Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Inarticulate Social Selling 3.0 – Sales jargon

“Ours is the age of substitutes:
 instead of language, we have jargon:
 instead of principles ,slogans:
and instead of genuine ideas, bright ideas.

 So wrote Eric Bentley British-born American critic, playwright, singer, editor and translator.

Today we might follow the entertaining writing of Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times and for any fellow insomniac devotees to her broadcasts on BBC Radio World service. She invites readers of her column to vote on her yearly Golden Flannel Awards.

 She lampoons jargon used by corporations particularly their euphemisms for sacking and hiring ( transitioning and onboarding).

I guess we all quite enjoy laughing at HR’s attempts to try and sugar such testing communication medicine.

Yet we are ALL guilty of picking up and using jargon.

 For salespeople this is perhaps a particularly perilous habit, since we are trained to empathise more , relate to our prospect using their language. Many salespeople consider it right to not only mirror buyer’s body language but also “parrot” or “echo” the client’s vocabulary.

One category in Lucy Kellaway’s Jargon Awards are the entrants for the Communications Cup.

This is awarded for the most awful way of suggesting that two people meet, email or talk.”

Since meeting, talking on the phone and emailing are a central part of what we in selling do, perhaps we should take note of entrants for the Golden Flannel Awards Communication Cup.

If for no other reason, we need protect ourselves from buyers mentally ticking their Bullshit Bingo boxes when we utter such rubbish. Such inarticulate expression does little to earn the trust of our clients or build a professional impression.

Meeting, talking on the phone and emailing are all pretty straightforward, so you wouldn’t have thought we need new words  to describe them

Previous winners have included: 
to reach out,
to circle back
and to revert. 

“All three are terrific” Lucy sarcastically suggests, and all are still in use.

 However, in 2013 there have been many additions of which the best (worst) are:

To connect.
This is deceptively simple, and sounds innocuous. But it is the new way of saying “Let’s do lunch”, only without the promise of any lunch. So it’s “let’s connect in the NY”. And “would be great to connect going forward”.

To sync-up.
As in “Shall we sync-up for lunch before Xmas”? This one is very popular with consultants Lucy Kellaway suggests

To loop you in.
If you are looped in, you are therefore in the loop.
 Lucy Kellaway comments “I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been looped in this year. All I can say  is I don’t like it.”

When would be a good time to reach out to arrange a telecom?

This arrived in a message from a PR last month to Lucy Kellaway. It has made the shortlist as it is a variant on meetings about meetings, and is innovative in the use of the word “telecom”.

Should we avoid all these pitfalls and properly communicate with our client , may we share “insights” or should I say “genuine ideas”  a la Eric Bentley ? !

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