Do your salesmen and women sound more like teenagers than professionals?
Can your sales reps put a sentence together? The words salespeople use define them in the eyes of customers, just as their voices and demeanor do. But in the digital world, strong communication is becoming a lost art. People have become accustomed to typing and texting in shorthand, and we spend less time actually talking to people. So while the Internet has enabled us to connect with more prospects than ever before, it’s also ruining our ability to do so effectively.
Sales managers, listen up. It’s not enough to coach your team on boosting numbers and closing deals. Even the most effective sales techniques fall short if your team sounds, well … stupid.
Sales reps want a call back? It’s time to lose the “ums,” the bored tone of voice, the filler words, and—worse yet—the words they use incorrectly (I literally wish people would stop misusing “literally”). One of my favorites in “honestly.” Does that mean everything else your sales reps have been saying is dishonest?
Come on, salespeople are smarter than that!
Forget the Filler Words
This isn’t high school; it’s the business world. And it’s time for sales managers to pay attention to the words their teams use when communicating with prospects and clients.
That’s why I resonated with Jennie Haskamp’s post about how to communicate concisely and powerfully. In “15 Words You Need to Eliminate From Your Vocabulary to Sound Smarter,” she writes:
Newsprint is on life support, emojis are multiplying faster than hungry Gremlins, and 300 million people worldwide strive to make their point in 140 or fewer characters.
People don’t have the time or the attention span to read any more words than necessary. You want your readers to hear you out, understand your message, and perhaps be entertained, right? Here’s a list of words to eliminate to help you write more succinctly.
(Read the rest of her post to find out which words make professionals sound unprofessional.)
Buzzwords Are Just as Bad
Taking Haskamp’s advice will help salespeople use better grammar and stronger language. But in our profession, there’s another barrier to effective communication.
Sales buzzwords are even more uncreative and obnoxious than filler words. And in Sales 2.0, new sales buzzwords appear daily. A buzzword (a term first used in 1946 as student slang) is a word or phrase used to impress, or one that is fashionable, according to Wikipedia.
A couple years ago, I created a list of seven overused buzzwords to avoid. All of them are still in use today, and now there are plenty of new ones as well.
Smart salespeople don’t need buzzwords to impress clients, who are probably just as sick of hearing them as I am. Instead, sales reps should say what they mean, and if it “goes without saying,” don’t say it.
Join the Conversation: Sales managers, what steps do/will you take to ensure your team communicates so they are heard?