Plain talk makes sales. Fancy talk makes you sound lame.

Plain talk makes sales. Fancy talk makes you sound lame.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at


Plain talk makes sales. Fancy talk makes you sound lame.

How does your prospect perceive your words?

New? Engaging? Valuable? Exciting? Compelling? Or are they boring,time-worn clichs that have your prospect mentally yawning and turnedoff?

You may think your industry buzzwords, sales jargon, and catchy phrasesmake you look “hip,” even smart. Wrong, paradigm breath. In fact, theyput you in a deficit position. When you wax worn out words, yourprospect is downsizing your order.

In her new book, The Voice of Authority, Dianna Booher covers tencommunication strategies every leader needs to know. These strategiesare so transferable to salespeople it’s scary.

Here’s what Dianna has to say about the way you speak:

“If a phrase starts to roll off your tongue, shut your mouth; considerit a clich–probably a phrase so overused that the meaning has longsince been lost.” Dianna writes, “Instead, aim for originality andspecificity. For starters, here’s a list of bureaucratic buzzwords thatmuddy messages and mar your image as a clear communicator and straightshooter:

-No brainer (meaning if you don’t see it as clearly as I do, you’re off your rocker)
-Enhancement (an improvement too insignificant to charge for but worth touting; often confused with body parts)
-Value-added (anything you can’t charge for because the client doesn’t value it enough to pay for it)
-Incent (prodding people with money, freebies, coupons–whatever ittakes to get them to do something they’re not inclined to do on theirown)
-Core competencies (as opposed to core incompetencies?)
-Initiatives (long, long ago, they were called goals and plans)
-Thought leaders (as opposed to those who lead the unthinking morons?)
-Optimization (the process of making things better and better–as incooking, flying, making love, making stealth missiles, making movies,building skyscrapers, counting votes, applying makeup, charting seaturtles)
-Solution (solid dissolved in a liquid or a mathematical proof hiddeninside all products and services now offered by all corporations aroundthe world)
-Alignment (identifying where the rubber doesn’t meet the road in goals that are supposed to be running parallel to yours)
-Deliverables (paperboys and girls used to ride bikes and carry these)
-Rightsizing (Nordstrom does this free of charge if the clothes are pricey enough)
-Moral clarity (when you decide you can’t get away with something without being fined or jailed)
-Impactful (newly coined term meaning packed full of potential to be hard-hitting–in the mind, heart, pocketbook, gut, mouth)
-Robust (fat, wealthy, expensive, complex, healthy, meaningful, deep,feisty; can be applied to people, philosophy, technology, equipment,training, strategy, food, religion, research, vegetation, medicine,light bulbs, laughter, beer)
-Branding (making livestock so it doesn’t get lost or stolen; markingdead stock in inventory that hasn’t sold in years with a new “look andfeel” so that it finds its way to market again)
-Methodologies (in more primitive times, this was methods or the way you do something)
-Technologies (yet undiscovered wizardry from the netherworld)
-Bandwidth (refers to anything you want to limit, as in “that’s outside our bandwidth”)
-Seamless (meaning, I don’t know where the heck my job ends and yours starts, so we can pass the buck if necessary)
-Platform (horizontal structure that supports all systems, people, brands, and philosophies)

And it’s not just speaking. Stringing these terms together in paragraphafter paragraph from document to document makes written communicationas bland and meaningless as verbal communication. Take a look at thisexcerpt from an annual report of a Fortune 10 company to see if youfind anything thought provoking:

Our industry is constantly evolving. The industry has globalized as theworld’s economies have expanded. Partners and competitions change. Newopportunities are larger, more capital intensive, and often in remoteareas or difficult physical environments. Business cycles fluctuate,but our long-term view provides us with consistent direction. Finally,technology has improved the methods we employ and the results weachieve in meeting the world’s energy challenges.

Any great revelation here? Nothing specific. Could have come from anyenergy company in the market–or remove the word energy and you couldinsert it in just about any annual report. Bland. Boring.”

Not only does someone in corporate America write drivel like this — someone else reads it, likes it, and approves it. Pathetic.

In the past fifteen years I have only reviewed a handful of books inthis forum. This book ROCKS! I recommend you invest in The Voice ofAuthority. Your words speak as loud as your actions — in spite ofclichs to the contrary.

If you want more of Dianna’s thinking, go to, registerif you’re a first time visitor, and enter BOOHER in the GitBit box.