We spend thousands of dollars going to school, attending seminars, and reading trade magazines rich with technical terms and industry jargon. Knowing those terms is important and when it comes to talking to colleagues you can fire away, but when it comes to talking to customers simple language is best. I don’t mean dumbing it down. I mean clear, simple, concise language that anyone can understand.

Customers need to feel comfortable in order to let down their guard and be receptive to your message. Talking over their heads makes them feel inadequate and confused. Using industry terms and high-brow words alienates entire segments of your market. The key to closing a deal is not showing off your Scrabble skills. It’s about your expertise and how well you position yourself as a trusted advisor. Speaking a common language is the first step toward building that trust.

So how do you know what words are too much and how do you rephrase them? I can’t cover every word and phrase, but I can give you  few examples:

Instead of saying something is “more efficent” you can say it “saves time.”

Instead of saying “maximize returns” you can say “stretch your dollar.”

Instead of saying “oscillates in a full orbital motion” you can say “it turns around in a full circle.”

As you can see each one says the same thing, it’s just that one uses words anyone can understand and the other uses terms more appropriate for a board room or laboratory.

Using simple language and eliminating jargon isn’t the only way to insure you are speaking the same language as your customer. If you’ve done your homework you should have a clear sense of who your customer is and what they want. With that information you can identify hot button phrases, key words that will pique their interest. For example, if your key market are mothers some hot button phrases include “the safety of your children” and “quick and healthy meals.” If you are selling consumer electronics some hot phrases include “plug and play” and “like you’re in a movie theater.” Even though they might not be original, they strike a chord with your customer. You’ll want to weave them into your conversations.

So as you develop your marketing materials and hone your talking points remember to keep the language simple and concise. Use phrases that resonate with your customer. Talk to them like you would a friend–honestly and clearly. Focus on building trust, not trading in technical terms. Above all drop the jargon and talk real with your customers. You’ll quickly see that when they understand they’ll stop, listen, and positively respond to what you have to say.