The language used by high-level business managers and executives is usually quite different than the language used in IT, R&D, or out on the shop floor. To be effective selling to all the different people involved in a complex buying process, we have to become multi-lingual. In my workshops, I often invite an executive from my client’s organization to say a few words and answer questions from the participants.One CFO put it best when he told his sales team, “When you meet with senior executives, you have to explain what our solutions can do for them in terms they can understand. I sometimes attend meetings with salespeople who are trying to sell to us. If they just assume that I understand all the technical lingo and acronyms they throw around, I start looking for a graceful way to leave. If all they talk about are the features and functions of their products, it’s a total waste of my time.”If you wanted to learn to speak French, you could start by reading a book or listening to a tape or a CD. But if you really wanted to become fluent, you would need to get around people who speak French. The only way to become fluent in the language of business is to immerse yourself into the culture and the environment.One could hardly be considered credible and competent as a medical advisor or a law consultant if they were not fluent in the terminology of medicine or law. Business too, has a language all its own, and each vertical industry has its own dialect. You don’t have to become a CPA to be able to sell business results, but you will need to be able to converse with executives and have meaningful discussions in their language. This language is not only dollars and cents. It includes terms, measures, and metrics such as faster time to market, greater competitive advantage, better return on assets, etc.The best place to start learning the language is to start reading the things executives read. The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Fortune, and Forbes are all great places to start. There may also be trade journals or other publications that are specific to the industry or market your customer competes in that could be a great resource.To learn the specific vocabulary of your target prospect, read their annual report or their Form 10-K which all publicly-traded companies are required to submit to the SEC. Most companies make these readily available on their website. You will find these materials filled with financial reports that can be a little overwhelming at first. But learning to read and understand these kinds of documents is an important part of becoming effective in selling at the executive level.If you want to demonstrate the credibility and competence to talk to senior executives about their business problems – and if you want to be perceived as a consultant who can help them solve those problems (as opposed to just a salesperson) – decide to further develop your business acumen. Become conversant if not downright eloquent in the language of business.