When entering the amazing, challenging, and fulfilling world of sales, most sales professionals don't think very much about their writing abilities. Their goal is to learn the ropes, build their pipeline and start closing deals; not impressing customers with their grammar and vocabulary!
However, whether you notice it or not, you are writing all day, every day. From e-mail and text communications with customers, to LinkedIn messages and PowerPoint presentations, your writing abilities are on display at all times - and they can reflect positively or negatively on you as a professional when you're building client partnerships.
One skill that most top sales professionals possess is the ability to write clearly, concisely, and even creatively when necessary. Excellent written communication is a critical skill for driving sales, conveying your message and earning new business because polished communication pieces - whether they are full-scale presentations or simple e-mail memos - show potential customers that they are in good hands with a trustworthy and respectable professional.
If you're not a natural-born writer, what can you do to bring your writing to the next level and drive more sales? Here are some tips that you can put into action to improve your writing today:
Pay Attention to Details
Prospects and customers field countless e-mails every day from people who want their attention. If you're one of them, you only have one chance to make a good first impression before they click on to the next message. There are few things that look as unprofessional at first glance than a misspelled name or an obvious grammatical error.
You likely already use some form of spell-check in most of your digital communications, but be sure to take an extra minute to scan your messages for something it may have missed, such as a "you're" where you really meant "your." If grammar isn't your strong suit, try running your messages through an online checker like Grammarly before you hit the "send" button!
Clean Up Your Copy & Paste
In an ideal world, you could write all of your content from scratch. In the real world, you don't have time to do that - and that's okay! You probably have to use the copy and paste function on a regular basis in your e-mails, or to move data from one document to another quickly.
While this function is immensely helpful for saving time and preserving the accuracy of source material, it can sometimes leave e-mails and documents looking a bit disheveled. When you take advantage of the copy and paste function, be sure to give your finished product an extra glance; make sure that the fonts, colors, line spacing, and indentation are consistent throughout your communication.
Take Advantage of Formatting Tools
When you're delivering a pitch or presentation over the phone or in person, you have the advantage of your voice, inflection, and verbal and non-verbal cues to get your point across effectively. In e-mails, it is harder to make sure that your recipient understands your intended meaning, and digital miscommunication is often the result.
Written communications, however, have the distinct advantage of allowing you to visually convey your message by taking advantage of formatting tools like paragraphs, line spaces, color changes, font choices, and text effects like underline, bold, and italics. Use these tools unique to digital writing to deliver a clear, meaningful message.
Write The Way You Talk
The purpose of written business communication is not to show off your expansive vocabulary with flourishing prose - it's to conduct business. Don't pad your e-mails with words that you would never actually say out loud in a business setting just because you think they sound impressive.
Similarly, your writing can often be tightened up by reading through it and eliminating unnecessary words. Your customers are busy people too, and probably want you to get to the point! (Tip: Using Twitter is a great way to practice brevity!)
Nix the Clichés
Certain words or phrases can be red flags for prospects and spam filters alike because of their association with sales pitches. Avoid using sales clichés like "no obligation" or "satisfaction guaranteed". Such phrases are so common that they have lost most credibility and meaning, and do not help you build trust with your prospects. Conveying the same information in a more conversational way will help you appear more genuine.
Clichés can also creep into your communications in the form of buzzwords such as “pioneering,” “disruptive,” and “streamlining.” While those terms may be useful in some settings, in communications with a prospect they can be off-putting and should be avoided.
Your written communications can tell your prospects and customers a lot about you and your business before you ever speak with them on the phone or meet them face-to-face. Investing some extra time in double checking and editing your writing is an effective and simple way to make a great impression and drive more sales!