Neil Rackham states the selling world has changed more in the past three years than the last 30 combined. Has our selling vocabulary changed to reflect the times? Here is a short list of what’s old and what’s new…

Old Sales Terms

In the old sales world, they used to say “Coffee is for Closers.” What should we say now? “iPads are for Imbeciles?” “Demos are for Dumbies?” Here are the old saws that are now out of date: A.B.C. “Always be Closing.” Made famous by Alec Baldwin in the movie "Glengarry Glen Ross," this is the old line thrown around whenever salespeople are pushing for the sale. “Get them to sign on the dotted line.” This is a big reason salespeople rank right down with politicians when it comes to trust. As a boss of mine once asked, “when is the last time you told the truth to a salesperson?”


“Budget – Authority – Need – Timeline.” In the old world, there was one decision maker, and they had a need, a budget, and an impending event. The salesperson needed to crack the secret code to unlock the budget dollars for their solution. BANT doesn’t work with multiple decision influencers, changing needs, and multiple lines of business with their own interests and priorities.


Neil Rackham’s book of the same name revolutionized the sales world when it was published in 1988.  Now, even Neil jokes about the same tired list of questions every salesperson recites like a robot. Just watch executives roll their eyes when asked “What keeps you up at night?”

These Old Sales practices served us well for years. Why are they obsolete now? Because customers expect their salespeople to be knowledgeable and prepared. To know the basic information before they sit down. To educate and excite!

New Sales Terms

Executives expect salespeople to “Pull” with innovative ideas and practices rather than “Push” with tired old manipulative tactics. They may know the technology and applications better than the salesperson. “Tell me Something I don’t know, Sherlock”

More Chump Change: Famous Last Words in Sales


“Steal – With – Integrity – Purpose – & Enthusiasm” The best salespeople “SWIPE” the newest, the best, and the most transformative ideas and share them with their customers. What are the best ways to improve customer service, to speed innovation, to gain a competitive edge, to handle compliance regulations, and to cut operating costs?


“People – Uttering – Knowledge of Everything.” This phrase was popularized by Sales Guru, Ron Karr. While he uses it as a disparagement, there’s a real element of truth in it. Top salespeople are in fact the extremely knowledgeable, but the value of their knowledge is not in the product or service itself. It’s how the customer can use it for competitive advantage.

More Chump Change: Getting Lost in Translation & Losing the Sale: IT SNAFU Day 3


“Social – Mobile – Apps – Cloud.” Selling has changed because buyers have changed how they learn, research, and communicate. They check out people and ideas online using apps on their mobile devices. You’d better have a strong profile on all the Social Media sites, great reviews on the specialized technology sites, and high SEO scores.

Let this be a warning to everyone in I.T. Sales: don’t Push, BANT and SPIN, you need to PUKE, SMAC, and SWIPE your way to success!

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