When engaging in sales activity it’s easy to assume that clients and prospects understand what we’re talking about. We are taught that if we just stop talking about features and start talking about benefits then everything will go swimmingly, right?

Well actually it’s wrong. Talking about benefits is a good start but that doesn’t mean our clients and prospects will actually understand what we are saying!

The following are 5 of the most common reasons why accidental sales people fail to get their sales messages across:

Too complex
Some people struggle to get their message across when trying to communicate a complex idea because they are trying to explain or educate. Even though they may use tangible words it ends up sounding complex. A simple alternative is to compare something they don’t understand with something they do by using a simple metaphor.

For example, getting across the need for a good sales and marketing strategy is not that easy and many people are unlikely to know what a real sales and marketing strategy should look like. Much easier would be to compare a good sales and marketing strategy to the foundations of a house and, just like a house, a business should be built on solid foundations.

Too abstract
Some people talk in terms of concepts and use abstract words. For example, I recently worked with someone who was talking about helping people improve their “performance”. Performance is an abstract word and we got a much better response when he started to talk about improving results in specific areas for his clients.

Too many words
Most people can only process a limited amount of information at one time and a continual barrage of words can cause overload resulting in losing the listener’s attention.

Too few words
Sometimes people make the mistake of assuming their audience has prior knowledge of certain facts or subject areas and as a result leave people scratching their heads and wondering what the other person is talking about.

Too vague
Messages are often vague because the person speaking does not have clarity of what they want to say and often they are trying to get across multiple messages at the same time. When we are vague about something, our messages risk sounding vague to the people listening to us.

The easier we can make it for people to understand our sales and marketing messages, the more likely they are to respond favourably to them. Not only do we need to ensure we are communicating the benefits of our products and services. We also need to think about our audience and how the words and phrases we use are likely to aid or hinder comprehension.