Years ago, when I wanted to “switch” from traditional business to a “job with meaning” and then as a consultant for social enterprises (see “About me”), I had a hard time communicating at first – my potential clients didn’t understand me, the terminology was too different. At that time, I would have liked a “dictionary” to do this translation work and make the terms of impact enterprises accessible to me. Which, on the other hand, would provide social enterprises with easily understandable explanations for the hard and cold-sounding business terminology.
Since I haven’t come across a lexicon of this kind yet, I have created one for you myself. It covers the topic of scaling (social and impact) business and impact from A-Z!

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | IK | L | N | O | P | S | T | U | V | W 


In classical rhetoric according to Aristotle, ethos denotes one of the three types of persuasion, namely that by the authority and credibility of the speaker (moral appeal). The other two are pathos (oratorical violence and emotional appeal) and logos (consequentialism and evidentialism).
In ethical sales, the focus is on the other person and the entire acquisition process is characterised by honesty, transparency, responsibility and integrity. Any manipulation is avoided, such as artificial scarcity, artificial time pressure, “charm pricing”, emotional pressure, getting yes’s through consistency, and much more.



The ABC analysis is a method for determining which customers, products and services are currently most important for a company’s turnover or also for its impact


Win someone for your good cause: Customers or partners or funders or investors or sponsors or participants etc.


More general than the term -> Sales: attracting customers or partners or funders or investors or sponsors or participants; from Latin, ad quaerere = to acquire.

Acquisition cycle, sales cycle

The time from first contact to completion (i.e. signature of a contract)

Acquisition for a Good Cause

The Social Enterprises’ acquisition process of customers, partners of other organiziations.

Active reference

A person who not only speaks positively about you and your organisation when asked, but is actively engaged to promote you, i.e. a very satisfied customer or partner.

Active listening

Genuine and empathic listening. Prevents misunderstandings: Reproduce what has been understood in your own words. Ask questions in case of doubt.


Attention – Interest – Desire – Action. 100-year-old formula, too simple and too rigid, does not take into account other important factors such as customer satisfaction or economic situation but still helpful.


B Corps

Certified B-companies are a new type of company that balance purpose and profit. They are required by law to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, customers, suppliers, the community and the environment

B2B Sales, B2B Sales

Abbreviation for business to business sales, sales from companies to companies.

B2C Sales, B2C Sales

Abbreviation for business to consumer sales, sales by companies directly to the end consumer.

B2G Sales, B2G Sales

Abbreviation for business to government sales, sales by companies to the public sector


Abbreviation for Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline – the 4 criteria that need to be determined quickly in the acquisition cycle in order to save time and money and prevent from frustration.


A crucial group within the social enterprise ecosystem are the beneficiaries, i.e. those whom the social enterprise is trying to help. Sometimes these are congruent with the social entrepreneur’s clients who pay for the product or service. Often they are not. This is why in a -> Social Business Canvas you will find the additional category “”.

Business Development

Business development actually means strategic market analysis and the measures taken to develop a market. In the impact business sector, however, the term is often mistakenly equated with the acquisition of new clients or projects or activities in an early phase of the acquisition cycle (see “cold calling”). Many social enterprises also use the term simply as a synonym for the terms sales / selling / distribution, as this sounds less “pushy”.


Call for Proposal

See -> Public Tender


A term from the field of stakeholder analysis; also called sponsor or mentor and describes a person who actively supports your project.


What is a changemaker? Term coined by Ashoka founder Bill Drayton to describe a person who actively engages and creates solutions for the common good and a better world.

Channel Sales

Describes the sale from the supplier via intermediaries/contractors.

Charm Pricing

Unethical, because this is psychological influence in pricing. For example, €9.99 suggests that something is cheap, because it is less than 10 Euros.


The moment of signing the contract, the last phase in the acquisition cycle.


In social business, co-creation refers to the method, process or result of a collaborative creation process involving several stakeholders from different sectors (public, private, social), whose joint projects generate both economic profit and a positive social or environmental impact. In other words, an added value for all participants!

Cold call

Initial approach of a potential customer or partner with whom no contact has yet been established; (not only by phone)

Commission, sales commission

A commission describes a percentage share of the (turnover/profit/value) of a successful contract conclusion.

Common Good Economy

“Common good economy” refers to an economic system built on values that promote the common good.

Constraint to act

Describes a situation in which a potential customer or partner or investor is forced to act. This compulsion to act may have arisen completely independently of us (e.g., new law, expiration of an existing contract), but may also be artificially caused by us. In this second case, it is a case of unethical manipulation during acquisition


Selling the customer different products or services in addition to those already purchased. Different from -> “Upselling”.

Customer acquisition

Refers to the process of acquiring new customers; used in online marketing, often in inbound marketing. But also used in Social Enterprise Sales Processes.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

This type of (cloud) software solution is used for (customer) or relationship management: it documents, for example, contact data, meeting notes, but also the forecast for a project. Providers of CRM solutions are, for example, Salesforce, Hubspot or the open source solution Sugar CRM.


Direct Sales

Describes the sale from the supplier directly to the customer without having to rely on other intermediaries/contractual partners.


On the one hand, a driver means a person who drives a project or a decision. On the other hand, a driver is also used to describe the original drive for a project or intention. Example: The driver for our decision to go online was the difficulty during the Corona crisis to meet our customers in person.



A Social business ecosystem is a dynamic structure of diverse, loosely coupled, social and economic actors. These form a network and interact through common technologies, languages and institutions to promote the same vision or tackle the same problem.

Elevator Pitch

Short value proposition describing the most concise and important advantages & their benefits in the time of a lift ride (between 30 seconds and 3 minutes).

Emotional pressure

Unethical behaviour of putting pressure on another person by exploiting the personal (relationship) level.


Empathy refers to the ability and willingness to recognise, understand and empathise with sensations, emotions, thoughts, motives and personality traits of another person. Very important in ethical sales, where the focus is always on the person. In ethical sales, the ability to understand one’s counterpart is crucial for successful and sustainable cooperation.

Ethical acquisition

Acquisition according to ethical principles. Which ones? See -> Ethical Sales

Ethical marketing

Tell the truth, don’t lie. Ensure transparency. Communicate clearly and do not withhold information. Do not build up artificial (time) pressure and do not create artificial scarcity. Do not use any other manipulation tricks. Collect data for the sole purpose of informing interested parties about relevant and useful topics and give them the opportunity to unsubscribe at any time. These are the main values in Ethical Marketing.

Ethical principles

In classical rhetoric according to Aristotle, ethos denotes one of the three types of persuasion, namely that through the authority and credibility of the speaker. Accordingly, the ethical principles in Sales focus on values such as honesty, professionalism, etc.

Ethical Sales

The person is more important than the sales deal. Tell the truth, don’t lie. Ensure transparency. Communicate clearly and do not withhold information. Take responsibility. Be professional and contribute to the continuous improvement of your industry. Keep explicit and implicit promises. Do not discriminate. Do not build up artificial (time) pressure or create artificial scarcity. Do not use any other manipulative tricks. Collect data for the sole purpose of informing interested parties about relevant and useful topics and give them the opportunity to unsubscribe at any time. Don’t think or talk badly about others. Be a real helper. These are the main Values in Ethical Sales.

Ethical Selling

See -> ethical sales

EU tenders

See Public Tenders. At European level, projects always require at least 2 project partners from 2 other countries.



Describes a specific -> persona in sales and acquisition with the following characteristics: relies on long-term relationships and invests time accordingly to create added value with existing customers or project partners again and again.


The feature-benefit scheme aims to optimally address the interests of the customer or partner when presenting a product or service.

Financing, Funding

Refers to the supply of capital to an economic entity so that it can pursue its goals.

Follow up

Refers to the activities after an appointment or conversation


Predicting the future (how likely is a YES to us, what is the (turnover)/project volume and at what time is the signature?). Serves not only for better planning, but also for prioritisation. For impact companies, an additional focus criteria here is the “impact scaling index”.

Four levels of communication

Old and still current model of the communication scientist Friedemann Schulz von Thun. According to this model from the 1970es, communication can be viewed on four levels: Factual content, self-revelation, relationship and appeal. Enormously important for all those who work in sales and acquisition, because it helps to better understand interlocutors and to avoid misunderstandings.

Four-ears model

Each piece of information can therefore be meant in four different ways by the sender and interpreted in four different ways by the receiver.



A gGmbH is a non-profit limited liability company. A company is always non-profit if it pursues a purpose oriented towards the common good.

Guerilla Marketing

Unconventional form of marketing that uses low-cost means to achieve maximum results of awareness and promotion. Unfortunately, the term is from the military field, yet for social start-ups it is a good way to gain attention from a specific target group.



Organisational theory in which authority and decision-making are distributed among self-organising teams rather than through a traditional management hierarchy. Important in Sales4Good, as more and more potential client and partner organisations are set up according to this organisational form and it is important to take this into account in the -> stakeholder analysis.


Describes a certain -> persona in sales and acquisition with the following characteristics: enjoys conquering new customers and partners, builds many new relationships quickly.


Impact Business

Company that creates a certain positive benefit/return for one of its stakeholders.

Impact Investing

Impact investments are financial investments that have a demonstrably positive impact on our society – and at the same time generate a financial return.

Impact logic

See -> Theory of Change

Impact Scaling Index

A metric on a scale of 1-10 to help assess the potential scaling of a project’s impact in the (sales) forecast.

Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is a methodology by which businesses attract customers by drawing attention to your business with relevant and helpful content, as well as offering tailored customer experiences. Whereas in outbound marketing customers are unsolicited and bothered with content they may not need or even want, inbound marketing builds connections as customers actively seek solutions to their problems.


An incentive motivates or encourages someone to do something. A reward or revenue share, a bonus, a gift. Can be used very unethically, but can also describe ethical and sustainable instruments. External motivation. Not needed and therefore the opposite of -> intrinsic motivation

indirect Sales

Describes the sale from the supplier via intermediaries / contractual partners to the end customer.

intrinsic motivation

intrinsic, adj. = from within, caused from within, of one’s own accord. Accordingly, one speaks of intrinsic motivation when a person does something of his or her own accord, out of his or her own inner conviction. No “incentive” needed here.

Investor acquisition

Searching for and attracting investors.



A Key Account Manager is responsible for the acquisition of new customers or partners who are of particular interest to the company.



A lead is a new contact from which a potential opportunity for cooperation can arise. Customer lead, partner lead, investor lead, etc.

Lead generation, Lead Development

When we talk about lead generation we refer to the creation of new contacts that could be interested in our Good Cause, for example through marketing measures, but also through PR measures or networking activities. Developing Leads means then to invest further time in (automated or personal) interaction to transfrom the potentially interested people in real business opportunities for us. Refers to potential customers, potential partners (partner lead) and others.



Two-way communication with the aim of reaching an agreement when one has both common and conflicting interests with the other side. There are many unethical tricks to spot in this process, but there are also principles of ethical negotiation with the aim that both negotiating partners benefit from the agreement in the long term avoiding any unfair, dirty and manipulating behaviour.

New Work

New Work is the term for a new understanding of work in times of globalisation and digitalisation. The central values of New Work are freedom, autonomy and participation in the community and decision-making.


Objection handling

Describes the attitude and the possibilities to deal with objections. There are many unethical manipulations here, but also many ethical ways to see and handle objections as opportunities.

Open questions

Open (w-) questions cannot be answered with a yes or no. Who, what, how, when, why, where, which. Very good to get information.


Means an opportunity, a business opportunity, the chance to conclude a partner or investor contract. Differs from a simple -> lead through already pre-qualified key data, see -> BANT

Outbound marketing

In outbound marketing, companies address customers directly. The advertising company addresses the target group with its advertising message.


Participant acquisition

Recruiting participants for a course, programme or movement


Here, business partners and co-creation partners are meant: organisations with which one works together to achieve an economic and social goal. In the impact and social business environment, customers are also often referred to as partners, because one wants to emphasise the common goal and not the economic benefit.

Partner acquisition

Refers to the process of acquiring new partners


Refers to the indirect sales process, i.e. sales to end customers via third parties (i.e. partner organisations).

Persona, personas or personae (pl)

Personas (lat. mask) are models that characterise the features of people in a target group. Personas have goals and behaviours, preferences, expectations and values. A persona is therefore a prototype and helps to make assumptions.

Pick-a-Yes, getting to yes

Describes on the one hand the unethical manipulative procedure in conversation with closed questions, but on the other hand also the moment of “inner buying” that can be seen during the ethical sales process.

Plan B

Important in the negotiation phase: Your best alternative to concluding a contract.

Proposal preparation

The phase in which you create an individual offer or an individual cooperation proposal. SocEnts have an impact story to tell, here is one of the right moments.

Public Tender, Tender

public announcement of open contracts with an invitation to interested companies to submit a suitable bid. This must be done by all public contracting authorities above a certain investment volume, as well as by private companies (here the threshold is higher).


Purpose here refers to the meaning and purpose of a company, but also to the meaning and purpose of a specific goal. One also speaks of the “why” or the “mission”.



More specific than the term acquisition: Generating orders, the sale, the sales process.


Ethical Sales process for Social and Impact Business, where not the profit but the impact is in our hearts while revenue remains important to finance our impact. I have shaped an implementation program especially to support that, as well as other offerings.

Scaling and scaling

In contrast to linear growth, for which a social enterprise adds new resources (capital, people or technology) to increase turnover or impact, scaling is when turnover or impact increases without a significant increase in resources.


The process of acquiring customers; see also -> Sales


The term is an abbreviation from the American, and the letters “smart” stand for: “specific, measurable, accepted, realistic and time-bound”.

Social Business Model, Social Business Canvas

Refers to a business model for a company whose focus is on economic success, but whose profits are not distributed, but at least 50 per cent reinvested in the social enterprise and its social goals. The goal of counteracting a social or ecological problem in our world is the top priority. The social business model therefore takes into account not only customers, but also its -> beneficiaries and the social or ecological impact. The Social Business Model Canvas is the way of displaying your model in a structured way on one page.

Social enterprise

A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to make a positive difference for social benefit. The social impact is funded wholly or partly by reinvesting profits made by the organization to create social capital. Profits are not kept by owners or participants. This is one defintion, there are also others that slighly differ. See also -> Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneur, Social Entrepreneur

Founder of a ->social enterprise.

Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship is an entrepreneurial activity that aims to work innovatively, pragmatically and in the long term for the solution of social problems or more generally: for a substantial, positive change in a society (for so-called meta-economic overall goals). An entrepreneur who leads such an activity is called a social entrepreneur. Areas in which a social entrepreneur engages are, for example, education, environmental protection, job creation for people with disabilities, poverty alleviation or human rights. The idea of profit is in the background for social entrepreneurs, which is why many of these entrepreneurs are organised in non-profit organisations, manage or support other legal forms.

Social Impact Funding

Financing social enterprises (through loans, crowdfunding, etc)

Social Impact Investing

Instead of investing with the pure intention of increasing assets, social impact investing invests money in order to achieve a specific social impact. When investing money, care is taken to invest in a company or institution that pursues social, ethical or ecological goals.

Social Impact Model

See -> Social Business Model

Social intrapreneur

A person who works in a for-profit company or administration and implements his or her own ideas within it in an entrepreneurial way that creates social and economic added value at the same time.

Solution Sales, Solution Selling

Solution selling is suitable for products that need to be explained and therefore very well suited for social enterprises and impact business. The acquisition process here has a problem-solving (rather than product-oriented) approach.

Sponsor acquisition

The process of attracting sponsors


A stakeholder is a person with a certain interest (a “stake”) in a cause. Could be a decision maker or just a person that is afflicted by the problem that needs to be solved or the person who will have to do the work after a decision has been taken. in a braoder sense stakeholders are all persons, groups or institutions that are directly or indirectly affected by the activities of a social enterprise or that have any interest in these activities.

Stakeholder analysis

The stakeholder analysis identifies the most important -> stakeholders for a project or development, their goals, motives and attitudes.

System Change

In a system change, the participants or roles, the rules, the resources or the outcomes and goals of a system (for example the health system) or a sub-system (for example the “system of free flu vaccinations in South-Wales”) are permanently changed. System-changing solutions are usually developed by social enterprises that focus on analysing the root causes of the problems and form a network for systemic intervention.


Target group

Group of people (with comparable characteristics) who are to be approached specifically about something, reached with something or for whom something is to be done. In the latter case, one also speaks of -> beneficiaries.

Targets, Target achievement

Instrument for motivating sales staff through predefined targets, for example based on turnover to be achieved or a certain number of contracts. In Impact Business sometimes based on Impact Measuring Index.

Theory of Change

Basis for every social enterprise and impact business: relates the impact goals of a project or an organisation to the resources used and the services provided. How will our contribution impact and change the world?

Time pressure

Unethical behaviour of putting pressure on another person by exploiting the time factor. (“This offer is only valid until…”).

Transactional Sales

A transactional sale is a simple, short-term sale where the customer already knows what they need, so little, if any, product knowledge is required on the sales side. Typically, these are product-based rather than service-based. The buying criteria usually depends on price or ease of procurement. Mostly in the B2C sector. Not very common in Social Business, as here every product comes with the Story of the Social Enterprise behind.


Unique selling proposition

It is the qualities or combination of qualities that makes you unique when compared to alternatives.


Selling the customer more of the same product/service (more days, larger quantities, etc).


Value Proposition

The value you promise to your customers or partners or investors or sponsors or funders. What indivdual value does your solution bring to them? What help do you offer for which of their tasks?


Warm acquisition

While -> cold calling is about the initial approach to new customers, warm calling aims to deepen existing business relationships.