Use Only Jargon Your Clients Know When Selling

By Tom Hopkins

Today more than ever, your selling vocabulary matters because of the phenomenon of trade talk, or jargon. Jargon is defined as words and phrases particular to a given field of work.

If you sell medical supplies to doctors, you need to know the jargon medical professionals use and use it yourself, liberally. But if you sell medical supplies to the general public, limit your use of technical terms to the bare minimum until you can determine your client’s level of knowledge about the product. You don’t want to alienate or confound your customers by using acronyms or words they’re not familiar with.

Your goal is to make your customers feel important — and it’s tough to feel important when you don’t feel very smart.

The human mind can assimilate information rapidly only when it comprehends what is being said. If you’re talking to Jo Consumer about bits and bytes and she doesn’t understand those terms, her mind stops at those terms and tries in vain to find an image that fits them.

Many people won’t stop to ask you for explanations because they’re afraid of showing their lack of knowledge and being embarrassed in the process. Others may get the gist of what you’re talking about but struggle to keep up. While they’re trying to keep up, they miss the next few valuable points you relay to them. In other words, you’ve lost them.

If your subject sounds more complicated than your buyer can comprehend, you risk squelching her desire to ever own or use your product or service and you risk losing the sale. More often than not, you lose such buyers to a salesperson who uses lay terms and simple definitions.

Good things come to salespeople who take the time to find out how to speak their client’s language.