I Hope You Don't Ship 'Units'

Here’s a notable recent encounter I had with a tech chief exec.

In private and full of good humour, they ran through a mini-presentation for an off-site Sales conference.

The company had a primary product line.

Sales were doing well.

As part of their address they lauded this evident rise (numbers changed by me here);

…and I can announce we’ve gone from 45,000 units to now over 100,000 units

Cue rapturous applause and whooping.

I suggested we re-sculpt this key statement.

First, as my post urging colourful synonyms for increase/decrease shows, “we’ve gone” can shine way more brightly.

Second, the label “units” is the spine-curdling sound of fingernails screeching down a blackboard.

Your product is never a unit.

It has a personality. A joy-filled use. An impact. A return. A client wish to re-use.

Unit is the language of a detached bean counter. Of someone with neither interest nor investment in its performance. It displays an absence of any genuine affinity, emotion or affection for it or its customer’s well-being.

So what to replace this ugly term with?

You can go a touch over the top here.

In this case, we joked about tags such as “life saver”, “bubble of goodness”, and “magic boxes”.

Yet you can easily go halfway between these styles and the generic, bland technical category description of what you’re selling.

Find that ideal ground, and conversationally plaster it across the minds of your salesforce. And by osmosis, your target market.

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