Any successful sales pitch is based on two main pillars: credibility and clarity.
Many sales reps try to lay the foundations of trust by including various sales buzzwords in their pitch in the hope of sounding like industry pundits who know their stuff inside out.
Unfortunately, overusing these words can have an adverse effect. Instead of credibility and clarity, they often bring confusion and distrust, leading to lost deals and sales opportunities.
In this article, I’ll share the 20 most popular sales buzzwords experts from Storydoc have picked for you so you can avoid them in your decks. I’ll also provide you with alternative ways of delivering an engaging and persuasive presentation to help you close your deals faster.
Most common sales buzzwords that harm your sales pitch
Let’s look through the most common sales deck buzzwords you should drop from your next pitch if you want to build a connection with your prospects and get them to buy your solution:
When you hear someone using the phrase “account-based” here and there in their pitch, know—these guys might have no idea what it actually entails.
Account-based sales or marketing refers to targeting high-value customer accounts and creating highly-personalized resources for them, from tailor-made buyer journeys to custom content and campaigns. One of the key backbones of effective account-based marketing is the alignment of sales and marketing teams.
If you’re absolutely sure that your customer uses an account-based approach, know how your solution can help them boost account-based sales, and have a powerful smarketing strategy in place, go ahead.
When applied correctly, account-based marketing can be highly effective. At Storydoc, we analyzed 100,000+ user sessions to learn what makes the most successful decks successful and discovered that personalization is one of the key factors while working with high-value customer accounts.
Otherwise, don’t hurry up to position your approach as account-based. Instead, better focus on how your solution can help customers achieve their business goals.
If your business is selling AI-powered smart assistance, you can hardly get through your presentation without mentioning artificial intelligence at least once.
But nowadays, it looks like everyone and their mother are incorporating “AI-based” into their pitch to sound trendy and cool. So I really doubt your prospects will be impressed if you mention it in your sales decks—they’ve heard it all before.
Instead of boasting about artificial intelligence in your sales presentations, better focus on the real benefits your prospects will get from your solution. Use specific examples to show how your offering will help them solve their problems.
“Disruptive” is meant to signify that whatever you’re selling is so innovative that it disrupts the market you’re operating. And, let’s be honest, how often does that happen?
Still, it’s one of the hottest sales buzzwords these days, the one you’ve probably heard more times than you care to remember. In most cases, sales reps misuse this term to describe any product or service that is new or innovative. When everything is branded as “disruptive,” it is not only tiring to hear but also automatically undermines people’s trust in your business.
If you truly think your offering is a breath of fresh air, why don’t you leverage the power of storytelling to explain to your prospects how it’s changing the industry? People only remember 5-10% of statistics, but when you convey the same information through stories, that number rises to 60-70%. Use original powerful phrases that will tap into people’s emotions, and you’re far more likely to get yourself a deal.
“State-of-the-art” is another favorite sales buzzword meant to make your company and the technology look advanced and futuristic. The truth is, however, this phrase holds little real value when used by salespeople and marketers.
Everyone says their product, service, or technology is great. Sure, if you’ve just developed an application that helps people locate missing socks, people’s minds would be blown. But, another goal-tracking or manifestation app can hardly be called “state-of-the-art.”
Instead of using this buzzword, underline what makes your solution unique or better than similar on the market.
5. Leading solution
I can’t help mentioning a trite and annoying phrase you can hear from every corner—“a leading solution.” It’s been used even by small startups that are 2 years old.
Okay, if I asked you to name 2 leading companies in the smartphone market, what brands would you name right away? Probably Apple and Samsung, wouldn’t you? Best cloud storage solutions? Google Drive, Dropbox… You know the drill. The thing is that customers consider a brand leading if everyone knows it.
So, if you’re not really the leading solution, drop the high talk and focus on your results instead. Otherwise, customers might see right through your false claims, and, believe me, they won’t trust another word you say.
The problem with this buzzword is that everyone promises that their solution is easy-to-use, while the reality appears harsh: you start using a service and discover another stumbling block during onboarding.
Describing a product or service as “difficult to use/navigate” doesn’t exactly make a great selling point. But, if your offering is better suited for more experienced users, instead of making false promises, focus on pitching other features that prospective customers will love, such as an impeccable support team that helps solve all difficulties.
7. We look at you as a partner
The biggest banality I’ve ever heard in sales pitches is, “You’re not a customer; we look at you as a partner.” Your prospects weren’t born yesterday, so they probably realize it is impossible to treat every client as a partner.
Instead, reassure your customer that you’re going to approach their business with the highest level of care and attention to detail and explain how your solution will drive their growth.
8. Boil the ocean
“Boil the ocean,” “reach for the stars,” “move heaven and Earth”… Different phrases, the same old cliché. What is it with business people that they have started using nature metaphors to show potential clients they’re going to achieve the impossible?
Be very careful with figurative language in your sales decks overall. Remember one of the main pillars of a sales pitch? Clarity. If you were to look up the official definition of the “boil the ocean” buzzword, you’d find that it also means “making a project impossible by overcomplicating it.” This phrase brings more confusion than clarity, and that’s exactly why you need to retire it.
There’s nothing wrong with promising to deliver a top-notch service to your clients should they choose to work with you. There’s really no need to aim for the impossible. Remember—it’s always better to underpromise and overdeliver than promise something you can’t give.
9. Give 110%
Similarly, it’s time to stop promising to give every client 110%. Not only does it sound vapid, but it’s also unrealistic. Customers understand that not any company can provide every client with so much care and attention. If not, they’re just setting themselves up for disappointment, which doesn’t work in your favor.
Instead of persuading yourself and your customers how much you can sacrifice to make them happy, be realistic and focus on explaining what exactly you can do for them and how.
10. Hit the ground running
You’ll find many sales pitches that end with this vague phrase. In my experience, sales professionals who use it want to emphasize they are enthusiastic and energetic about helping a prospect to resolve their pain points. In fact, however, this phrase doesn’t convey that you have a specific implementation plan in place yet.
To show prospective clients that you’re serious about their business, be clear and precise about how your solution will help them grow their business step by step and what the next course of action is.
A “wheelhouse” is just a fancy term to describe an area in which you specialize. Aiming to build credibility, sales representatives often refer to their product or service offering as their “wheelhouse” to underline they have plenty of experience and knowledge on the subject.
Using this buzzword, you make the biggest mistake—speaking about yourself rather than shifting the focus to the prospect. It’s clear that as a sales pro, you should have expertise in the area. Just don’t scream about it. Instead, demonstrate your help—be ready to answer all prospect’s questions about your offering.
This word is meant to emphasize the benefits of working together to produce greater results. But, as it’s been overused by business professionals in all sorts of different contexts, the buzzword conveys nothing but vagueness now.
To avoid confusion, try to shy away from this high term in your next pitch. Instead, focus on the real benefits of working with you. As many people are risk-averse, you need to persuade your prospects that cooperation with you will change their lives for the better as compared to the current state they’re in.
13. Quick wins
When sales reps pitch their solution as “offering quick wins,” they want to entice prospects with the promise of achieving desired results fast. In reality, however, it looks like a big scam.
People that have been in business long enough know there is no such thing as quick wins. It’s either going to take longer than expected to see any return on their investment, or the return is going to be short-term.
The idea of a quick win can also make leads perceive your offering as low-value. Many would rather be promised a series of sustained wins.
Therefore, focus on the exceptional results you’re going to deliver to your clients. Instead of offering quick wins, mention the real time frame within which your prospects will be able to achieve growth (e.g., “till the end of this year,” “in 6 months,” etc.)
I’ve come across this oxymoron many times. I say it’s an oxymoron because a product or service of premium quality can’t be free. Freemium is commonly a plan with a limited set of features or possibilities meant to acquaint a user with the product. Nevertheless, some sales reps go on using this buzzword to make it sound like they’re providing great value at no cost.
Don’t build your sales presentations around your freemium or free trial as if it is the only benefit of your solution. Instead, focus on pitching all the features that the free version comes with and mention the limitations that make it worth switching to the paid plan.
15. Touch base
Many sales reps want to sound casual when trying to schedule another meeting—hence the whole “just wanted to quickly touch base” thing.
But for business people, who are usually pressed for time, this might sound like you don’t have anything of substance to say. If they feel like you’re trying to speak to them without any particular reason, they’ll most likely ghost you in favor of other issues of higher priority.
Be more direct when trying to contact your prospect—state a clear reason you are reaching out, and if you want to request a meeting, remember to be particular about the time, e.g., “Let’s talk again on Tuesday.”
16. Just following up
Before you even ask—no, “just following up” is not a suitable phrase to use instead of “touching base.”
Let’s be honest—nobody is “just following up.” It looks like you are too lazy to state a true reason for contacting a prospect. So why would you assume the recipients will devote their time and energy to figuring out why you’re contacting them?
People’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, so you need to make it count. I recommend finding a better opening sentence for your bump emails where you state clearly why you’re reaching out to them. For instance, “Are there any updates regarding X?” is a much better alternative as it opens communication between you and your prospect and highlights the subject matter.
17. Circle back
“Let’s circle back on that later” is a buzzword used by sales reps to revisit a subject matter at another time. Sometimes it’s a way to answer customers’ questions or provide more details without disrupting the main sales pitch. In some cases, however, it’s just a way to avoid confrontation by postponing the uncomfortable conversation.
The problem starts when sales reps never actually follow through. You should avoid such terms like “circle back” and replace them with more actionable phrases like, “I’ll write it down and get back to you on that on Monday.”
18. New normal
Being first used to describe the changed post-war landscape, this phrase regained popularity during the pandemic when we started using it as an umbrella term for any shifts in the way we live and work.
More than 2 years have passed since that time, and people have already become sick and tired of hearing this buzzword. After all, what was the “new normal” then isn’t so new anymore, is it?
So, next time you’re about to pitch your solution, instead of using this phrase, just mention clear shifts that occurred in the marketplace over the analyzed period.
Want to mention the pandemic without actually saying the dreaded P word? “We live in unprecedented times”—there you go!
Unprecedented challenges, unprecedented growth, unprecedented change… The problem is that many sales professionals still refer to everything as “unprecedented.” It’s wrong for two main reasons.
First, I’m pretty sure that the last 2 years set a precedent for pretty much anything. I mean, did anyone have a global pandemic on their 2020 bingo card? And second, as we’re slowly but surely moving forward, for many of us, this buzzword is an unwelcome reminder of just how much our lives were uprooted. Calling something “unprecedented,” “unparalleled,” “unrivaled,” or “extraordinary” only adds negative feelings and carries no sense.
Again, be clear about the real challenges of the pandemic in the context of how your solution can help resolve these problems. After all, you’re not complaining—you’re offering help.
20. Take this offline
On a similar note, another hated sales buzzword is “take this offline.” It’s used when you want to discuss a given matter outside of the current meeting. While this made perfect sense before the pandemic, when you could just arrive at someone’s office, now that many companies have gone fully remote and never meet offline, it looks totally awkward.
And yet many sales reps are still using this buzzword, meaning they would like to schedule a second online meeting to discuss something they didn’t want to discuss during the first one. For a prospect, it may sound like a sales rep has something to hide and hopes they’ll forget about it and drop the conversation.
Don’t use this phrase to save a positive image of yourself and your business. Instead, say: “Let’s stay after the meeting to discuss this matter privately,” or “Allow me to get more information, and I’ll follow up with you on Monday.”
Here is a list of all these buzzwords in alphabetical order. Feel free to save it to your desktop:
What makes a great sales deck
Instead of overloading your pitch with confusing sales buzzwords, here are some sales deck practices that will make an impact:
Leverage storytelling frameworks
The secret to making sales decks that convert is using a storytelling technique.
Start by creating a context for your sales pitch, for instance, a big shift happening in the world and how it impacts the main character—a prospect. Then, gradually follow up with a vision of your prospects living happily ever after and connect it with their switch to your solution.
If you take your prospects through a compelling narrative where they’re the main characters, they’ll stay engaged until the end.
Personalize at scale
No matter how great the results of your previous sales campaigns were, you can’t follow the same path with prospective customers, as every prospect is interested in what you can achieve specifically for them.
Show that you’ve done your research by customizing your offer to match your prospects’ individual needs. Even simple steps, such as including a client’s logo or name, can go a long way and make them feel special.
As soon as your prospects feel you understand their pain points, they’ll be more inclined to consider you the ideal solution provider (take a look at some sales deck examples you can personalize).
Replace walls of text with visuals
People tend to be naturally drawn to images first. If we find them compelling enough, we read the text they’re accompanied by.
So, if you don’t want to lose your prospect’s attention, don’t feed them with walls of text or sophisticated tables. Add more visuals to your sales deck instead, including videos and other interactive elements.
Not only will it help people digest the complex data, but it will also keep them more engaged, hence more likely to convert in the end.
Make the next step clear
Never end your pitch with a simple “Thank you,” as it doesn’t sound like a clear call to action. Prospects should understand what they are supposed to do after viewing your sales deck. Do you want them to read more about your solution, book a demo, or contact one of your sales reps directly?
Make the next step as intuitive as possible. With Storydoc, you can embed your calendar directly into your deck, which makes booking the next meeting easier than ever.
Salespeople tend to build authority with clients by including sales buzzwords in their pitches.
However, instead of credibility and trust, such words and phrases often create misunderstandings and confusion. There are many more effective ways to win clients, such as using storytelling techniques, personalizing your sales pitch, making it more engaging with visuals, and offering a prospect clear further steps.
And if you need a software solution for automating your sales efforts, Snov.io is always at your disposal. Good luck!