Business Terms

  • 80/20 rule: belief that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes;

  • Accounts payable: Money that you or your business owes to others.

  • Accounts receivable: Money owed to you or your business.

  • Added value: The process of going the extra mile with a client. Added value also is used to describe when products and services include additional features beyond what is generally desired by the client at no additional cost.

  • AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.

  • Asset: Things of value. Tangible assets include cash, receivables, inventory, and buildings. Intangible assets include goodwill.

  • Atmosphere: The physical characteristics and surrounding influence of a business that is used to create an image in order to attract clients.

  • B2B: A sales organization whose primary effort is selling to and doing business with other businesses.

  • B2C: A sales organization whose primary effort is selling to and doing business with consumers, or with individual users.

  • Benefit: The value experienced by the client as a result of the purchase of a product or service. Salespeople who focus on communicating benefits and aligning those benefits to a client's business objectives increase the likelihood of gaining a sale.

  • Brainstorming: A methodology undertaken by a person or a team to solve a problem or to generate ideas by rapidly listing a variety of possible solutions and approaches.

  • Brand: A name, term, or symbol used to identify the products and services of the selling organization and to differentiate them from those of competitors.

  • Break-even point: The point in business where the sales equal the expenses. There is no profit and no loss.

  • Brick and mortar: A business that is in a building as opposed to an online shopping destination, door-to-door sales, kiosk or other similar sites not housed within a structure.

  • Business cycle: A sequence of economic activities typically characterized by recessions, recovery, growth, and at times, decline.

  • Business plan: A detailed document describing the past, present and future financial and operational objectives of a company.

  • Buy-in: agreement, support; it is unclear why ‘buy-in’ has come to supplant these terms, as no actual purchasing occurs

  • Canvas: Another word for the activity of prospecting for clients.

  • capacity: your available time and energy for additional tasks

  • Capital assets: Long-term assets used to produce income, such as buildings and equipment.

  • Cash flow: The movement of money in and out of a business and the resulting availability of cash.

  • Change management: Refers to a restructuring of departments or divisions within an organization. This may include a re-evaluation of particular job functions or the overhaul of an entire department. The main reason for change management is an ineffective flow of operations that need to be addressed internally.

  • Client profile: A document that outlines the critical information about a particular client.

  • Client relationship management (CRM): The process used internally to manage client relationships.

  • Close: The point at which the salesperson asks for a commitment to purchase the product or service being evaluated.

  • Closed questions: Questions that provide the client with a choice among alternatives. Often these are a brief answer, yes-no questions.

  • Cold call: A visit made to an organization without having an appointment.

  • Competitive advantage: Those areas deemed to have preferential value to a client versus a similar competitive product.

  • Consultant: Someone who sells advice to someone who needs it. The advice must be useful, of value, and assist the client in solving a specific problem.

  • Conversion ratio: Used in sales organizations where gaining sales is a function of taking away business from competition, this ratio is usually a measure of the number of targeted opportunities secured versus the number of opportunities pursued.

  • Conversion: The methodology used to convert a client's use of one product or supplier to another.

  • Core client: a client with a long-standing firm relationship, and one in which there is a continual dialogue between senior executives even if there are no ongoing projects

  • Core competencies: This is pretty self-explanatory but it is such a known term in consultant lingo that is definitely worth noting. Core competencies are the group of things that a particular company excels at doing. For example, a core competency of a marketing firm may be creative ad. design, while another firm's main core competency could be television promotions. It is essential to evaluate and define core competencies within a company before any further work begins.

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: The method a client (or sales organization) follows to assess the viability of a recommendation, by examining the total amount of money, time, and resources used relative to the value being received.

  • Cross-selling: A methodology in selling where a client need lends itself to a possible need for another product or service.

  • Decision maker: The person most responsible for deciding the outcome of a salesperson's or selling organization's proposal.

  • Deliverable: The deliverable is the service you offer your client. You will offer a service (or product) to the client and let them know when they can expect to receive said service. Most of the time, as a consultant, your deliverables will be less tangible pieces of work, such as overall analysis of certain aspects of the business but may also include reports, presentations, and the like.

  • Demographics: Characteristics of a specific group of people, such as potential clients.

  • Differentiation: The process of distinguishing services or products through design.

  • Direct marketing: The process of marketing directly to an end user. The most known form of direct marketing is direct mail.

  • Distributor: An indirect sales channel that markets or sells a product or service. Distributors are used by selling organizations to capitalize on the distributor's local presence and capacity to support the manufacturer.

  • Due diligence: a comprehensive study/survey of a business model with an aim to set clear expectations, risks, dependencies, etc. as part of a business proposal

  • Durable goods: Products that can be used frequently and have a long life expectancy, such as furniture, jewellery, and major appliances.

  • E-Business: Conducting business via the Internet.

  • Focus Group: A small group selected to participate in open discussions on a topic, in order to solicit the participants' opinion about that topic or area.

  • Forward stock: Merchandise that is kept on the selling floor.

  • Gatekeeper: The person who controls access to someone you are trying to meet with.

  • Goal: The end toward which a salesperson or sales organization is headed. The ability to set and execute against ambitious yet realistic goals is considered the essential foundation for a sales organization's success.

  • Image: The impression clients have of a company or service.

  • Influencer: An individual who has sway over how a decision is made but is not the direct decision maker.

  • Key performance indicator (KPI): The primary measures an organization uses to determine its own internal performance.

  • Key players: The men and women inside an account who are essential to the selling organization gaining a positive decision.

  • key: critical, essential, required, important, central; the key analysis is generally the linchpin; often used as a noun, and with such frequency that its significance has been diluted since everything is now ‘key’

  • Level of influence: The degree of influence an individual has on the decision-making process.

  • leverage: a fancy way of saying “use” as in “Let’s leverage this set of data”

  • Liabilities: Amounts that a business owes to suppliers and other creditors.

  • Loss leader: A product or service that is discounted significantly from list price and used, typically for a limited period, to influence buyers to purchase other products.

  • Loss prevention: The act of reducing the amount of theft and shrinkage within a business.

  • Margin: The difference between the cost of a product and its selling price, expressed as a percentage or dollars-per-unit.

  • Markdown: Planned reduction in the selling price of an item, usually to take effect either within a certain number of days after seasonal merchandise is received or at a specific date.

  • Market area: The geographic area from which a business draws its clients.

  • Market penetration: The ability to enter and gain a share in a specified market, generally measured in percentage terms.

  • Market share: An organization's portion of the total market, typically expressed as a percentage.

  • Marketing calendar: A tool used by businesses to show what marketing events, media campaigns and promotional efforts are happening when and where, as well as the results.

  • Marketing: The process followed by organizations to satisfy the needs, wants, and demands of their clients through the application and promotion of products and services that satisfy those client requirements

  • Mark-up: The amount added to the cost price of a product or service to determine its selling price.

  • Mission statement: An organization's purpose for being. Mission statements typically communicate what an organization values. 

  • Needs analysis: The process of formally evaluating a client's needs and requirements.

  • Networking: The process of developing and maintaining alliances externally and internally with a wide variety of contacts that can provide information, insight, help, and access to others.

  • Niche market: A unique segment of the market a selling organization is targeted toward. This unique segment, if served well, can provide areas of distinctive competitive value.

  • Pipeline: typically used to reference the current and upcoming list of client engagements

  • Pricing practices: The methods and strategies an organization uses to price its products and services in the marketplace.

  • Probability: The likelihood that a given event will occur.

  • Problem analysis: The process of examining the symptoms, conditions, and possible causes of a problem in order to define alternatives for possible resolution.

  • Process: A series of steps bringing about a desired result.

  • Pro-forma: The process of preparing a hypothetical income statement for a client, based on a given set of assumptions.

  • Progress review: a periodic meeting (either internal or with the client) to review the progress made in the preceding period

  • Pushback (verb form) or pushback (noun): formerly the sole domain of aeroplanes leaving their gates, this term is now used to indicate resistance and/or disagreement, without actually using those terms; this phrase attempts to avoid any negative connotations of controversy

  • QC: Quality control, typically referring to need to check for typos, grammar mistakes, calculation errors, etc

  • Retention: The science and practices used to keep a client.

  • Right-sized: euphemism for downsized

  • Scope: the agreed-upon list of deliverables and boundaries that underpin any client engagement

  • Segmentation: The division of a market into separate units with similar characteristics.

  • Service: A product/service mix that offers only a service, with no accompanying product needed or wanted, such as an insurance policy.

  • Strategy: The planning of all the resources available to a company or a salesperson to achieve a stated goal or purpose.

  • Supportive services: Free services offered to clients to increase convenience, make shopping easier and entice clients to buy more.

  • Target market: The set of clients or organizations that you deem most viable for your product or service.

  • Target: Target or benchmark is simply just a way of expressing a level of performance to which something else can be compared. Target study or an analysis of performance is often used to compare the performance of a client's competition in the market. These types of studies can also be employed for use internally in a company. For example, you may be hired to determine which departments are achieving the best results in a particular area such as production support, employee satisfaction, or individual productivity levels.

  • Test market: The process of evaluating the appeal of a product or service by selecting cities, clients, and locations in which to introduce the product or service, and monitor how receptive the intended users are to it.

  • Trade credit: An open account with suppliers of goods and services.

  • Upward feedback: the process of providing feedback “upward” to more senior employees, from managers to partners

  • Value: The relative worth, utility, importance, or financial benefit that is assigned by a buyer to the product or service an organization sells.

  • Vertical market: A market characterized by certain unique characteristics.