Sales Acronyms and Abbreviations – When Is It Acceptable To Use Them in a Sales Call

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When is it acceptable to use sales acronyms and abbreviations with a customer? The short answer is not as often as you may think.

When Should You Use Sales Acronyms and Abbreviations

Everyone salesperson uses some acronyms and abbreviations when they are on a sales call. The problem is that it’s not always the best sales technique to use them. The reason is we all have different experiences and frames of reference so many of us assign different meaning to the same abbreviations. 

Sales Acronyms and Abbreviations in a Sales Call - A Quick Sales Tip from B2B Sales Connections

If it is a generally understood sales acronym or abbreviation, then it is acceptable to use it. For example, in the sales world, B2B is a commonly known abbreviation for business to business. So it B2C for business to consumer. Yes, granted, there are as many as 101 commonly used and understood b2b sales acronyms in the business world.

When Should You NOT use Them

Having said that, there are just as many sales acronyms that people don’t understand. For example, when one rep who worked for a Fortune 500 abbreviated his company name, I thought he was talking about what many people put with jelly on their sandwiches.  GST, HST or RRSP are very common terms in Canada, but someone from the US probably has never heard them before. 

Here’s the acid test of whether it’s safe to use a sales acronym with a propsect or customer. Ask yourself if you knew the meaning of the abbreviation before you started using it to sell your product or service. If the answer is no, then don’t use it.

At the bare minimum, if it’s not a generally accepted sales acronym, then use the full term to explain first. For example, are you looking to hire a business development representative, otherwise referred to as a BDR? Or are the sales people using an online Customer Relationship Management program or CRM for short?

The Bottom Line on Abbreviations?

As a general rule, if you didn’t know its meaning of the abbreviation before joining your industry, chances are your prospect won’t either.  Bottom line, when in doubt, don’t use the abbreviation!

Remember, as George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

Aim Higher!

Susan A. EnnsB2B Sales Coach and Author
Schedule a free sales coaching strategy session with Susan here.

“… what I can tell anyone, is simply this – If you want to learn and understand sales, talk to Susan.”

Do you have a question about sales? You’re not alone.  Most salespeople have questions like this on how they can sell more. For the right answers, check out my book, Ask the Sales Coach-Practical Answers to the Questions Sales People Ask Most.

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