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Dumb it down! How your lingo, acronyms and insider talk is driving buyers away

· Sales Messaging,Sales Lingo,decision science

The Summer is over...and while Fall arrived a few weeks ago, the temperature finally reflected that change this past weekend.

In preparation, I went into my local garden nursery. There was a “sales” person working in the store:

Me: “I would like to stock up on some firewood.”

Salesperson: “Ok, how much do you need? A face cord?”

Me: “What’s a face cord?”

Salesperson: “Well, it’s about a third of a typical 16” cord.”

Me: “Dude, let’s start over. I would like some firewood.”

Salesperson: “Ok. Do you want Oak or Spruce?”

Me: **bursts into tears** “Firewood!!! I just want to buy some firewood!”

Don’t assume that because your buyer is in the market for your goods or services, that they understand your lingo, acronyms or what’s right for them. You can't even assume your own co-workers, partners or customers know your industry jargon.

Once, during a board meeting presentation, one of my peers (our Chief Marketing Officer...aka CMO) repeatedly used acronyms. Our board smiled and nodded a couple of times as though they knew what he was referring to. However, one of them eventually snapped! It didn't go well for our CMO.

Even the things you assume everyone knows may not be known. During the process of writing my book, in one paragraph I referenced "ROI". I did not include the associated "(return on investment)". My editor asked me what ROI meant, and reprimanded me for it. It wasn't the only time in the first draft I had referenced something using an acronym or jargon. The final version corrected for that.

In looking to replace my daughter's old iPad, I went to the Best Buy website. Once there, I'm directed to "Shop iPad Models", presented with a list: iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd gen.), iPad Pro 11-inch, iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd gen.), iPad Air, iPad and iPad mini. I had no clue where to start.

I certainly found this firewood discussion to be frustrating, but luckily for this retailer I'm not the type of person who gets embarrassed by not knowing something. However, many people, including your buyers, may be.

Imagine a scenario where you're speaking with an individual who uses an industry term you're not familiar with. You don't want to interrupt, so you nod with understanding. The individual uses it again, and again, and again, then asks you a question about it. Now you're lost, embarrassed, and attempt to unwind the conversation. Are you doing this to your prospects or customers?

You can never assume.

Your role, from beginning to end, is to aid the buyer in making a confident, well-informed buying decision.

When answering an inbound lead, during your quick discovery, you can ask, “Do you know the type or amount you’re interested in?” If the answer is yes, act accordingly. Educate them if their “yes” seems off the mark, or there’s an opportunity for a better experience for that buyer.

If the answer is no, aid them through discovery.

No lingo. No industry jargon. No acronyms.

It's that easy.

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