Oh, no: another request from the C-suite to increase sales with a limited budget. You have a great team of sales people with good business acumen. You can’t spend more on a marketing campaign. What should you do? Here is an idea for a low-level investment that could really pay off: a workshop on reader-centered sales writing!
Improving the writing skills of your sales force may not be the most obvious way to boost current revenue, but in our experience, it is one of the best things you can do for sales.
Why sales writing?
As a sales or marketing executive, your job is to stand out in a noisy market, convincing prospects and customers that your product is the best choice and you are easy to work with.
Poorly organized and sloppy writing will not convince potential customers of anything (except perhaps to avoid your company like the plague). Make no mistake: we build (or lose!) trust and relationships through our writing. When you spend time and effort on a sales proposal or letter, you come across as trustworthy and dedicated—someone people want to do business with.
Ready for the secrets?
So how do you win sales using the written word? It is all about following a few easy principles.
Secret one: Plan your writing
It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Yet so many of us fail to do it! Planning your writing helps you think about your goals and those of your audience. Start by reviewing what you know of your readers’ needs. Understanding your clients’ business is key to winning sales.
Secret two: Use a clear and engaging subject line
Many sales letters’ headlines appear to be competing for the annual how-boring-can-a-title-possibly-be award. Others are trying for the prize of most generic or too-cheesy-for-words. You have seen them. And they have seen the bottom of your trash folder or recycling bin.
Get creative with your subject lines! How do you best catch your readers’ attention? Capture the gist of your message in the headline. Don’t use generic headlines such as “Product update” or “New product launch.” Instead, opt for something like:
How XYZ Inc. increases the efficiency of your CRM system by 25%!
What you gain from the new Pluton model
Secret three: Focus on the customer or prospect
Offer your readers the one or two things they really need that you are best at delivering. Droning on about the benefits and features of your company and product will not show prospects that you can address their specific needs. Show your readers how you can help solve their problems using the “you attitude”—address them in a personable way and prove that you understand them.
Remember, you are trying to build a relationship with a customer, and people want to do business with people that they like. A warm, engaging writing style that puts the reader front and center is likely to get you there.
Secret four: Structure your writing
Can you imagine reading a newspaper without headlines and sub-headlines? It would be impossible, right? So do your readers a favor by including lots of compelling sub-headings that capture the essence of each paragraph. This gives them a sense of the overall message and guides them to the sections they are interested in.
Last but not least: close your document with an action step. What do you want your readers to do? After all, you have a specific goal in mind.
Secret five: Proofread your writing
Want to lose your credibility fast? When asking for someone’s time, misspell the word “calendar” and leave some words out. Use a cryptic headline and get your client’s name wrong.
Think about it! What message are you sending? You are saying: “This was not important enough for me to proofread.” Or, essentially: “You are not worth my time.” Is that the attitude you want to convey to clients? Spend a couple of minutes on checking your documents instead of risking business relationships!
The bottom line: writing can make or break your business dealings and your personal brand, too. Investing in sales writing training can have a tremendous impact on your customer relationships and future sales.
Visit our website at www.bettercom.com to find out more. Like that clear action step at the end? We practice what we preach!