The Danger of Dirty Corporate Words

By Jeff Beals

By now you’ve probably heard a great deal about United Airlines’ infamous “re-accommodation” of a passenger on a recent flight from Chicago O’Hare to Louisville, Kentucky.

Just in case you missed it, the plane was overbooked – as is too often the case with major airlines – meaning four passengers had to give up their seats.  Nobody volunteered to leave their seats despite large bribes (travel vouchers) being offered by United.  Eventually, the airline randomly chose four unlucky souls to be forced off the plane.  One of those passengers refused to leave. He was eventually dragged off the plane violently.  Videos showed the 69-year-old passenger screaming in pain while being dragged toward the exit. His face was bloodied.

Predictably, those videos went viral, leading to a firestorm of backlash against United Airlines. The whole incident is made worse when you consider that the passengers were already onboard and in their seats waiting to depart.

Did the passenger act improperly by refusing to leave private property (the airplane) after being ordered to do so? Technically, yes. Was his anger understandable?  Yes. Chronically bad treatment by airlines is maddening to paying customers. Is there something inherently wrong with overbooking planes and forcing paying customers to leave? Yes. How many other industries could get away with such a practice?

But for now, let’s set aside the argument as to whether or not the passenger should have cooperated and instead focus on United Airlines’ response.

The incident is being described as a public relations nightmare. It brings to light the controversial subject of overbooking. It’s a vivid reminder that airlines generally aren’t known for their customer service.  It reminds people of poor treatment they may have experienced on previous United flights.  The optics are never good when the big powerful corporation is perceived to be picking on the little guy.

Whenever a huge company makes a huge mistake the quality and speed of the response is critically important. PR experts almost uniformly agree that United botched it.

As I watched this story unfold, one word grabbed my attention and planted itself permanently in my head: “re-accommodated.”

United CEO Oscar Munez has fumbled and bumbled several statements since the incident, but of all his poorly chosen words, this statement takes the cake:

“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United,” Munoz said. “I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers.”

Re-accommodate?  Is that a sanitized, made-up word for “having your face rearranged while getting kicked off a plane you paid to ride?”

Comedians and others have had a lot of fun with that statement, joking about the painful process of “re-accommodation” and how the CEO of United needs to get “re-accommodated” to the unemployment line.

When I read Munoz’s use of “re-accommodated,” I was reminded of something that has always chaffed my ears – meaningless, politically correct, corporate double-speak.  It’s a long-standing problem in the business world and it shows no sign of going away anytime soon.

The business world is full of patronizing language.

A study by the Financial Times a few years ago indicated that fewer than 10 percent of business executives actually understood the meaning of commonly used corporate jargon and business buzzwords. The researchers surveyed nearly a thousand executives and found that “the overwhelming majority were unable to correctly explain the jargon they use on a daily basis.

The study described most of the surveyed executives as possessing “‘admittedly ignorant’ understanding of ‘very confusing’ management speak.” Nevertheless, the survey respondents admitted to using an average of five corporate buzzwords each day.

Whether they uttered the words in board rooms, in client meetings or social settings, the executives believed the words “made them look more professional or intelligent” and “cemented their positions of authority.”

Similarly, when uttered in front of the media as a way to cover up or lessen the impact of bad corporate behavior, executives believe pseudo-intellectual, misleading euphemisms protect their companies and preserve their images.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Buzzwords, jargon and corporate double-speak are painful to the ear and patronizing to the brain. Those who use such “words” in the hope of sounding brilliant end up sounding anything but brilliant at least to those people who are good at seeing through nonsense. Those who use deceitful euphemisms to gloss over bad behavior lose all their credibility.

The business world has long been plagued by the use of hollow buzzwords. Resist the temptation! Use clear, concise language. Over the course of time, clear communicators are more respected than those whose mouths spew never-ending phrases of institutional bollocks.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events in 2016. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events in 2017!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

TRUST IN SELLING: How to “Climb” Toward a Completed Deal

By Jeff Beals

When trust exists, you don’t have to “sell” your prospects anything.

Clients believe trusted providers will keep their best interests in mind and provide them with the best products or services for their unique needs. When you achieve a level of trust with someone, deal-making is easy.

Trust facilitates decision making. Trust is what makes business possible. It makes business easier. When trust exists, deal-making is simply more fun, because participants endure far less stress and tension. Huge purchases are still sometimes made verbally and sealed with a handshake when both parties trust each other without reservation. As a salesperson, you can just “feel it” when trust settles into your relationship. That’s a great sign; it tells you that things are progressing toward a likely agreement.

In order to build trust, you must climb the “relationship depth chart.”

At the bottom of the chart is rapport, which leads to the second level—a relationship. After that, trust blossoms, ultimately leading to a sale or a done deal. With each prospective client you meet, start at the bottom of the relationship depth chart and work your way up. You climb the relationship depth chart by listening to your prospects/clients, empathizing with them, learning what they truly value and getting to know important people in their lives.

The relationship depth chart is sequential and therefore must be followed in exact order. First, seek to establish rapport. This simply means that after acquaintance is made, mutual affection exists between two people—I like you, and you like me. We have found some commonality and our personalities jibe. Once rapport is in place, you can proceed to a relationship, which is a deeper commonality that implies a longer-term friendship, mutual respect, empathy and loyalty. When two people have a healthy interpersonal relationship between them, they tend to enjoy reciprocating—that is, giving each other items of value and doing nice deeds for one another.

Once the relationship is firmly in place, you will probably encounter a “moment of truth,” an opportunity to prove your loyalty in the relationship.  If you handle this moment of truth properly, trust springs forth naturally. The stronger that trust, and the longer it has been in place, the more likely the two parties—buyer and seller— can come to a deal. Strong levels of trust lead to enduring business relationships, which can be almost impossible for a competitor to break.

Constantly climb the relationship depth chart with everyone you encounter. Wherever you are with any given person at any given time on the depth chart, the focus is only on advancing to the next highest rung. Your goal is to move every prospect to the top of the chart, but focus on one step at a time. In other words, you’re unlikely to have trust if you skip the relationship part. You’re unlikely to sign a deal when you haven’t passed the rapport stage.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events in 2016. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events in 2017!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com