Albert Einstein once said "if you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough yourself "
Think about that for a moment. That's deep.
Was Albert thinking about how science needs better sales people?
So often, I find salespeople and other
professionals use unnecessarily complex language in important meetings.
Why is that, I wonder?
Is it to somehow infer they know lots about a particular subject?
Or, worse, are they using technically complex terms to impress a prospective client?
Impressing clients is a laudable goal and, if it works, then great; after all, you only need to know 1% more than your prospect to be an expert these days.
But there is a risk.
Using technical words incorrectly and being found out can make you look anywhere between foolish and amateurish - neither of which are desirable outcomes.
Moreover, using such terms could risk confusing, boring or alienating your audience.
You also risk failing to inspire your audience - CEOs, Government Ministers, Procurement teams etc - into action, so what's the point?
And if a proposal isn't completely clear or understood, it will likely be rejected.
Making Clearer Offers for Better Sales
Business and Sales professionals can sometimes get lost in themselves, in this world of jargonese; it becomes part of everyday conversation so, when it really counts, you fail to land your message with key decision makers..
The world of telecoms and technology is just as packed with jargonisms - ARPU/AMPU and don't even get me started on SD-WANs and Zero Trust Architecture!
It's fine to talk to an IT Director about Cyber Security, encryption methods or DDOS but you're putting opportunities at risk if you use that same jargon inappropriately with, for example, a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) (see what we did there 😉).
You wouldn't speak French to someone whose 1st language is Japanese would you?
Of course not.
So why talk jargonese to a CFO or Government Minister?
If you start using terms like DDOS, Tier 4 or "hr dis on a uni-bank" to a CFO, you could create confusion; they might feel nervous or embarrassed to declare they don't understand that term; their eyes start to glaze over and they lose interest. And guess what?
"Confused customers don't buy"
A friend of ours told us a story recently about trying to buy a new kitchen.
They liked the store and the salesperson (half the battle these days) but got stuck on 16mm v 18mm worktops.
Our friend asked the salesperson what the difference was between the 2 worktops - a reasonable enough question given one was twice the price of the other.
The salesperson took geat pride in explaining the material composition of each worktop - I'm sure a carpenter or the worktop manufacturer would have been impressed - but that wasn't really what my friend meant.
She was really asking "what are the benefits to me of the more expensive worktop compared to the less expensive worktop"?
When the salesperson couldn't really explain the difference in simple end-user terms, my friend became confused and couldn't justify the difference.
She went for the cheaper version.
The Price of Confusion
One thousand pounds! - the salesperson left over £1,000 on the table - the delta between the 2 worktops - purely because they were unable to explain the benefits of the 18mm variant in simple terms.
(it turns out 16mm worktops are perfectly serviceable but 18mm worktops have more durability, meaning they will withstand harsher treatment - I.E. they last longer)
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it yourself."
OK, enough kitchen talk!
Recent Case Study
We met the top team and unpacked their their core value-proposition into simple, bite-sized chunks using language most primary school children would understand.
Was it easy? No, there's a lot of work required in unpacking complex ideas.
3 Essential Ingredients to Creating Your Sales Message
1. Trust - does the customer trust you?
2. Commitment - is there a willingness to engage with the process and
3. Does the customer know why customers buy from them?
No. 3 in particular can be difficult to articulate succinctly but all 3 are essential if your sales message is to land successfuly when it counts, when it really, really counts.
3 Tips for Better Sales
So, my 3 tips for better sales are:
1. Make it easy to buy - making whatever it is that you or your company sells easy to buy is essential: your message should be clearly articulated and frictionless with no guesswork required or prospects having to work things out for themselves. Great salespeople do all this work in advance. This makes the
offer easier to understand, more compelling and, if everything else has been done correctly, the prospect is more likely to buy
2. Understand your audience and their "context" - by understanding who is in the audience, their roles and backgrounds, you can tailor your proposal or presentation accordingly to ensure your audience knows exactly how your offer will benefit them
3. What do you want your audience to say / do / agree as a result of seeing your presentation or proposal?
Tell your audience up front what you want from the meeting, so they're not wondering in silence, instead of fully concentrating on your presentation.
Are your salespeople making offers that fail to inspire or confuse customers?