By Lauren Bailey, president, Factor 8

Want a sure-fire strategy to ensure that you’re doing all you can to connect with potential decision makers? Try the Factor 8 Drinking Game and cut the jargon that’s getting in your way!

We know how important it is to make a quick connection with your target contacts – and how easy it is to lose their attention when working over the phone. But my team and I continue to be amazed by just how often we hear reps pummeling target decision makers with acronyms, jargon and their own internal company terms!

Here’s an example: A client in the hospitality industry was trying to qualify companies based on their total annual travel. When they got someone on the phone, they asked for the “total yearly days stayed” across the prospect company’s locations. Now I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I talk about how many nights I’m spending. I also don’t keep a running tally of my annual total of overnights, but I could tell you the average of nights I spend in a hotel per month and let you do the math.

Remember, it’s our job as reps to “translate” our service or product to prospects’ situations. That means we must use language that’s easy for prospects to understand. The problem is, the jargon becomes so deeply engrained in our everyday lives that it’s hard to even recognize when we’re using it, much less stop using it! Enter the Factor 8 Drinking Game!
Are you ready to test yourself and your team?

  1. At your next team meeting, create a list of all the “jargon” you use on a daily basis but probably shouldn’t. This list will probably grow throughout the week while you get the hang of it, so if possible, put it on a whiteboard that’s easy for everyone to see.

Tip: Include all acronyms and product or service names that are particular to your company. (Your marketing team will hate this, but if it’s your brand, it’s probably “jargon” to someone else!) Test it this way: If your Grandma would say “Huh?” — then it probably belongs on the list

  1. Put everyone’s names on the whiteboard with space for tally marks (or have everyone set up a spot at their own cube to keep count).
  2. Any time you hear a word on the list, yell, “Drink!” and add a tally to the offender’s name on the whiteboard.

Tip: For best results, keep track in meetings, the hallways, lunch – anywhere and anytime is fair game.

  1. Work as a team to keep everyone’s tally marks honest (and be grateful it’s just coffee or water, or you’d be hammered by noon!)
  2. On Friday afternoon, count ’em up! The person with the most tally marks (managers included) buys drinks for the team!
  3. Before you head out for happy hour, go back and look at the list. Identify top offenders, share some stories and work together to come up with a few replacement terms or phrases.

Besides being better hydrated, you and your team will gain an idea of just how often you are speaking your own language when you should be using your customer’s. Now, work on replacing the jargon with everyday language.

Hey, we can all use some help getting out of our heads and becoming easier to relate to – and we can all use a little fun at work, too.

Happy Selling (and drinking)!

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