Buzzwords That Disgust Your Clients

Buzzwords That Disgust Your Clients

January 3rd, 2013
Buzzwords That Disgust Your Clients

For all their popularity, using buzzwords can seriously damage your business. Too many salespeople (and marketers and advertisers) use the same words to describe their products and services-- and these words, rather than sweeting them up, can cause clients to buzz off.

 

Inc's Jeff Haden has compiled a list of words that are turnoffs for major clients; here's how to ditch the buzzwords and really make an impression on potential clients. Here are his words to avoid:
 
"Customer focused."
If your goal is to imply that other providers are not as focused as you are, explain how: Faster response time, greater availability, customized processes or systems. Tell clients in concrete terms how you will meet their specific needs.
 
"Best in class."
Instead of just saying you're the best, prove it. Describe your accomplishments, awards, results, etc.
 
The client is likely to think: As a customer I don't need best in class, I need best for me--so tell me, in objective terms, how you can provide the best value for my needs.
 
"Low-hanging fruit."
This can translate to "we'll start with really easy stuff you are too stupid to recognize or too lazy to do yourself," leading to some turned off clients. Instead, describe (in cost/benefit terms) how you prioritize your list of projects or activities.
 
"Exceed expectations."
Exceeding expectations is an internal goal-- tell a client you will exceed expectations and exceeded expectations instantly becomes the expectation, possibly leaving you with egg on your face. A better way of stating this would be to tell clients what you will do, every time, and consistently pull it off.
 
Always let the customer judge whether you go above and beyond.
 
"Unique."
"Unique" (like "exclusive") sounds good but describes nothing. Instead, tell client in concrete terms, how you are better.
 
"Value added."
This term is often used to imply clients will get something for no or very little incremental cost. That means what clients will receive isn't value added--it's part of the overall deal. Simply tell clients the deal, explain all the options and add-ons, and help them figure out how they can take full advantage of what you provide.
 
"Expert."
When it comes to expertise, don't show, tell. 
 
"Implemented social media campaigns for ACME that generated..." lets potential customers evaluate your level of expertise and your suitability for their needs.
 
"Seasoned."
Experience is only a partial indicator of expertise. If you're a contractor you may have built 100 homes... but that doesn't mean you did a good job.
 
Any reference to experience should immediately quantify that experience.
 
"Exceptional ROI."
"Provides an exceptional ROI" reads as "...you're a terrible businessperson if you don't do this."
 
Show the costs, don't hide anything, and trust clients to calculate their own ROI. When you say "exceptional ROI", your estimates are either theoretical or based on another customer's results. Either way, a client will know your estimates are incredibly optimistic and that results will definitely vary.
 
"Turn-key."
No matter how comprehensive the offering is, clients always wind up participating more than they were led to expect, so when a client hears "turn key" he or she may be naturally skeptical... that is, unless you thoroughly break down what you will provide and what client participation will be, both during implementation and after.
 

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