01/03/2017 - 13:01

Value-adding to optimise alignment a no brainer?

01/03/2017 - 13:01

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OPINION: Words matter, and what you say can make or break your chances of making the sale.

Value-adding to optimise alignment a no brainer?
If you don’t sharpen your message, customers will tune out. Photo: Stockphoto

OPINION: Words matter, and what you say can make or break your chances of making the sale.

How does your prospect perceive your words? New? Engaging? Valuable? Exciting? Compelling? Or are they 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, or even smart. Wrong. In fact, they put you in a deficit position. When you wax worn-out words, your prospect is downsizing your order.

In her 2007 book, The Voice of Authority, Dianna Booher covers the communication strategies every leader needs to know.

Here’s what she has to say about the way you speak.

“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. Instead, aim for originality and specificity.”

Here is a list of bureaucratic buzzwords that Booher says muddies messages and mars 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).

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

• Incent (prodding people with money, freebies, coupons, whatever it takes to get them to do something they’re not inclined to do on their own).

• 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 those who don’t think?).

• Optimisation (the process of making things better and better – cooking, flying, making movies, building skyscrapers, counting votes, applying makeup etc).

• 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 (term meaning packed full of potential to be hard-hitting – in the mind, heart, pocketbook).

• Branding (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, these were methods, or the ways 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 major 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 the corporate world write drivel like this – someone else reads it, likes it, and approves it. Pathetic.

Jeffrey Gitomer is an American author, professional speaker and business trainer, who writes and lectures internationally on sales, customer loyalty and personal development.

© 2017 All rights reserved. Don’t reproduce this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.

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