Annoying Business Buzzwords and Phrases

annoyed-woman.jpgWhen I hear one of these phrases, a part of me cringes. Are people still talking like this? Are they listening to what they’re saying?

“We offer excellent customer service” – OK, what else do you do. Excellent customer service is standard nowadays. This phrase does NOTHING to set you apart. Plus, “excellent” is such a vague term with little metric value (see post on boastful superlatives).

“We are never too busy for your referrals.” – I would hope not – your chances of closing the deal on a referral are much higher than a cold-call. Who in their right mind would be “too busy?” Are you attempting to solicit your current clients to send you referrals with this message? If so, you might want to try mentioning how your service will be different. Maybe something like, “We treat your referrals like family.”

“This is a ‘turnkey’ solution.” – Enough of the buzzwords. They are fads. They get old. They do not make you seem smarter. Check out Scott Ginsberg’s blog for more annoying buzzwords .


Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit

12 thoughts on “Annoying Business Buzzwords and Phrases

  1. Actually, I’ve turned down referrals because we’ve been too busy. Ultimately, the quality of service, your brand value, is more important than scooping up every piece of business you can. You have to protect the quality of service your existing clients are receiving.

  2. I agree, Geoff. So in that light, by stating that you are “never too busy for a referral” does that translate into “even if the quality of work would suffer by bringing your referral on as a client, we’ll take the business because we’re desparate.”

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  4. I’m also pretty tired of hearing business owners say that what makes them unique is their “people.” Runner-up is “our service” or the fact that “we (really) care.” If something like this is the only thing going for a business, it is a commodity, not a brand!

  5. Hi Andrea and Geoff:

    Interesting remarks on the phrase “We’re never too busy…”

    Upon doing a google search on the phrase, you’ll notice that aside from one tech company, the rest are Realtors. This phrase is widely solicited by Brian Buffini, who heads a real estate coaching and training company and whose main purpose is to tout Referral Only business practices. Right or wrong, the idea is to differentiate between the other agents who undoubtedly are “busy” when you ask them, “how’s business,” thereby implying they’re too busy to handle your business and, if they did get your business, the service would be poor. Frankly, in the real estate industry nowadays, it’s probably used more to recognize who’s in the Buffini club more than anything else. They do give you stickers that are great for sealing your envelopes on your personal notes instead of licking ’em.

    Rick Dassler, Family Lender, “We treat your referrals like family.” :^)

  6. Even though I am shooting myself in the foot on this one with my business’s name being Innovative Business Golf Solutions, but the use of the word Innovative is being used WAY too much. Even though it is a very descriptive word which is why I chose it four years ago…today it has lost its meaning with the way businesses use the word innovative or innovation in every other sentence of their marketing piece.
    I know it is a challenge to say what others have not said for what it is your business is offering…but going on and on with the very vague statements does get tiring to read.

  7. You’re right, Duke- “innovative” is another term I hear a a lot. Maybe you could use that to your advantage with something like – “Some people say they’re innovative – but we’re here to SHOW you we’re innovative.” Just a thought.

  8. Pingback: The History of "We're Never Too Busy for Your Referrals" « Write Ideas Marketing

  9. I guess this becomes an issue when the perception does not meet the reality. Some words are right, but they can only be right if they have a solidity behind them. In the case of “innovative”, I agree, it is an oversold word now, but in some cases it is valid.

    Too many see the almighty dollar and their right to as much of it as possible with no bounds….even correctly selling their products or services. The world is a sales floor, everywhere you look is a salesperson telling you their product / service is better then the rest.

  10. I think it was a Verizon Wireless commercial where a bunch of co-workers were in a conference with a consultant who kept throwing out buzzwords ad nauseum…”you have to think outside the box…” and then turned around and misprounced paradigm. Meanwhile, to co-workers were shooting text messages to each other poking fun at the speaker with one-liners like “boxy-moron.”

    C’mon who is acutally going to say “we offer lousy customer service” and claim to be stale?

  11. It is very simple – much like doing any kind of programming – Marketing is one of those things where you continue to pitch the same thing that was popular and brought in business.

    Our slogan is that “We’re smarter” We say that and it makes our competition look stupid. Does that mean that they are? No. It means that we have a long road to travel and we are going to be smart about it.

    Another stupid thing that companies do small and big is “Restructure” if they were working smarter and allowing their business grow virally, they would allow the most productive piece of their business to grow, and allow the less profitable or dying piece of the business to die. Plain and simple – we are a generation of change – we embrace and live for it – don’t drum beat it. But the problem is that a large majority of your CEO’s are white haired Baby Boomers who do not have a clue.

    Like I tell my wife – pull over and let me drive. CEO’s – It may be time to pull the car over and let us drive a bit.

  12. I need help coming up with a catchy slogan or phrase for a bulk mailing I’d doing. I’m in Real Estate. I just recently switched companies. I want to let people know that not only I’ve moved but I’ve been very busy. Another Realtor in my previous office sent out postcards stating, “If you want something done” on the front of the post card with an arrow from left to right and then when you turned the card over it stated, “Give it to a busy person, 8 homes closed or pending in the last 45 days” with several other bullet points under it. Does anyone out there have any other suggestions. I don’t want to copy her idea but want to do something catchy. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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