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It is so tempting sometimes to just go on for hours about hashtags, backlinks, fbml vs iframe, and other cool ideas in social networking. However, as a social networking professional I have a responsibility. It is the same responsibility that each and every one of us has to our clients. Speak to people, not to the jargon. The jargon just bleeps over all of our sales and marketing efforts. It is something that is getting on my nerves, and a challenge we must all resolve to be better at to use the internet for business.
In fact, I ask that you call me out if use too much jargon in this post. Be polite and let me know in the comment area.
What the Jargon?
First and foremost, I want to start with telling you it is great to explain a few ideas here and there to your clients about what you are going to do. However, most of them do not want to be in your industry. They just want to know that you know yours and can effectively execute your training for their needs. Clients do not want to hear about how the pristine gizmo fits cylindrically inside the four sided whatchamacallit. That is irrelevant to their lives. What is relevant is how we help them.
Second, that leads me to the fact that a story or creative wording goes a lot farther than a blanket statement. I have been watching too many companies recently using some weird technical jargon that I believe comes from the planet Jargonius intelligus. On that planet jargon is the accepted language. However, on this little blue rock we must speak the language of the peoples.
That means telling people that you are different from everyone, because of your “customer service” and “quality service” rank right up there for me to getting my eyelid hairs pulled out one at a time. The next financial planner who tells me that is why they are different I would like to do a double-decker back slap with an old lady purse knock out punch just to get the jarring jargon out of my head.
Instead, tell me 3 things that you did that made a difference. For example, I had a client that I was doing a coaching session with that clearly did not understand the material. My job is not to spend the 2 hours with that client discussing social networking. My job is to make sure they understand how to use this tool for their business. I ended up spending 3 and a half hours with this client until they understood the information.
On the flip side, I have had a few clients in the past that were not happy with certain parts of my campaign. Despite previous thoughts, I am not 100% perfect. Simply 99.99%. Instead of just completing what they wanted when circumstances warranted I also added in additional, relevant services to their campaign for free. Give me more when you mess up, not less. Actually give more whenever possible.
Third, I provided top-notch quality service. Can someone please show me someone on the other notch? How many notches are there to be top-notch. Why should I care if you can tie a rope?
Jargon does not make you sound more sophisticated. Anyone can buy a dictionary and sound smart. Not everyone can do the problem-solving steps that need to be completed in your industry. That is why clients hire you! The rest is irrelevant.
Let’s face it. Your job is not the challenging part, the challenging part is finding the clients who appreciate what you do on a daily basis. If you sell automobile parts then you have to talk with people who need a muffler or engine. If they do not need a muffler or engine all the words in the dictionary would be wasted along with some four letter words as well.
Ditch The Jargon
Now that you have a partial jargon filter it is time to discuss what to actually say to your clients.
First, talk about benefits. Whenever I have success with a client it is because they feel it in their fingers, feel it in their toes (Yes, that was a Love Actually reference) to your product.
Second, it is has to be compelling when you sell the benefits of the service. The biggest revelation I had in social networking was that people do not care about my social networking services. Instead, they care about how I can relief the stress of actually doing the social networking. That is why my blog tagline has gone from:
Social Networking Schmoozer help businesses increase their revenue from Twitter and other social networks.
End The Terrifying Drama and Stress of Social Networking With Our Free Social Networking Training System
Even with this new title, I am still tweaking things constantly. Just changed today “Series” to “System”. I woke up in a dead sweat at 4 AM this morning and realized that I had to change it to let customers understand that this is a system to help them.
My point is that creating a living, breathing, and interesting marketing organism does not happen overnight. However, we must be vigilant to ensure that the jargon monsters in the closet do not come out as we the dawn breaks and our communication with clients begins.
Because if you do not mind your jargon it could bleep up your business.
Great read! I love jargon, NOT.
Furthermore, I don’t think it makes anyone sound smarter, unless company drones are considered smart.
Since you mentioned, I take exception to the words “whatchamacallit” and “gizmo”. I think they qualify as jargon. 🙂
Jargon, buzzwords, acronyms are all pet peeves of mine. Please, someone flog me if I am caught using anything remotely similar.
Since you asked, I believe that gizmo and whatchamacallit could be considered jargon, so I never use those technical terms.
Great article, thanks for sharing your ideas.
I am happy to know that I am not the only person who is not in favor of jargon.
Great post, Andy! You are so right about the need to get rid of jargon. Far too often, we tend to use insider language, but what we feel to realize is that this just makes everyone else feel like an insider, and it certainly doesn’t make those people we are trying to welcome into our world feel like they are welcome.
completely agree! jargon is a dividing line to inclusion.
In certain instances jargon is an important part of the conversation. Normally, though, not with clients. Clients are interest in what’s in it for them (WIIFM) and could care less about your process, the how. Tell them how your service will affect their bottom line or their personal view on themselves, how they will be eager to jump out of bed in the morning just like my 86 year old mom. 😉
Absolutely! A clients needs benefits, not widgets and whatchamacallits.
In corporate jargon, “Cold Calling” meant having a list of people who you knew little about and calling them on the telephone/or showing up at their door to sell merchandise, products or anything the company produced.
I have done that in my past. Not fun!
Sometimes it can be even difficult to communicate with people who work in another sphere and who have their own jargon and they cannot even explain some of these words in an ordinary way)
Words are the first thing we learn as children to communicate with the world and the last thing we ever truly understand how to do properly. Everything is communication, and some people just have a gift for making words make sense.