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Venomous Vernacular: Losing Your Audience

In the arena of sales, we have spent a lifetime in sales training to make sure that our teams are as knowledgeable on our offerings, whatever they maybe, so that they have the best chance of creating the perfect solution for our prospects. What many organizations fail to do along the way is teach the complexity of simplifying the message and explaining the solution in terms in which an audience who has not received the same product training can identify.

Last fall I was in a meeting in which the prospect mentioned a specific mobile tracking technology for their event. I asked how they planned to use the technology and the reply was awesome. “I am not sure what the technology does, it’s the only one that I have heard people talk about!” It would be great if all of our clients and prospects were secure enough in their own skin to have that type of honesty with us.

This year I have had the opportunity to get integrated into the world of Digital Marketing and experience first hand the Venomous Vernacular. It doesn’t take long in a conversation before you hear KPI, CTC, VTC, CPM, DMP, DSP….. L-M-N-O-P! Now for the experienced digital professional, the words and acronyms roll through the conversation with ease. As a business owner or a stakeholder who is responsible for growing their brand and who has not yet entered the world of digital, this can be very intimidating and too complex to engage.

In my previous role and career, we sold the invisible. We sold customer experience through customer service. While there may be fewer complex definitions and terminology to describe the customer experience, if we work hard enough we can over complicate it. In my observations, what separated the top 20% of sales performers is their ability to relate to the customer. Not just on our team, but partner organizations we worked with as well as outside vendors, the effectiveness of relating to people in terms in which they can understand was key.

If you follow the principle law of response (understand, solve, demonstrate, engage), at the core of sales solicitations & sales presentations, there is a need for solution, a need for your product knowledge, and a need for you to communicate this with terms that your audience can understand.

Here are a few suggestions (no rocket science here) to consider when crafting communication, presentations, or talking points when you engage your audience-

1. Lose the Thesaurus. The only person in the room giving you credit for using $8 words is you. You can do more damage than good.

2. The Mom & Dad Test. I think my parents are smart in the way of understanding logic but have never been connected to the industry. I always felt like if I can explain it to them on terms they can understand, we were good!

3. Check Your Ego. If you really want to get to the point of relating to and communicating well with your audience, check your ego at the door and show the vulnerability you have by exposing the humanistic side of your communication.

4. Occam’s Razor. Occam's Razor is the problem-solving principle that the simplest solution tends to be the right one. Try not to over complicate the problem so that you can work in a solution that you like, but the client may not need.

5. Be Authentic. Authenticity will come out in your communication, written and verbal, so do not try and be something you are not.

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