I recently took a new sales manager position in an awesome office technology company. Although I’m a seasoned B2B salesperson, this is an entirely new industry for me. I spent the early years of my career in manufacturing, and the past 10 in social media and marketing. It’s good to be back in the role I am meant for – working with business owners and decision-makers and helping them become more efficient and sharper. I’m comfortable, mostly.
One thing I’m not comfortable with is the industry lingo that flies all around me. And I don’t ever want to become comfortable with it. People who sell products and services often need shorthand terminology to get to the point quickly. That is totally understandable, but salespeople often become too comfortable (and lazy) with their own industry language, to the point that they assume their customers and prospects are just as comfortable. Admittedly, some of them are, but I bet my bottom dollar that many of the people you talk to in your sales role have no idea what many of your industry jargon words mean.
Coming into an industry totally ignorant of the jargon made it very clear to me how much of it is used. For shortcuts internally, it’s great, but be careful not to speak jargon when calling on prospects. They won’t tell you what they don’t know, and you’ll miss out on all sorts of customer cues and entire conversations because you will make a classic sales mistake: assuming you know exactly where your customer is in their buying process.
Slow down. Speak plain English. And leave the jargon out of it.
Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash