The “I’s” DO NOT Have It!

Do you ever watch an interview on TV & count the times the interviewee says the word “I”? Fun game to play.

Worse, do you ever find yourself in a conversation with someone that can’t resist the word? It’s exhausting.

This image sums it up pretty nicely. In 2015, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup Championship. During the post-game speech, Captain Jonathan Toews said the word “we” 14 times & the word “I” zero times.

A year later, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship. Post-game, LeBron James took the stage & gave a speech. He said “I” a whopping 18 times. We? None.

OK, we’re in the sales profession. A profession that involves working with prospects & customers where it behooves us to make it about them– not us. How many salespeople out there do you think screw this up? Lots. Be ridiculously honest with yourself. It might hurt. Ask yourself: How many times do I say the word “I” on sales calls? How many times do I write the word “I” in my emails? A painful exercise that will pay off for you. You have to remember this: IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!

So many people want to make it about themselves (you know these people). They talk about what they’ve done, where they’ve been, where they’re going, who they know. You want to know how great they are? Just ask ‘em! Some people trip over themselves to remind you that they are there. Again, exhausting!

So, let’s review ways to make it about THEM. It starts with you being curious. You asking questions. You being a good listener.

Ask questions like:

  • “What did we discuss that caused you to invite us in?”
  • “What are some of the problems you are having?”
  • “What’s going on here, with you & your business?”
  • “What are you looking for?”
  • “Why don’t we ask each other some questions & see if we have a fit?”

Say things like:

  • “Makes sense.”
  • “Sounds interesting.”
  • “Appreciate that.”
  • “Hmm. . . that sounds tough.”
  • “You have given this a lot of thought.”

In emails, simply cut out the “I’s”:

  • “It can be difficult…”
  • “We were discussing…”
  • “We’d like to offer…”
  • “When can we get together to determine next steps?”
  • “When is the best date/time for us to connect?”

Read your emails. Then read them again. If you have the word “I” in the body of your email more than twice it’s probably too much. You can almost always insert “we”, “us” or “our” in its place. Your prospects & customers will appreciate it. Go for it.


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Dave Tear

Dave is passionate about selling & helping others understand the sales process. Whether a client company has a 5 person sales team or a 300 person National sales force, Dave can Coach & Train them to be the best in their industry.
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