Do You Really Want To Buy From A Hustler?

I am seeing the term “hustler” being used with increasing frequency over the last year. That brings a question to my mind every time I see it –

For me, it does not carry a positive connotation. It raises a hesitancy, a pause, a need to approach with caution.

Before some of you accuse me of not keeping up with the times, I looked up the term hustler in the Urban Dictionary to challenge my reaction and found these definitions:

“People who are forced to use their Brains to make it in this world. They outsmart the smart, cunning, and has streetsmarts. They know how to get money and is skilled at doing it to. Also they can be so sly that they can sell you stuff you don’t need.”

“A hustler is a person who works freelance for themselves to make fast money however they can. A hustler’s work is usually dishonest and/or illegal. A hustler’s work requires the sleight of hand and deceptive skill. A hustler is clever, cunning, smart and quick-witted. A hustler always wins.”

And for a more traditional definition of hustler I went to Dictionary.com and read this:

  1. An enterprising person determined to succeed; go-getter. 2. Slang. a person who employs fraudulent or unscrupulous methods to obtain money; swindler. 3. Informal. an expert gambler or game player who seeks out challengers, especially unsuspecting amateur ones, in order to win money from them: He earned his living as a pool hustler. 4. Slang. a prostitute. 5. a person who hustles.

I do not have the same hesitation when I read someone has “hustle”. I would like to think that over my career I have displayed hustle in my efforts.

It just gets me wondering about the words we use in our sales and marketing efforts. Our audience does have a reaction to what we say, write and share. It seems to me that the term hustler has more negative weight tied to it when applied to a sales or customer relationship than it is worth. I am suggesting that the words you choose to tie to you and your public efforts are worthy of deeper consideration than what we might normally give them.

I am sure there are other examples of terms that have strong negative or positive baggage tied to them. Is it worth using them when the emotions and thoughts they stimulate effect our reactions?

Love to hear your thoughts on this either below or on social media.

  • I like to think I’m a hustler, but not a “hustler.” I know – weird, right? I think the same principle can be applied to the term “closer.” I think it’s all about intention, yes?

    • Absolutely Jeff. Words have such powerful impact on those that are on the receiving end that it is important to think about the possible interpretations prior to using them. The challenge is that my “intention” when using a word or expression might not match the receivers experience, thus a mismatch between us both.

      Since I wrote this post I have been asking everyone I talk with to tell me the first thing that comes to mind when I refer to someone as a hustler. After 30 or so such requests, I can report that everyone responded with a negative lean. Dishonest, shady, criminal etc. were the first things that came to people’s mind. I don’t have the answers most of the time, but this topic has me reviewing the terms I use more deeply. Each of us will come to our own conclusions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jeff.

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