Dumb It Down, Will Ya?!!!—Plus a Video Interview with The Sales Lion
I had an ‘SEO Expert’ call me last week and this was his opening line: “Mr. Sheridan, do you realize your site is not optimized for many important keywords in your niche?”
As soon as I heard this question, I debated having a lot of fun with the guy and continuing the conversation, or just simply letting him be and allow my pity to quickly end the conversation.
I chose the latter but as I hung up the phone, a simple thought came to mind: ‘This guy is too dumb to dumb it down…and he’ll never make money because of it.’
Yeah, kinda strong, but it’s true.
The Curse of Knowledge is Getting Worse
My friend the ‘SEO Expert’ wasn’t different than most folks though. In fact, his actions represent the majority—in all industries, niches, and segments.
In the early days of this blog, when I had like 5 readers ;-), I talked extensively about the Curse of Knowledge, and how most business owners and employees use a vernacular well above their clients, thus destroying common sense communication and sales in general. And as I continue down this road of teaching and speaking about sales and marketing, I’m seeing the Curse of Knowledge more and more and more.
Just last week, as I was speaking to a variety of SEOs and marketers at the MarketingSherpa Optimization Summit (which was awesome btw!!!), I asked the group a very simple question:
“Everyone (in the world) knows what optimization is at this point, don’t they?”
As I expected, the majority of people in the room shook their head in the affirmative—another sign that most simply don’t understand their clients and prospects.
My follow up went something like this:
“Actually, NO. Most people have no clue what the word ‘Optimization’ is. In fact, 95% of all business owners still don’t know what a ‘keyword’ is. Furthermore, most of the people in the SEO and marketing industry use a slew of ‘common words and phrases’ that very few small businesses actually ‘get’.”
And speaking of common words and phrases that most people don’t get, I’ve got to take a second to mention a second curse—The Curse of Acronyms.
I’ve got to tell you, in general, I hate acronyms (with the exception of Davinas 😉 ). They stink. (except TSL of course, which is the coolest!! 😉 )They assume people have a clue when they don’t. And often times they kill good conversation and ultimately cost people (that’d be you and me) lots of money. Here are a few examples of the most commonly used:
- ROI (Return on Investment)
- ROS (Return on Sales)
- B2B (Business to Business)
- B2C (Business to Consumer)
- CMO (Chief Marketing Officer)
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
- CPC (Cost Per Click)
- CTR (Click Through Rate)
- SMBs (Small Medium Businesses)
Although I could go on and on with a list of acronyms, I’ll stop there and just say this:
If you’re utilizing acronyms all of the time in your sales, marketing, and content—you’re losing lots of money. Yeah, sure there are many people that know what they mean, but there are many more that don’t know what the heck you’re talking about– they’re just too embarrassed to admit it.
This rule obviously also applies to any other industry or trade specific words that are applied to your niche.
Our Goal is NOT to be a Genius
At the risk of sounding a bit prideful (please don’t take it that way), the #1 compliment I receive regarding my speaking and writing is this:
‘Marcus, you said it in such a simple way…now I get it!’
Do I ever get accused of being a genius? Nope, but that’s not the goal. The goal is that everybody gets what the heck it is I’m saying.
When we speak or when we write, we have a choice to make folks—We can try to impress ourselves or we can solely work to enlighten the audience. But be rest assured, the more ‘big words’, acronyms, and scientific stuff you say—the less you’ll actually communicate a lick of value to your audience (at least in most cases).
Because I have the ability to simplify subjects, and because I try to never speak above my audience (whether it be a single client or a room of 500 people), I’m beginning to experience tremendous success in my life. As an example, I’ve been traveling around the country in the last few weeks to help existing Hubspot clients find success with their inbound marketing.
But do I bring any more knowledge to the table that Hubspot doesn’t already do with their hundreds of awesome employees, thousands of articles, and slew of helpful videos?? Nope, not at all, but the one thing I can do pretty darn well is explain how the system works to average Joe and Jills that have a desire but simply don’t ‘get it’.
So that’s the challenge folks—start dumbing it down and stop assuming your clients know more than they do. If you do this, I can assure you the results will be astounding….
While I was in Atlanta last week, I met an incredible guy named Michael Aagaard. What’s amazing about Michael is that although he is very young, he has turned down some high paying and secure internet marketing jobs to do his own thing and be his own boss. He even flew all the way across the Atlantic from Denmark (where he lives) to attend the SEO conference I spoke at. After Michael and I met and he attended my seminar, he invited me to do a video interview for all his followers in Denmark, which I’m now sharing with you.
Although the video is long, if you’ve ever wanted to hear my thoughts on business and marketing, or listen to my goofy Virginia accent, I can assure you this video has it. It got a huge response on Michael’s blog and I hope if you find a few minutes here or there, you’ll give it a listen, as it won’t be a waste of your time. 🙂 Oh, and one other thing– The first two minutes are in Danish, so you can fast forward that…or just listen to it if you want, because it’s kinda cool. 🙂
Why is it so hard for people to ‘dumb it down’? What acronyms and other phrases have you heard that many people simply don’t understand? As always, I invite all readers to leave your thoughts below, as the comment section is where the strength of community is allowed to work its magic and we can all learn from each other.
Have a great week everyone!!!
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