The Best Phrases to Seal the Deal: Why Honesty and Transparency Close Sales

Sales Enablement
July 8, 2024

In the high-stakes arena of sales, sealing the deal isn’t just about the product or service you’re offering—it’s about how you communicate your message. The words you choose can build trust, showcase your expertise, and ultimately sway a buyer to say “yes.” Just like a finely tuned watch, every word you speak can move the hands of decision in your favor. Let's dive into some top-notch phrases that can help you close the deal and why they’re so effective. These golden nuggets of wisdom are designed to resonate with your buyer's needs, foster a sense of trust, and position you as not just a seller, but a trusted advisor.

"We aren’t an expert in that, but I can refer you."

Why It Works: Honesty is the cornerstone of trust. When you admit that you’re not the best fit for a specific need and offer a referral instead, you show that you’re genuinely interested in the client’s success. This honesty builds a foundation of trust, making the buyer more likely to rely on you for what you do best.

"We wouldn’t do it that way; last time we tried, it ended in disaster."

Why It Works: Sharing your past mistakes demonstrates experience and transparency. Buyers appreciate knowing that you’ve been through the trenches and have learned valuable lessons. This phrase reassures them that your current recommendations are based on real-world experience, reducing their perceived risk.

"Here are the top reasons an engagement fails."

Why It Works: Proactively discussing potential pitfalls shows that you understand the complexities of your engagement. By addressing these issues upfront, you manage expectations and position yourself as a thoughtful partner who plans for success by avoiding common failures. This transparency can turn potential objections into opportunities for collaboration.

"I can’t provide a discount because my prices are calibrated for some baked-in failure. If I remove that, we both may get nothing from this."

Why It Works: This phrase underscores the value of your service. It communicates that your pricing reflects a realistic assessment of risks and ensures a successful outcome. By standing firm on your pricing, you emphasize quality and reliability over cost, discouraging price haggling and reinforcing the idea that you get what you pay for.

"I don’t know the answer, and it’s so far outside of my expertise I don’t have anyone to refer you to."

Why It Works: Admitting when you don’t know something is a powerful trust-builder. It shows integrity and humility, reassuring the buyer that you won’t overpromise or mislead them. This honesty can be more persuasive than trying to bluff your way through a topic, fostering a deeper sense of trust and credibility.

"This is a partnership, so you will have to invest a few hours each week to make it successful."

Why It Works: Setting clear expectations about the buyer’s involvement promotes a sense of shared responsibility. It emphasizes that success is a collaborative effort, which can increase the buyer’s commitment and engagement in the process. When buyers feel they have skin in the game, they’re more likely to work towards a successful outcome.

"We scale what you would do at low scale. Our job isn’t to invent new ideas; it’s to capture the ideas your best sellers have and scale them. I don’t know what your buyers want."

Why It Works: This phrase clarifies your role and sets realistic expectations. By acknowledging that you build on existing successful practices rather than creating new ones, you align your capabilities with the buyer’s proven strategies, reducing uncertainty and building confidence. It also positions you as a partner in scaling success, not just a vendor.

"I don’t know your market."

Why It Works: Admitting a lack of market knowledge may seem risky, but it demonstrates humility and honesty. It opens up a dialogue where the buyer can share their insights, making them feel valued and fostering a collaborative relationship. This admission can also pave the way for a deeper understanding of the buyer’s needs and a more tailored solution.

"I won’t be able to take on this engagement. If you’re talking about price before we have gotten to scope, it means that no matter what we do, you’ll be unhappy with what you paid for it, because you don’t know what success looks like."

Why It Works: This phrase addresses misaligned priorities and highlights the importance of defining success before discussing costs. It sets a precedent for value-based pricing and ensures that the buyer is focused on outcomes rather than just expenses. By prioritizing scope and success metrics, you help the buyer understand the true value of your service.

"What would success and failure look like for you? How do we make sure we are resourced internally to make this successful?"

Why It Works: Asking about the buyer’s definitions of success and failure shifts the focus to their goals and needs. It shows that you’re invested in their outcomes and willing to work together to ensure the necessary resources and support are in place. This collaborative approach can help align expectations and pave the way for a successful partnership.

"Do you know what you’re going to do with the data and how we can measure that?"

Why It Works: This question prompts the buyer to think critically about their data utilization and measurement strategies. It positions you as a partner who is concerned with practical implementation and results, rather than just selling a product. This focus on actionable insights and measurable outcomes can build confidence in your solution’s effectiveness.

"After much consideration, I’m not the right fit for this engagement, but I’m grateful you made such a committed attempt to work with me."

Why It Works: Turning down an engagement respectfully shows integrity and a commitment to mutual success. It leaves the door open for future opportunities and positions you as a principled professional who prioritizes the right fit over short-term gains. This honesty can strengthen your reputation and lead to more suitable engagements down the line.

"At that price, it doesn’t make sense for me to engage, as I can’t think of a scope that would make you happy."

Why It Works: This phrase reinforces the importance of value and satisfaction. It conveys that you won’t compromise on the quality of your work and that any engagement should be mutually beneficial. Ensuring the buyer understands the value they are getting helps set realistic expectations and fosters a sense of fairness and respect.

Knowing Your Limits

Understanding and communicating your limits is crucial in sales. Recognizing opportunity costs, avoiding bad-fit customers, and being transparent about your capabilities not only builds trust but also positions you as a reliable and honest partner. These qualities make it more likely that buyers will choose to work with you, despite any initial hesitations.


Closing a deal isn’t just about having the best product or service; it’s about how you communicate with potential buyers. Phrases that emphasize honesty, transparency, and a deep understanding of both your strengths and limitations are powerful tools in building trust and securing commitments. By using these phrases, you not only enhance your credibility but also create a foundation for successful, long-term partnerships.

What’s Your Best Phrase?

We’d love to hear from you. What’s your go-to phrase for sealing the deal? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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