The most effective salespeople have a mastery of communication that allows them to speak with customers and prospects in a way that engages, informs, and excites them about the topic at hand and closes the sale.
Although there are certain buzzwords salespeople overuse that cause confusion or mistrust. Some words should be avoided to help maintain a level of professionalism and trust with customers.
We explore this idea further by listing out buzzwords to avoid and terms that help move a sale along.
What Are Buzzwords?
Buzzwords are popular words that can become overused and cliche. And they are often used in a corporate setting among peers or other business professionals. Certain buzzwords should be avoided when talking to prospects and leads because they make you sound less human and more like an unapproachable salesperson.
Some sales buzzwords don't contribute meaningfully to a sales conversation. In fact, using certain cliche buzzwords can cause cause a lead to distrust your sales team members, or they can make them feel confused.
Most buzzwords can be exchanged for power words that create a connection between you and your potential customers. Let's dive into the buzzwords your sales team should try their best to avoid using.
30 Sales Buzzwords You Need to Use With Caution
Here are 30 sales buzzwords you should steer away from in conversations with prospects.
1. Disrupt, Disruptive Innovation, Etc.
There's no need to use the word disrupt to describe how what you are offering disrupts the marketplace for your industry. Disruptive innovation is often used incorrectly as something innovative, unorthodox, or cool.
But disrupt or disruptive innovation does not mean those things, and often new startups or tech companies aren't actually disruptive. The word should be retired.
The fact that your product helps customers to achieve their business strategies should be a given. They likely wouldn't be considering your product or service unless they believed it helped them strategically.
This buzzword doesn't help to differentiate your product during the sales process and should be swapped out for another word.
This term is highly generic and doesn't help to clarify your sales message. When a salesperson states that your product helps leverage their existing infrastructure, they should explain how.
4. Align, Alignment
Alignment is a hot topic right now. Everything is about aligning different parts of an organization to make it better. But what does alignment mean in regards to your offering? Let customers know the way alignment helps and what it means for them.
For instance, if your offering can align marketing and sales that's great, but does it align all by itself or does it also take effort on their part? This sort of non-specific buzzword is a recipe for confusion.
5. Core Competency
A core competency is basically a fancy phrase for the thing that gives a company advantage over their competitors.
It isn't a term that provides clarification and it is best that it is replaced with a simpler word or phrase to make it easy for your leads to understand.
6. Hit the Ground Running
You'll hear this overused buzzword at the end of almost every pitch! Instead, define specifically how your product or service will help them to have positive progress with this new initiative you are providing them.
7. Innovate, Innovative
Products, services and businesses should earn the tag innovative. For something to be innovative, it has to be fresh and new. Something worth being excited about.
Many sales people lose credit and trust when using the word innovative because it's used incorrectly as a word to create buzz around your product, but it isn't always true.
Pivot is a way to say that you changed something about a product that just wasn't working. What you should do is just tell them the truth about what went wrong and how it's better now.
9. Account Based
Always perk up your ears when you hear "account based" in a pitch. It's often used by someone who has no idea what account-based sales or marketing actually entails.
Discuss how your product can help drive account-based sales if the business you're working with uses an account-based approach.
This is is a bit of an oxymoron. Something is either free or it isn't. And if it's a “premium” quality item, it's definitely not available at zero cost.
11. Quick Win(s)
There's no such thing as a quick win. The fact is it takes time to see a return on any endeavor. Discuss the returns over the long-term instead to gain their trust.
12. Circle Back
This is a tactic a salesperson will use to stay on track with their agenda. But your salespeople should make sure to address questions as they come up.
They shouldn't circle back because they often forget to address the thing they were going to circle back to.
Streamline is one of those sales buzzwords that, when used, often doesn't make sense contextually. It's actually more of a filler term.
Filler terms should be avoided if they don't provide needed clarity to your sales conversations.
This is another of those overused sales buzzwords that should be banned. Every tech company is “revolutionizing” something.
It is likely that the lead or prospect you are talking to only cares about how you can help them, rather than if your product is revolutionary.
This one is pretty silly actually. Would your salesperson be selling you an insecure solution? We hope not.
16. Technologically Challenged
This one is an old school term that comes up too often, and it should be avoided in today's landscape since it undermines someone's capabilities.
Let them know that usage is simple and that if they have any issues operating your solution in the future, your customer support can help them figure it out.
17. Value Proposition
This term is quite ambiguous and should be used with caution. Just let the prospects know how you can help them and why they should go with you. This is mostly done through your service and the way you treat them.
No need to overly convince someone using this buzzword.
Whenever I hear upsell, I immediately think “more money.” Upselling is fine, but emphasize the value of the product or service before the upsell.
This one is big in the tech sales world and it's played out. If you're the industry leader that's great, feel free to use this term. But if you can't substantiate it, don't use it.
20. Cutting Edge
Overused by tech salespeople, cutting edge has lost its value as a buzzword. It's an empty phrase that, like “streamline,” has become filler.
Use other words to create excitement that relate to your product or service. It should speak for itself.
Every product or service should be intuitive and create an excellent user experience. It's the bare minimum that any offerings should do.
You should let your prospects test drive your product or service so they can determine if it is intuitive.
22. Touch Base
Another eye roll – this is a trite and tired phrase. Instead, try stating the exact date and time when you will reach out to the prospect.
23. At the End of the Day...
Another annoying buzzword. For example, “at the end of the day, even in a worst case, our product will get you 25 new leads.”
Avoid the fluff and get straight to the point by avoiding this phrase.
24. Bleeding Edge
A variation on cutting edge, bleeding edge technologies are so new, they're untested. Early adopters often have to incur greater expense to use them.
Step back and focus on reliability.
Sales pros use this word when they want to come across as experts in their field, but have no idea what their product actually does.
If you wish to establish yourself as an expert on your company's offerings, don't use this word that doesn't truly make sense.
26. Big Data
This is a general term that just describes a lot of data and information. If your company helps people manage data, just mention that to them to prevent any misunderstanding.
In sales, everything is about monetization. Monetize this, monetize that. We get it. You make money out of things, but what does that convey to your prospect?
If your product or service usually makes people a lot of money, then they likely came to you for that very reason. Using the word monetize is irrelevant to your sale.
Why would someone want to buy your product if it didn't make them feel more efficient? They probably know your product or service is efficient, but they don't know how efficient.
Tell them how your product builds efficiency by offering hard numbers.
29. Give 110 Percent
This is cliche and likely impossible with all of the other customers you have to take care of. It's just another fluffy phrase that provides your leaders with a nice fantasy.
Try to articulate how your team will help your prospects win when they sign on to work with you.
30. Outside the Box
In the box, out of the box? Why mention a box at all?
Instead of using this uninteresting and overused term, tell your leads that your team applies creative thinking that helps to find new solutions that work. Provide examples that help to clarify this so they have faith in your abilities.
How to Use Words That Sell Instead of Jargon
The words you use when taking a lead through the sales process matter. Using the wrong words can cost you a sale and be off-putting or rude to your prospective customers.
The best way to go about using words that sell is to use positive words that evoke positive feelings and to stick to that positive language even when the answer is no. You should seek to use power words that give your customer the sense that you will open doors for them rather than close them.
Another key factor in using words that sell is to avoid using filler words like "um," "like," "eh," and "right."
Practicing this manner of speaking and linguistics may be difficult at first, but make a habit out of recording yourself so you can hear what your prospect hears. This will help you to develop better speaking habits and word choice in the future.
Words That Sell: 10 Terms You Need to Use
Here are some examples of words you can use when you are trying to close a sale.
You can put your prospects in a positive state of mind when you ask them to "imagine" what it would be like to use your product or service.
Customers who have a full picture of how they would implement or use your product or service to improve their life or business are more likely to purchase after you give them your final sales proposal.
Everyone likes to save, and your prospects want you to provide them with value by telling them how much they can save.
- Save time by using X product or service.
- Save 15 percent when you sign up now.
- Save 40 percent when you purchase two additional services.
Most people don't have time for complicated processes. Let prospects know how simple it is to sign up and purchase your product.
When something is easy to do, people are more open to trying it.
The phrase "we're all in this together" is overused, but using the word "we" isn't. It tells your customer that you are both on the same team and want the same success.
The word "problem" is inherently negative.
Instead of saying you understand the problem, say that you recognize the opportunity to help them run something more smoothly. Make it all about the solution, not the problem.
Selling is not about your company. Try not to drone on about what your company does. Tell the prospect what your company does for them by using the word "you" as much as possible.
Place them in the middle of the story that your brand sells as a part of your product or service.
7. Their Name
Personalization is key to a good sales conversation. Don't be afraid to get personal and use their name often. It helps establish trust and creates a more comfortable environment where your prospect or customer will be more willing to open up.
Saying their names will also help you to remember their name. It's a win win.
Saying "try" is like already admitting you're going to fail. Don't say, "I'll try to..."
Instead, say, "I'm going to do.." This makes you seem more competent, and it boosts the confidence a person has in you.
Words that express support and agreement across the team have a great impact on your customers' mindset. When you introduce your team to your potential buyer, make sure you let the buyer know that everyone is in agreement.
By describing your team's consensus, you're helping them understand the solution you suggest and fostering confidence in your team.
The word "because" is always a good one to use when you are introducing your products or services to a lead.
Why? Because you are explaining, in detail, what it does, what your company does, or another crucial point about your offerings. You are providing a deeper understanding and clarifying your purpose for your previous statement.
Sales buzzwords have their place, but typically they're used to make a prospect feel like the salesperson is an expert. In order to help your prospects make an informed purchasing decision, always get to the jargon-free bottom line!