Baffle Them With Digital Jargon. Lose the Sale! | radioinfo

Baffle Them With Digital Jargon. Lose the Sale!

Sunday 11 February, 2018
Image: Shutterstock

Peady's Selling Engagement sponsored by IRD Prospector

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

I heard a great line the other day “He uses technological language as a substitute for communication” and it got me thinking about how much jargon exists in the digital and social space and how too many sales people use it without thinking during customer meetings.

SEO, SEM are two acronyms that come straight to mind, then there’s bounce rate, keywords, analytics, programmatic, quality score……yadda, yadda, yadda!

Today most media salespeople sell both mainstream as well as digital and social in some type of combination and to do this they use these terms as part of the discovery or solution stage.

Problem is most business people don’t have a clue what they are on about.

Use business language

Last October I posted an article on the RadioInfo site called “The Language of Business” and my main point was that in B2B selling its critical to connect and build ongoing professional relationships and a vital part of that relationship is to use their business language.

Same thing with digital and social. Many businesses need help in this space so you don’t need to show off your extensive knowledge by using industry jargon but you do need to connect by using everyday language to explain what you mean and what the various tools do.

By the way I’m not saying, “dumb it down” because that disrespects your customer! I’m saying use the everyday language of business.

A case in point

Last week I did an accompanied call and met a business woman with a very successful local business. The AE talked to her customer about the business website, AdWords and Facebook. Over the course of an hour the communication was exceptional. The customer admitted up-front that this area was a mystery to her and she was constantly being bombarded by digital salespeople talking “jibber jabber” (her phrase). For example, she asked what Google ranking means and is it important? We explained it very simply using examples and you could see it was a light-bulb moment.

The power of the conversation was because it was a genuine jargon-free conversation.

The outcome? The salesperson has an agreement to return with a digital solution and I’ve no doubt it will be accepted.
I should add that in the end the trust level was so strong the AE was given the business Facebook account password to do some work in Ads Manager. Impressive.
 Next step

At this week’s sales meeting why don’t you and the other team members do a brainstorm and put together a list of all the digital and social jargon? Then work through the list and create everyday words and phrases to describe each of them. Trust me it will be a worthwhile exercise.

To wrap up here’s what the great advertising genius David Ogilvy had to say about jargon: “Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon”. Hmmm.

Until next week good selling!


About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at



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