Sales Buzzwords to Use and Lose


Sales buzzwords to use and lose is about learning sales phrases that work and the ones we need to drop out of our sales vocabulary. These can be the buzzwords we use internally as sales speak or external ones we bring into our sales conversations. Unfortunately, many internal buzzwords find their way into presentations and sales pitches where customers can struggle to understand the definition of them.  Or worse, they think the terms are irrelevant, smug, or boring.

Are sales buzzwords even useful?

In a word, Yes. Buzzwords can demonstrate our knowledge of a market, industry, or process. Understanding the buzzwords our customers may use can indicate that we have taken the time to learn about their business. For example, someone selling into the manufacturing industry may want to understand buzzwords such as GMP (good manufacturing practice) or Lean (waste minimization).

In our everyday lives we also throw in the odd buzzword to our chats. In business, internal buzzwords can be a valuable asset to create a sense of purpose and unity. If overused they become a form of lazy language or even as a means to display superiority. Buzzwords, like them or not, are a part of business and personal life.

Here is a list of sales buzzwords that are focused on external conversations.  Based on research and customer interviews, these are some of the many sales buzzwords to use or lose.  It is important to remember that buzzwords have to be put into context because even the use of phrases or words used out of context can sound low grade.

List of Buzzwords

Most of us are increasingly looking for personalized or personal experiences. This can be both an internal and external phrase. In an external setting, phrases such as “I want to offer you and your company a personalized webinar/visit based on the information I received”, “I will submit a personalized proposal based on your unique needs” “we will implement our solution personalized to your specifications” or “the purpose of today’s chat is to understand your priorities so I can personalize a solution for you” . The use of personalization phrases must be genuine, so that the customer feels ownership for the next steps. Do not use this phrase if you do not deliver personalized experiences as the educated buyer will quickly realise this not to be the case and your credibility goes down the drain.
Verdict – Use

Bottom line.
The bottom line is just that. A line which you cannot go below. Most salespeople use it as a last resort on pricing or worse they throw it in only to move their position later. In business and sales, there is no bottom line. Bottom line is a haggle phase not a negotiating phrase. Certainly not a sales buzzword.
Verdict – Lose

Proven means just that, you have proof, case studies, proven results etc. Proven gives customers the comfort they are dealing with experts. Statements such as “we have a proven track record in delivering solutions for the past 10 years with customers such as X, Y and Z” can move a sale forward. So, if you use the term “proven” make sure you the assets and supporting material to back up your claim. Offer these freely to ensure you put context around your proven statements.
Verdict – Use

Touching base.
Touching base can be a lame or weak way of saying “I wanted to follow up”, “I didn’t hear back from you, so I wanted to see where things stand” or “I want to clarify if you wish to progress our discussion further”. Touching base sounds like an apology, almost hoping that the customer will blow you out. We do not touch base, we follow up, we clarify, we discuss, we seek decisions.
Verdict – Lose

Who does not want to make buying easier? Whatever is the easiest way to get things done is nearly always the preferred option. Buying or any purchasing decision is a change management issue, so by default the easier the change management the better. “The easiest way to solve your challenge” “Our onboarding is really easy” “The easiest and most effective way to get this done”. You get the picture. We are all buyers and consumers. We like easy.
Verdict – Use

Circle back.
Much like touching base the phrase “circle back” has become an excuse for “I didn’t fully understand your last point”, “I don’t understand” “Can we clarify what you meant” “You mentioned A,B and C, are these still valid” or “My notes from our last conversation are….”. Be honest with your customer, you either didn’t understand a point or you want to clarify what they said. It’s not circling back; it’s clarifying so you can move forward.
Verdict – Lose

Buyers love options. A selection of choices. When using the phrase “options” give the customer all the options. Do nothing and consequence. Do a deal with someone else (why we are better). Do a deal with me (Why we have the best solutions). Then go further and offer options within your proposals. These could be product variations, price variations, purchasing variations or even time variations. Options should meet the criteria the customer has outlined, now our job is help them select the best option for them. If we do not, the option of doing nothing (the dreaded status quo) will win out.
Verdict – Use

Quick win.
Quick win is not to be confused with “Easiest”. Quick win alludes to shortcuts, a sticking plaster or lack of consideration or even the attempt of a salesperson to railroad a solution. There are very few quick wins in business. Decide in haste, repent at leisure. Our roles as salespeople is not to offer quick wins but the right choice with due regard for budget, timing and fit. Even buying decision today is considered due to budget constraints and the many people in a buying group for even a simple solution. Most customers can’t buy a quick win and any customer asking for a quick win is probably trying to decide on price. Don’t fall into this trap.
Verdict – Lose

Achieve, advantage, accomplish are just 3 of the positive A words. We want to help customers achieve their goals and end results, if they do, then so do we. “So to clarify, with the solution you are going to purchase, you want to achieve the following”, “we can help you achieve based on our proven track record of ……” or “to achieve your end result, can you give me your top 3 priorities” Customer want to achieve, a personalized offering, an easier life, a proven solution with options.
Verdict – Use

Reach out.
Reach out is another overused excuse or lame sales phrase. How are you reaching out, with your arm? Replace “I am just reaching out to…” phrase with positive and assertive phrases such as “I am calling you because”, “I would the opportunity to discuss” “I noticed from your news that you are expanding, so I want to bring some information to your attention”. Buyers are too busy for someone reaching out, they want conversations that brings them value or insights.
Verdict – Lose

Another of the positive A words. The word “Advance” is affirmative. If you are not advancing forward, you are just going up and not over towards the sale. If the customer is not working with you, you are not advancing, you are spinning. Customers want salespeople who can help them advance, to help sell the solution internally, to make buying easier. “How do we advance from here” “What are my actions to advance our discussion to the next stage” or “are we in agreement to advance to the next meeting/step”.
Verdict – Use

Process is the opposite to easy. We all have a process to follow, we all know this, so why do we need to state the obvious? Our sales process is, our buying process is, the ordering process is etc. Now process becomes a big unemotional sales buzzword. We all love emotional words such as easy, secure, satisfying or achieve for example. Process is a barrier word from either you or your customer. Customers accept processes the same as we accept Dentists. Necessary but no need to embrace them. If you customer starts talking “process” it means some internal buyer roadblocks have to be removed. So, you need to turn process into statements such as advance, achieve, proven. The process will take care of itself.
Verdict – Lose

Customers and buyers want a credible and trusting worthy sales professional. Someone who can bring clarity to the situation or clarity as to what is being discussed. We need to value our expertize and time. So, we need to be constantly bringing clarity to our sales conversations, so we are not wasting ours or the customer’s time. Clarity on timescales, budgets, solutions, options, preferences etc. Clarity of purpose and communication is one of your best friends and sales buzzwords.
Verdict – Use

Guarantee is an emotive word, unfortunately it has become overused to the point as many people see if as hiding something else. How many companies guarantee next day delivery only for your item to show up four days later. Customers are not looking for guarantees (maybe for a warranty or SLA), because too many guarantees are personal statements such as “I will guarantee you…” or ploys for quick wins. We wouldn’t need to guarantee our customers anything if we build trust and credibility. To understand, acknowledge, be reliable, and deliver are better approaches.
Verdict – Lose

You as in I. What do you stand for? Why should someone believe you? Why should someone listen to you? Asking yourself these type of “You” questions can help you build a powerful personal brand. Bring the “authentic you” to your sales career. When talking, presenting, and selling, be you, the real you and not some over trained salesperson with more sales buzzwords than a dictionary. Your customers do not want them, they want you. Reflecting on the real you and your values can tap into your true potential. This will enable you to bring confidence and belief to your sales career.
Verdict – Use


Sales buzzwords to use and lose.

OK, so not all the phases were actually sales buzzwords. You probably know most of them already. The purpose of the article is to understand that language is powerful. To much sales training is dedicated to sales methodologies, and less to understanding our real customers and our real selves.

Buyers are becoming too educated for programmatic selling with sales jargon. Use your sales language and sales skills to differentiate yourself. Be real, be you.

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