"So what do you do?" I asked at a Business After Hours event. The man opened his mouth, and suddenly, the room started swimming and my eyes glazed over.
The last thing I heard was..."delivering customer centric e-solutions." He stared at me as if he'd just solved an Einstein puzzle.
Once I realized he'd stopped talking, I said, "That's nice." But it wasn't. Not even close.
I had just been business jargon-pulverized. And that's never good.
The Replay: What Really Happened
Let's back up. What really happened here? A businessman told me about what his business does, right? Well, sort of.
What this man did was speak in terms only he and his company understood. His business jargon--he thought-- made him look smart.
Talking "smart," won't win you any business. In fact, it will cost you business.
You might think using complicated business jargon makes you look intelligent. But what it really says is you don't know how to talk to people to make a connection and a sale.
What Newspapers Taught Me About Connection
Did you know that newspapers--paper or digital--are written at a sixth grade level? Think about that for a minute.
When you read a newspaper, do you feel like you're being talked down to?
My guess is you never really thought about it. You just wanted the information. And that's what newspapers taught me.
My job as a marketing writer and consultant is to connect with my target audience, to show them I understand them. It's not to make me look smart.
Newspapers get this. They want you to understand the words they print, to make an impact. Don't you want the same thing for your customers?
One More Reason Why Business Jargon is a Killer
Not only do you lose sales trying to talk smart, people lose confidence in you. They know right away, you're not interested in solving their problem.
Smart people know:
The money is in understanding the people they serve
Speaking directly to people's pain points builds connection
Offering a practical solution their audience can implement wins the sale
And that's the irony.
Your customers will think you're the smartest person in the room because you took the time to understand them and fix their problem.
Be smarter than your competition. Listen to what people want. Connect with them with words that make sense so that you can build trust and make the sale.
That's what it's all about, isn't it?
Do you know a small business person or a creative who struggles to level up their business? I can help and would love to connect with them, starting with a complimentary 30-minute session. Pay it forward and introduce us!