14/12/2011 - 10:49

Pay close attention to what you’re saying

14/12/2011 - 10:49


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How does your prospect perceive your words? New? Engaging? Valuable? Exciting? Compelling? Or are they boring, time-worn clichés?

HOW does your prospect perceive your words?
New? Engaging? Valuable? Exciting? Compelling? 

Or are they boring, time-worn clichés that have your prospect mentally yawning and turned off?

You may think your industry buzzwords, sales jargon, and catchy phrases make you look hip, even smart. Wrong.

In fact, they put you in a deficit position. When you use worn-out words, your prospect is downsizing your order.

In her book, The Voice of Authority, Dianna Booher covers 10 communication strategies every leader needs to know. These strategies are so transferable to salespeople it’s scary. 

She says if a phrase starts to roll off your tongue, shut your mouth; consider it a cliché – probably a phrase so overused that the meaning has long since been lost. 

Dianna writes: “Instead, aim for originality and specificity. For starters, here’s a list of bureaucratic buzzwords that muddy messages and spoil your image as a clear communicator and straight shooter.

No brainer – meaning if you don’t see it as clearly as I do, you’re off your rocker.

Enhancement – an improvement too insignificant to charge for but worth touting; often confused with body parts.

Value-added – anything you can’t charge for because the client doesn’t value it enough to pay for it.

Core competencies – as opposed to core incompetencies?

Initiatives – long, long ago, they were called goals and plans.

Thought leaders – as opposed to those who lead the unthinking morons?

Solution – solid dissolved in a liquid or a mathematical proof hidden inside all products and services now offered by all corporations around the world.

Alignment – identifying where the rubber doesn’t meet the road in goals that are supposed to be running parallel to yours.

Deliverables – paperboys and girls used to ride bikes and carry these.

Moral clarity – when you decide you can’t get away with something without being fined or jailed.

Impactful – newly coined term meaning packed full of potential to be hard-hitting.

Branding – making livestock so it doesn’t get lost or stolen; marking dead stock in inventory that hasn’t sold in years with a new ‘look and feel’ so that it finds its way to market again.

Methodologies – in more primitive times, this was methods or the way you do something.

Technologies – yet undiscovered wizardry from the netherworld.

Bandwidth –refers to anything you want to limit, as in “that’s outside our bandwidth”.

Seamless – meaning, “I don’t know where the heck my job ends and yours starts, so we can pass the buck if necessary”.

Platform – horizontal structure that supports all systems, people, brands, and philosophies.

And it’s not just speaking. Stringing these terms together in paragraph after paragraph from document to document makes written communication as bland and meaningless as verbal communication. 

Take a look at this excerpt from an annual report of a Fortune 10 company to see if you find anything thought provoking.

“Our industry is constantly evolving. The industry has globalised as the world’s economies have expanded. Partners and competitions change. New opportunities are larger, more capital intensive, and often in remote areas or difficult physical environments. Business cycles fluctuate, but our long-term view provides us with consistent direction. Finally, technology has improved the methods we employ and the results we achieve in meeting the world’s energy challenges.”

Any great revelation here? Nothing specific. Could have come from any energy company in the market; or remove the word ‘energy’ and you could insert it in just about any annual report. Bland. Boring. Not only does someone in corporate America write drivel like this – someone else reads it, likes it, and approves it. Pathetic.

In the past 15 years I have only reviewed a handful of books in this forum. The Voice of Authority, by Dianna Booher rocks.

I recommend you invest in it. Your words speak as loud as your actions – in spite of clichés to the contrary.


Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com , will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email salesman@gitomer.com


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