Thank you for the wonderful talk you gave to our November 2010 National Association of Women Business Owners meeting. Our time together was much too short! We really learned so much about state-of-the.. Lorraine Ell
Director of Education and Leadership, NAWBO New Mexico – National Organization of Women Business Owners – New Mexico Chapter


The Curse of Jargon

Many salespeople use jargon—a disadvantage in selling. You know what I mean—every industry has industry jargon—technical terms and acronyms used by people in the field.

For example, I’m in the sales and marketing speaking business. The jargon in this field includes “positioning,” “targeting,” “referral sources,” “USP.” Do I use this when I talk with executives who are considering using my services?

No way! Remember the importance of ego—if I use a term my prospect doesn’t understand, is she likely to tell me so, saying, in effect, “I’m sorry. I’m stupid. Could you please define the term ‘positioning,’ I’m not sure what you mean by it?”

No! She’s going to nod and smile ... and probably decide she doesn’t want to work with me.

This is a difficult message for scientific and technical professionals especially. Their world is dominated by jargon and acronyms (acronyms are initials that mean something, such as USP, which I used earlier in this post. It means “unique selling proposition,” but if you didn’t happen to know that, wasn’t it frustrating to read that acronym?) Here’s the rule:

Use NO jargon and NO acronyms when you are selling. Force yourself to speak English (or the language of your prospect). If your prospect uses a jargon term or an acronym, and you are confident that you know what it means, you may use it, too, but only after your prospect said it first, and only if you know what it means, for sure!

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