We’ve all fallen victim to a sales pitch or a marketing email chock-full of buzzwords. You don’t have to admit it, but you may have even been swayed to make a decision because of some cleverly used buzzwords, or in desperation used them yourself in a sales or marketing pitch. Don’t worry, we won’t fault you for it. You see, sometimes those buzzwords really do work! And a subject line that simply reads ‘FREE FREE FREE’ might just win over a potential customer or two.
But, there’s only so many times you can send out that catchy email before your network or customers gets smart to it and realizes what game you’re playing. And no one likes feeling like they’re being played by a salesperson or a service they’re paying for, right? So, in an effort to kill the use of buzzwords, we polled our sales and marketing team to ask what buzzwords they avoid in their pitches, or their emails, or their advertisements and why. Their answers may surprise you, but you’ll understand right why they picked it and you might just want to add it to your own Banned Phrases list in your sales and marketing efforts.
The Worst Buzzwords:
If you do a quick search for some of the bigger offenders in the world of buzzwords, you’ll find plenty of lists of offenders and why sales teams or marketers really dislike using them. And to be entirely honest, most of these buzzwords are fairly evergreen. Sure, new ones crop up every year and get added to the list, but the same ones tend to stick around, getting more and more stale with each passing season. A few years ago, Salesforce put out a list of their ‘love to hate’ buzzwords and their top 3 were some that we commonly giggle at here in the office when we either hear or read them….because, ‘low-hanging fruit?’
This is vague and sets you up for sure failure in reaching the prospect again. You need to set a specific time and date. Asking the contact for a specific time with help you understand his timeframe for working with you and give him a clear date for when he’s expected to have a clearer plan of action/decision. – Elizabeth, Market Expansion
It’s the one thing a marketer can not promise or guarantee -Lopez, Digital Marketing Manager
I would like to…:
Take “I” out of your conversations with prospects as much as possible. If there isn’t a benefit to the customer (rather than just yourself) you shouldn’t be discussing that topic – so make your phrasing customer-centric! Instead of “I would like to go through a, b, and c” try “To make the most of our time together, let’s set a game plan – a, b, and c.” You accomplish the same goal, but avoid the “us / them” language. You and your prospect should be on the same team. -Brendan, Inside Sales Manager
Kicking tires, touching base and checking in, what keeps you up at night?:
Because these are possibly the most over-used words in the sales profession. Kicking tires gets you nowhere with the buyer. Touching base and checking in adds no value to a conversation and does little besides wasting your prospect’s time and yours…signifies you have nothing valuable to add. What keeps you up at night – this is straight out of a sales horror movie…while the answer is certainly going to help, asking it makes it sound impersonal and I believe discredits you – plus, people with minimal rapport who you ask this question to will NOT tell you what keeps them up at night. There are much better questions that get you the same result. -Casey, Account Executive
Everyone has ideas, but ideas are nothing without execution. -Chris, Director of Performance Marketing
Is it just me, or does this sound like a ‘not real’ word to anyone else? Advertising or claiming something is impactful always reads as so vague to me. It’s full of impact? Why not be more specific in the value you’re trying to add with what you’re offering, whether that be in a sales pitch or in marketing language? I’m always a bit off put when something promises to be ‘impactful’ simply because of its vague nature, sure we hope that whatever you’re selling is going to have an impact, but I vote that you actually tell me how it will make that impact instead! -Kat, Content Marketer
Most people who aren’t talking sales jargon all day don’t use this– there are much more evocative ways to talk about streamlining processes without actually saying it. -Bryanna, Account Executive
Cut the jargon
Easier said than done, we know. But doing some critical thinking about your usual sales ‘pitch’ or the words you’re using in your paid advertisements can make an enormous difference in how you’re perceived by your clients and potential leads. The last thing you want to come across as is a bad used car salesman, right? Then make sure you don’t!
Start by keeping our suggestions from your vocabulary and go from there. You’ll find plenty of lists of bad buzzwords out there, all you have to do is search. Plus, if you’re feeling comfortable with asking your clients, go ahead and do it! There’s no harm in throwing it out there on social media or asking a few folks here and there what their buzzword pet peeves are, they may just surprise you!
Share your least favorite buzzwords with us on Twitter or in the Comments section below.
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