by pat

Lots of articles claim that you should avoid jargon when doing presentations, demos or sales interviews. I think that’s bad advice–especially in B2B technology selling. Here’s why:

1) Two-thirds of your audience uses jargon daily – In B2B technology sales at least 1/3 of your audience will be technical; another third will be familiar with most industry terms, even if they’re non-technical.

2) You should never talk down to your audience – If you don’t use proper terms, you’ll sound like a tyro, a noob, a neophyte… You get the idea. Worse yet, you may come off as condescending by dumbing down the language.

3) People in the know expect it – If there’s a proper industry or technical term–use it. If you don’t, your audience will wonder why.

4) Management gets it – Senior management is usually plenty savvy about terminology and jargon if they have spent any time in the industry.

One final bit of advice

The key to using jargon in sales is to keep your focus on the business value of technology. Never gratuitously sprinkle “buzz words” into the conversation just to sound smart.

I once knew a guy who was a master at using jargon incorrectly; kind of a “Norm Crosby” of technology. (If you don’t know Norm, check out the YouTube video at the top of this post–funny stuff!)
We were selling OEM Circuit Boards (AKA single board computers) and in one meeting he managed to call “pull-up resisters”, “jump-up resisters” and “hardware error checking”, “hardware air checking”!

Needless to say, it was tough to recover credibility after that!

In summary, use jargon to highlight the business value of technology. Be sure you know how to use a term or don’t even try; If you mess up, your credibility will be shot for good!

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