Sticks & Stones; Are Your Own Words Hurting Your Business?

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me….

If you’re anywhere near my age you probably remember hearing the saying above.  The problem is, it’s not true.  Words can hurt you. And they can hurt your business too.

Let’s say you’ve been contacted by a potential client. They point out that judging by the information on your website, not only do you have the skills they are looking for, your price is right.  They want to start working with you.  You follow-up with a lengthy e-mail or perhaps a call to iron out the details. How exciting!

But suddenly the forward momentum stops there, you either get silence rather than a signed agreement and project instructions and/or the PC (potential client) contacts you and says it’s just not going to work out for them.  You suddenly go from cloud nine to the doldrums. What happened?

There can be many different factors that can cause a PC to abandon you ranging from their own lack of follow through to not feeling comfortable with you or virtual services in general.  There isn’t much we can do about the lack of follow through, just chalk it up to doing business.  But the lack of comfort with you or virtual services is something you might be able to address depending on the cause. Did you know that your vocabulary can have an effect on how a client feels about you and your services?

There have been studies that prove that a strong business vocabulary has a direct influence on how far up a career ladder a person climbs. So it stands to reason if you’re using an everyday vocabulary when talking to clients, it just may be giving them the wrong impression.  We’re not talking about bigger, longer words here; we’re talking about polished and professional sounding words.

For example; rather than start your response:

I’m really glad what I do fits what you are looking for.

try this:

I’m pleased to hear that my services fit your current need.

See the difference?  They say the same thing, but the second one just sounds more professional doesn’t it?

How does one build a business vocabulary anyway?  Reading is the number one method of vocabulary growth, so it stands to reason that reading business books, articles and blogs would help.  You can also check out websites that have a business vocabulary section  and even take courses to help.

While the lack of a strong business vocabulary may not be the only reason that potential client isn’t following through, making an effort to choose words and phrases that sound more professional could make a difference in how professional you are perceived to be.  And a high level of professionalism causes PC’s to become happy clients.


Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.