“The chief virtue that language can have is clearness, and nothing detracts from it so much as the use of unfamiliar words.”
Is the language you are using clear, concise and full of familiar words?
Have you ever given thought that your clients and future clients desire understandable, to the point information, free from unnecessary jargon or complex terms? You see, plain language benefits your clients, you and your company.
Salespeople… You owe it to the person you are communicating with to engage in conversation simply and clearly. Please remember, the primary goal of communication is to convey information.
Are you communicating information succinctly, so people understand quickly, without having to decipher complicated sentences or vague sales jargon?
Let’s stop right here for a moment, and now ask yourself… If people understand more of what I’m saying, would they likely feel that I make sense?
To further drive this home, I will defer to the entrepreneur, Stephen Wang, who said,
“No matter what job you have in life, your success will be determined 5 percent by your academic credentials, 15 percent by your professional experiences and 80 percent by your communication skills.”
Good communication has strong business value. Plain, simple language removes barriers between your clients, your future clients and yourself. This will set you apart from all the other salespeople. And isn’t this what you want?
CLEAR COMMUNICATION IS CRITICAL IN THE 21ST CENTURY
“Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. onto something when it came to communication?
Back in the 1800’s, he surrounded himself with the literary legends, including the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Together, they left an imprint on the literary world of the 19th century that flows right into the 21st century.
Why am I bringing this into this message? Because of another one of his quotes…
“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.”
Whether you’re a tenured salesperson or just starting out your career, the language you use, how you communicate it and how well you engage in meaningful conversations are foundational skill sets you must master to catapult your sales career.
Salespeople, well over 200 years ago they were writing about it.
Bringing this into the present, the World Health Organization (WHO) identifies the fundamental life skills as decision-making and problem solving, creative thinking and critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills, self-awareness and empathy, and coping with emotions and stress.
Furthermore, they go onto say,
“Higher-education and business leaders cite soft skills as being the most important driver of success in higher-level courses and in the workplace.”
My sales friends, strengthening your conversational, people and relational skills will elevate you to new sales heights!
STOP THE SALES JARGON
Allow this quote to sink in for a moment,
“Jargon allows us to camouflage intellectual poverty with verbal extravagance.”
David Pratt, Foreign Editor, Sunday Herald
Unfortunately, many in sales are using the same standard sets of sales jargon to describe situations as a replacement for just speaking plain old normal language. They rely on buzzwords to communicate concepts rather than explaining what they mean.
Do you think this makes you sound or look smart? I guarantee it only adds more confusion especially when your clients need clarity.
Words matter and you must choose them wisely.
Communicate in a way that brings you to life. Hiding behind catchphrases and buzzwords is not a cool way to lead your sales life.
Allow this quote to sink in…
“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.”
STOP HIDING BEHIND COMPLICATED WORDS
It’s difficult to gain access to key decision-makers and executives. When you do get that meeting, it’s mission-critical you maximize every minute. The last thing you want is to walk away empty-handed, or worse, leaving them confused and none the wiser about how you can help them do better business.
Empty sales reps try to cover up their lack of understanding and experience with science, jargon, and overly complicated sales phrases, all because they think it sounds good. All this does is confuse, alienate and distract from business betterment.
In George Orwell’s essay, “Politics and the English Language”, he shares his opinion on our reliance on “dying metaphors,” “pretentious diction,” “stale similes and idioms,” and other instances of mannered verbiage has clouded our thinking.
He understood that if we only recite clichéd and meaningless phrases because they sound nice, we’re spared the effort and challenge of not only crafting our thoughts and opinions into fresh language, but confronting what our thoughts and opinions really are.
In other words, salespeople… using unclear and overly complicated cliched sales jargon reflects upon you with unclarity and canned thinking.
ENGAGE IN SIMPLE CONVERSATION
Are you connecting or disconnecting when conversing with your clients?
Again, salesy language, acronyms, overly complicated jargon and filler words… this only detracts from your message and how you engage in business conversation.
The words you use must be simple, easy to understand and straightforward.
How are you conveying how you can help?
The words you use are your tools, choose them carefully.
Your ideas and solutions can be complex and sophisticated, however; you must be able to communicate clearly and concisely to create ease of understanding.
In a conversation, the only thing you can control is yourself, your behavior, and how you carry yourself. Just imagine how your conversation will be if you are speaking effectively and listening consciously. You can leave a conversation energized, inspired and action-oriented.
NO SUBSTITUTE FOR SIMPLE BUSINESS CONVERSATION
To quote Albert Einstein,
“If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well.”
As sales professionals, we are responsible for making sure our clients understand our messages and conversations. Using plain and simple language is not a sign of sales weakness!
Industry jargon can become a habit. Many sales don’t realize they are using complex language.
Salespeople assume it sounds impressive to use big words and flowery sales language.
Salespeople believe that they are “dumbing it down” when they use plain words.
I ask all of you to…
- Ditch your ego – An important part of embracing plain language is letting go of your desire to use impressive words.
- Keep it simple – Use familiar and easy to understand words.
Sir Richard Branson said,
“Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to make something simple.”
How are you communicating?
Originally published on Larry Levine’s LinkedIn.