Knowledge should be one of the most powerful tools in our toolbox.

Knowing how to use specialized industry vocabularies should also be one of our basic power tools.

In reality, for many of us, knowledge and specialized lingo are powerful … in costing us business.

Naturally, a great many new salespeople are tempted to try to impress prospects and clients by demonstrating their product knowledge and slinging around their newly learned industry vocabulary. These salespeople tend to oversell, answer questions no prospect has ever had, or dazzle with words with which the prospect or client may not be familiar. 

They talk about the fine points of their product or service; discuss how their service or product will impact ROI; how best to onboard new employees, products or services; how their product or service creates a new paradigm to address the prospect’s issues or needs, and the list goes on.

Impact ROI? I see, you mean whether or not it makes me more money than it costs.  Onboarding new employees or products or services? I get it, you mean purchasing and integrating a new product or service, or hiring and training a new employee. Creating a new paradigm to address issues or needs? You mean a different way of dealing with the problem, right? 

You can say ROI, onboarding or paradigm, or you could just talk to your prospect. Remember that if you want credibility with your prospects and clients, you have to speak their language. I don’t have a problem with that in the least — if you’re actually speaking your prospect’s language. But how many prospects actually talk about “onboarding” a new product or service, or creating a “new paradigm” to address an issue or problem? And there’s certainly something to be said about just talking to the prospect in plain English.

New sellers very often butcher their newly acquired vocabulary and frustrate their prospects with their enthusiastic demonstration of their knowledge of the minutiae about their product or service. Many lose more sales than they capture because of their lack of discipline and their need to impress.

Unfortunately, I’ve noticed over the past three years that this desire to impress isn’t confined to new sellers. I consistently run across experienced sellers who should know better but make the same rookie mistakes. The only real difference between these experienced sellers and new salespeople is that the experienced sellers tend to have a better grasp of the industry lingo.

However, given the current tough selling environment, even experienced sellers are falling into the trap of trying to oversell or impress prospects with their knowledge and ‘deep’ understanding of the issues. We tend to pull out all the stops and often end up losing our discipline and the prospect’s attention. We try to force the sale.

Rather than creating new clients, we end up alienating them. 

Whether you’re a relatively new seller bursting with enthusiasm and wanting to impress your prospects or an experienced seller feeling the pressure to produce, you need to step back and relax. Giving in to the pressure to oversell and force the sale is self defeating.

Address your prospect’s needs and leave the unnecessary demonstration of knowledge and the impressive vocabulary at the office.  

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