Why do we use sales jargon?
Definition = Technical vocabulary that is used by professionals within a certain field, as a form of communication. Involves the use of inflated phrases, which makes the user and their ideas sound impressive to the listener.
Google dictionary, 2019
“special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand.”
Jargon is often used to convey hidden meanings which are used within a specific industry.
Not just the sales industry
I have worked in variety of industries and believe me they all have their own form of jargon.
In-fact there is almost a sense of non-acceptance until you can speak the lingo.
The sales industry is particularly notorious for using sales jargon. The overuse of technical slang in the past hasn’t helped the industry’s reputation.
Whilst it has a place in business, we must be careful not to rely on, or over use it. If we do, caution must be taken as to when, who and where to use it.
Typical sales jargon
Always Be Closing. A phrase often used by managers and sales advisers to their sales teams, highlighting the main objective of a call.
A metaphor used to enable the user or listener to visualise the flow of sales leads. Phrases used such as ‘Ensuring your pipeline is full’, ‘Keep your pipeline flowing’ etc…
Another metaphor used to allow the user and listener to visualise where they are in the sales process. The top of the funnel, being the widest, referring to new prospects that have not yet committed.
The aim is to get the prospect to the bottom of the funnel and to close the deal. Bottom of the funnel (BOFU).
A closed question requires a yes-or-no answer. Directing the prospect toward making a choice. Example “shall we get a date in the diary?”
The decision maker is the contact required to make financial decisions and who’s permission is needed to close a deal. Often the CEO, CMO, Directors or heads of department.
The gatekeeper is referred to as the person standing between you and the decision maker. Often the personal assistant to the decision maker, or the receptionist. Usually the first barrier the sales person needs to get past.
An intellectual sale will appeal to a prospect’s logic, and their need for a quick, affordable solution to a problem. An intellectual sale is more business than an emotional or personal sale.
This will appeal to the buyers emotions. Do they like the look of the product?
Financial implications are not always taken into consideration. Tangible products usually play on consumer emotions as opposed to an intellectual sale which may apply to the service sector. Therefore appearance, feel, smell and want emotions may come into play.
Non-sales-related activities. Duties or tasks not directly linked to making a sale, such as administration or paper work.
Purposely holding off on closing active deals once you’ve already hit your quota/commission for the month. This is a way of stocking up on leads for the following month.
A prospect who has no intention or ability to buy. Due to budget, authority, or their timeline is far into the future. These kind of prospects are a waste of time.
Careful and targeted lead generation can reduce the risk of wasting time on these kind of prospects. Knowing your prospects is key to becoming a good sales person.
Always do your research before you waste time speaking to those who have no interest.
Selling additional products or services to the prospect to enhance the basic offering and to make the sale more profitable.
It maybe that you offer or encourage an alternative product/service which may cost more than the original offering. For example, you buy a holiday, but then you are asked if you want insurance, extra baggage allowance, early check-in, all at an extra cost.
Return on Investment. Prospects will only sign up if they know that they will get a ROI. You will need to prove that your product or service is going to increase profits and make a difference.
When to use sales jargon
It is important to decide before you speak to a client or prospect as to whether using jargon is right for your audience. Prospects may not be in the same industry and will not necessarily be familiar with your jargon.
It is often the case that the listener will pretend to understand what the seller is saying so as not to sound stupid. This leads to confusion as the listener would have been too focused on understanding the jargon, rather than on the details of what you are selling.
Sales jargon to avoid
The over use of jargon can come across as confusing and will often put the buyer off. Apart from the abbreviated type of jargon, the repetitive and more cheesy one liners are often over used.
“Lets touch base”
“We are on a journey.”
“Its a no brainer.”
“Its a game changer”
“Lets line our ducks up in a row”
Where possible i would try to avoid these one-liners. The prospect has heard them all before and it makes the caller sound like they are reeling off quotes from a script.
Use simple language that sounds more natural. Here are some alternatives to the above.
“Hi, i just wanted to catch up and see how things are going.”
“We are with you every step of the way.”
“I believe our product/service will be a great addition to your business/company.” explain how……
“I believe our product/service will work well with your business” explain how……
“Let me explain how we work and then see if we can get a date in the diary.”
All in moderation
As is said “all things in moderation”, there is a time and a place for sales jargon.
It is important to be natural, this makes the listener feel that they are talking to someone who is interested.
This can also open the lines of communication and dialogue between you. Ultimately leading to a sale or a date in the diary.
A skill that requires experience and practice
An experienced sales person will instinctively know their clients and will turn the jargon on and off, just by sensing the receivers response.
If you are new to the industry, then this is a skill that will need work. Keep yourself up to date with new and emerging sales techniques.
Techniques have changed since the days of old and you will need to find your own way of wining over clients.
Research Runner are a global, sales consultancy who speciailize in targeted lead generation and sales advice.
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