Successful selling: The sales jargon buster

Successful selling: The sales jargon buster

Posted: Mon 3rd Jun 2019

Selling is the part of running a business that many people struggle with most - not just because we may be reluctant to persuade a customer to buy, but also because selling seems to come with its own peculiar language.

In her book, Successful Selling for Small Business, Jackie Wade offers this jargon-buster for the essential sales terminology.

Definitions of sales phrases and terms

Active need: A need, problem or pain which has been identified or recognised by a customer or prospect (the opposite being Latent Need).

Closing: Closing a sale refers to achieving a clearly defined, tangible and mutually agreed final outcome between buyer and seller, either a sale or agreed next step.

Closed question: A question which can be answered by one word: Yes, No, Maybe, Sometimes.

Cold calling: Telephone selling or calling to prospects where there is no previous track record or relationship.

Cross-selling: Selling an additional product (or products) which naturally links or fits with the original purchase.

CRM system: A Customer Relationship Management system is an IT software solution for storing, managing and tracking data about your customers and prospects.

Gatekeeper: Someone who may be the interface or barrier to your ultimate decision maker; typically a PA, secretary or receptionist.

Lifetime value (LTV):  In relation to a customer, this is the value of the customer to a business over the customer's lifetime with that business.

Link selling: Linking two product sales together. A customer buys one thing and you introduce something else that naturally links to first purchase (see cross-selling).

Lead: An unqualified prospect. Someone you think may have a need but you now need to qualify.

Objection: A barrier or obstacle to closing a sale; a customer's reason (stated or implied, real or imagined) for possibly not moving forward.

Open questions: Questions beginning with who, what, where, when, how, why and which cannot be answer with yes, no or other one worded answer. Seeks to gain a more detailed response.

Opportunity: A qualified piece of potential business from a new prospect or existing customer.

Pain: A problem or need that the customer has which makes him or her uncomfortable and needs to be addressed or requires a solution.

Pipeline: In the context of sales, this refers to the steady flow of prospects with whom you are in contact at different stages of interest (cold, cool, warm, hot) and who are in line to be converted at some stage in the future into customers.

Prospect: A potential customer - someone you have identified as having a need you can fulfil.

ROI: Return on Investment - an accountancy term which looks at the return on investment the customer gets by buying a particular product or service.

Upselling: Increasing the value of the sale upwards by selling higher value item.

USP: Unique Selling Point - what makes you stand out from the crowd.

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