If I had only one bit of advice to offer the budding Sales Professional, it would be: Learn everything you can about the written word. Now, I’m not talking about a cursory knowledge here. I’m talking about nothing short of an expert level proficiency. Why? Because in Sales, you do it a lot!
Day-in and day-out, your grip on the English language is absolutely vital to your success. In Sales, if you can’t write effectively, you won’t sell. It’s that simple.
You may be asking me: “Why do I need to be at an expert level? Can’t I just have a good working knowledge and still be successful?” Well, to be blunt, if you want to be a mediocre “Sales Person” then yes, you are right. You CAN just settle for a good working knowledge of writing. But if you want to be a successful, cutting edge “Sales Professional”, then you need to be an expert. Why would you be reading this post if you were satisfied with being average? I don’t think you would be.
If you are a Sales Professional within a large organization, you (at the very least) write emails to clients, prospects, and other professionals within your organization. What kind of impact do you think these emails have on your overall success? I would venture to say that they are make or break for you. Would buy from this guy?
I can’t say that I would be feeling very good about meeting with him next Tuesday. Is this just me being elitist? Not at all. However, I am a professional. I prefer to do business with professionals. Professionals do NOT write like this. I am not the only one that thinks this way, and if you think your prospects don’t get influenced by “little” things like grammar and spelling (not to mention creative word use and overall cohesion) then you are kidding yourself.
On the other hand, would you buy from this guy?
Now this is a guy that has my attention next Tuesday! His email is grammatically correct and he made it about me and MY training needs and not about his widgets.
See what a difference a little professionalism makes?
Of course, what if you aren’t a Sales Professional within a large organization? What if you are a small business owner with few (if any) employees at all? Then your need for expert level writing increases 100 fold. In addition to emails and proposals, you may find yourself involved in writing blog posts, press releases, sales copy, thank you cards, website copy, video scripts, and a million other things to get prospects interested in your solutions.
How Do I Improve My Writing Skills?
Have I convinced you yet? Good. Now the tough part. How do you take your writing to the next level?
- Take a writing course. This can be a class in creative writing, business writing, technical writing, or even just English 101. You can find excellent courses online as well as locally at community colleges and even private tutors.
- Study good copy. Find examples of expert level content and study it. What makes it so effective? How can you incorporate some of the ideas and concepts into YOUR writing? There is nothing wrong with adapting a great letter to your business model and industry. Just be sure that you are adapting it and not stealing it. Make it unique and personal or it will sound like a rehashed sales pitch.
- Read about writing. Get some great books about all different aspects of writing. Then, actually read them. Make notes. Use the concepts. Why re-invent the wheel, right? There are a ton of great writing advice out there in books as well as online. Subscribe to a writing blog or two and try to find a way to use what you learn.
- Practice writing. The more you write, the better you will get at it. Ok, scratch that. What I should say is: The more you write well, the better you get at it. Write, write, write. Practice what you learn. A paragraph of great writing is better than a book of trash.
- Find your voice and work on perfecting it. One thing you will need (especially if you are writing blog posts, articles, or sales copy) is to find your “writing voice” and work on perfecting it. Your writing voice will represent you and you brand and should be distinctive and consistent. You certainly don’t want your writing to all be the same, but it should all at least “sound” like it was written by the same person with a consistent use of techniques, humor, and phrasing.
Hopefully, I have convinced you that writing is an important (vital) skill for every Sales Professional. Good writing can engage and excite a customer. Bad writing can turn off a customer and will cost you sales.
I would like to leave you with one of my favorite grammar jokes:
What do YOU think about the importance of writing in professional sales? Did I overstate? Understate? Let me know in the comments below. See you next week with Secret #4!
Bill Price is one of the founders and COO of Business Begins Here LLC. He has over 16+ years of experience in Business Management, e-Commerce, Customer Service, and Project Management across multiple industries. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurs start and grow their dream businesses. In his spare time he likes to learn languages, watch sports, and dream big dreams.