “I know”, would you buy from you?


Up your game from lazy language to using thought-provoking responses. In other words, really take the time to develop phrases you can use that easily transitions into a question. If you need help, just complete the form below!

As your mindset coach, you’ll learn new ways to think about selling. Be the Difference! If you’d like more information about transforming your mindset to a selling mindset, then contact me by filling out the form below and tell me specifically how I can help you. Why not take advantage of a 30-minute complimentary consultation. Fill out the form below or go to my contact page


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