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[B2B Sales Humor] The Top 100 Overused Business Clichés


Numbers on the side of a workshopI overheard a colleague recently on the phone, speaking with a prospect.  He must've used the phrase, "At the end of the day..." at least four times in the course of five minutes.  Now I find that every time I hear the cliché, it grates on me. I then walk through our call center, and hear numerous being used daily. We have over 1000 conversations a week cold calling for our customers. As a sales and marketing outsourcing organization, all we talk to is business level decision makers. To my surprise, our prospects return with their own clichés. Our nemesis are, "not in the budget", "Somewhere down the line" and "I'm not the one". Oh Joy! And then I hear, "Let's keep in touch" or "Can I reach out in a bit" instead of, "what options have you considered", "so ,what's in place is workin well" or "help me understand your role".

Sales and marketing people are a fickle bunch, to be sure.  I'm positive that you have phrases you hear that drive you up a wall. 

You know what's funny though?  Occasionally, there's a new one. But we all essentially know the same lexicon.  In one way or another, we interface with people often - clients, prospects, employees, and bosses.  Through the course of these thousands of interactions, we tend to hear the same clichés over and over. 

So I perused the internet for overused business clichés and ran across this list of phrases.  As I scanned the list, I chuckled a bit because I'd come across ones I use a hundred times a day, and others that just drive me up a wall (for whatever reason).  Here's the top 100 overused business clichés.  Maybe you'll get a chuckle too.  (Comment if you have one we missed.)

  1. Thinking outside of the box
  2. win-win situation
  3. Giving 110%
  4. Best Practices
  5. Synergy
  6. Paradigm Shift
  7. Low-hanging fruit
  8. Going forward
  9. Push the envelope
  10. Web 2.0
  11. Value-added proposition
  12. The 80%-20% rule
  13. Maximize customer satisfaction
  14. core competency
  15. A leading provider of...
  16. Let's take this off-line
  17. Spending more time with my family
  18. Best of Breed
  19. Take it to the Next Level
  20. Drop the ball
  21. Bring our 'A' game . . . 
  22. seamless integration
  23. Scalable
  24. at the end of the day....
  25. Brings a lot of value to the table
  26. It is what it is
  27. Robust
  28. Let's hit the ground running.
  29. 24/7
  30. Drinking Kool-Aid
  31. Maximize leverage
  32. Eco-anything
  33. Client-Centered
  34. touch base
  35. Change Agent
  36. In Today's Highly Competitive Marketplace ...
  37. The bottom line
  38. Manage expectations
  39. offline
  40. Actionable
  41. Multi task
  42. Impactful
  43. let's be proactive here people
  44. ballpark figure
  45. 800 pound gorilla
  46. Strategic...
  47. win-win
  48. Marketing-driven
  49. Improve ROI
  50. Next Generation
  51. The iPod of ___insert industry___
  52. Six Sigma
  53. circle back
  54. Out-Of-Pocket
  55. Putting lipstick on a pig
  56. Going from good to great
  57. Teamwork
  58. Has legs and can go really far...
  59. I don't have the bandwidth
  60. Let's get granular
  61. Rightsizing
  62. Today, more than ever...
  63. Put a stake in the ground
  64. Focused on ... (i.e. results)
  65. viral
  66. Architect (used as a verb)
  67. step up to the plate
  68. Faster, Cheaper, Better
  69. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater
  70. Now More Than Ever
  71. Downsizing
  72. Industry Standard
  73. Gotta raise the bar
  74. net-net
  75. User-experience
  76. integrated approach
  77. Do no evil
  78. Perfect storm
  79. The customer is always right
  80. The Elephant in the room (or the corner)
  81. Resonate
  82. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians
  83. Transparency
  84. A Plus for all Stakeholders
  85. In the _____ space
  86. Benchmark
  87. User-Focused
  88. Industry Leader
  89. From a _____ standpoint
  90. Thought Leader
  91. Team player
  92. game changer
  93. Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes
  94. Moving up the value chain
  95. Boots on the ground
  96. the scenery only changes for the lead dog
  97. ________ on steroids
  98. Cast a wider net
  99. I'm not throwing him under the bus, but...
  100. SEO (to describe anything on the internet)

    Wow!  I sure do use a bunch of those.  Wouldn't other businesspeople find it weird if I DIDN'T?


    Idiom for idiots: "Soup to nuts"
    Posted @ Thursday, November 11, 2010 4:45 PM by Mike
    My new least favorite: "That's right in our wheel house."
    Posted @ Friday, November 12, 2010 6:38 AM by Sandy
    Posted @ Monday, November 15, 2010 10:04 PM by @Dez_Merrow
    These are all God awful...I try not to use any of them.
    Posted @ Friday, April 01, 2011 8:52 AM by Don
    "Skin in the game" - ugh. "Sort of" and "kind of" aren't cliches, but every description lately seems to be liberally laced with these phrases. Equivocate much?
    Posted @ Monday, April 11, 2011 6:04 AM by James
    Love this list. here's two I run across: 
    Drill Down
    Posted @ Thursday, May 26, 2011 6:39 PM by Matt Sopiars
    Apples to apples
    Posted @ Thursday, August 18, 2011 9:52 AM by Steve
    that's billion ... with a B! - like I might have spelled it with a Q?! I suppose now, it's trillion ... with a T!
    Posted @ Friday, September 16, 2011 5:28 PM by Roc
    I teed it up for you!
    Posted @ Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:06 PM by
    As needed...
    Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 3:58 PM by Joe Nelson
    "You're fired"
    Posted @ Tuesday, April 10, 2012 11:49 PM by Sam
    "draw a line in the sand."
    Posted @ Wednesday, April 11, 2012 2:24 PM by Richard Fox
    You appear to have "win-win" on the list twice. It's one of my bugbear phrases.
    Posted @ Thursday, April 19, 2012 5:34 AM by Philip Wattis
    I use each and every one every day and I LOVE IT!
    Posted @ Monday, May 28, 2012 12:34 AM by Bob
    How about "We're not trying to boil the ocean here..."
    Posted @ Friday, June 15, 2012 2:40 PM by Marti
    How 'bout, "Spot on". Most use it in biz settings. I use it when refering to my tie.
    Posted @ Wednesday, June 20, 2012 4:13 PM by Randy
    Cliches - Yes some bad some good!! - but when they evoke an immediate picture for the listener that triggers an emotion and bingo you have a connection. So useful - yes definitely :-)  
    P.S Love the list
    Posted @ Wednesday, July 04, 2012 10:47 PM by Helen
    The one that drives me nuts is "at the end of the day."
    Posted @ Thursday, August 09, 2012 9:12 PM by Dave
    This is where the rubber meets the road for me.
    Posted @ Monday, November 12, 2012 10:50 AM by Managerspeak
    Whats your "drop-dead date"? This one always kills me....
    Posted @ Sunday, November 25, 2012 5:14 AM by Chris
    "apples and oranges"
    Posted @ Tuesday, March 26, 2013 10:36 AM by mike
    Value chain 
    Posted @ Friday, April 26, 2013 7:08 AM by Three
    deep recovery
    Posted @ Thursday, May 02, 2013 7:19 PM by New Century Man
    What about "brainstorming", "blue sky thinking", and "parking that 'til later so we don't waste any more fuel on it"?
    Posted @ Thursday, June 13, 2013 10:08 AM by Bob Walters
    I'm sick to death of "tighten the belt." I believe everyone reaches a "point of no return" on that one. 
    Posted @ Saturday, June 29, 2013 12:53 PM by nancy
    Great list! They are all no brainers. :^D 
    Posted @ Wednesday, July 24, 2013 11:56 AM by Theresa
    I wanted to "reach out" to you (uh oh, a salesman)  
    Send a message 
    The ______ "piece"
    Posted @ Saturday, August 03, 2013 9:27 PM by Steve brown
    "When an idea is wanting, a word can always be found to take its place" - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German dramatist, novelist, poet, & scientist (1749 - 1832) 
    These words become "overused" because people often use them superficially in place of ideas that are lacking.
    Posted @ Monday, August 26, 2013 12:52 AM by Darshi
    "Boots on the ground"
    Posted @ Wednesday, September 04, 2013 2:30 AM by lokay5
    Isn't it funny that 'Partner' or 'Partnership' didn't make the list... perhaps something to do with the host's trading name??? 
    Posted @ Wednesday, September 11, 2013 9:30 AM by Rob
    Let's get the ball rolling
    Posted @ Wednesday, September 11, 2013 2:21 PM by Ezride
    In and of itself 
    I, myself 
    it's the Cadillac of... 
    Just as an F-Y-I....
    Posted @ Tuesday, September 17, 2013 4:37 PM by Alex
    "uber" ANYthing ! 
    Give it a rest already! Geeesus!
    Posted @ Monday, September 23, 2013 11:58 PM by lokay5
    Add "this being said" to your list
    Posted @ Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:28 AM by W. Kidder
    "what does success look like?" 
    "what are the KPIs?" 
    make me cringe because usually means we have to justify our work and "map it" to revenue, in dollars.
    Posted @ Thursday, November 21, 2013 2:18 PM by Janice
    End of the day 
    Posted @ Sunday, December 15, 2013 1:14 PM by Lee Hollingsworth
    ok, I cant believe that no one has talked about the "Reach out" ... worst saying ever ... cant do anything but laugh when everyone is reaching out to everyone... terrible, but hilarious
    Posted @ Wednesday, January 22, 2014 2:42 PM by g livings
    You used one in the introductory paragraph viz: "interface". I would also add: "reach out to ---- " and in the case of grief: "Our hearts go out to X". This is a favorite of politicians and is a sure way to express indifference.
    Posted @ Sunday, February 02, 2014 7:49 AM by C Moller
    I second "monetize" and add "make it our mission"
    Posted @ Thursday, March 13, 2014 12:42 PM by C. White
    A funny list. It ticks all the boxes and does what ti says on the tin. 
    Is there any way to ban this senseless jargon and imprison anyone who indulges themselves using this lazy way of expressing themselves.
    Posted @ Friday, March 21, 2014 5:45 AM by John Smith
    "What's the Delta and how long is the Runway?" 
    "Cut & paste friendly" 
    "Backside of the napkin information" 
    Sickening Stuff
    Posted @ Monday, April 07, 2014 7:02 PM by Boomeister
    "Let's get all the wood behind one arrowhead."
    Posted @ Wednesday, April 23, 2014 12:39 PM by SSR
    Deck - evidently saying "presentation," or "Powerpoint" is frowned upon.
    Posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:16 PM by Lance
    "Gains altitude" has apparently replaced "gains traction".
    Posted @ Wednesday, August 27, 2014 8:54 PM by Lou Kemia
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