Your best sales communication can come through effective written communications, either in email, in a document, a brochure or webpage copy. In Ireland and the UK, more and more business is being conducted via email and in written communications of one form or another. While it’s true that writing and speaking on the phone are different forms of communication, the fact remains that either one is equally affected by your state of mind at the moment you are either speaking or writing copy.
As simple as it may sound, change your mood and your writing can quickly and easily go from a boring diatribe that goes on and on to copy that’s more exciting and engaging for your reader or the person you may want to relate to or influnce. Good sales written communication can have emotional impact and most importantly, it can advance or close a sale! When you speak on the phone and you’re in a sombre, or indifferent kind of mood, what do you sound like? You probably don’t sound very excited and energy of course transfers itself, like it or not ! So would it make sense then that if you were to sit down and write in a less than enthusiastic mood, your copy might not be too exciting?
While it’s true that writing and speaking on the phone are different forms of communication, the fact remains that either one is equally affected by your state of mind at the moment you are either speaking or writing copy.
So how do you put yourself into a more composed, energetic and positive state of mind before writing? Well, there’s no clinical answer to that question. What makes you enthusiastic or optimistic ? What REALLY excites you? Is it a favourite song? Is it going for a walk in a nice place ? How about a combination of both ? Find whatever it is that really gets you into the right energy and mood for writing and use it to get you up and going !
You see, it may all sound a little peculiar, but in order to be able to write with enthusiasm and energy, you’ve got to first feel that that enthusiasm and energy in your body! I am sure you have heard people referred to as a ‘tonic’. Well usually, it’s the energy and the vibe they give out. To get into the right frame of mind, you’ve got to get up and do something, get excited and create all kinds of energy in your body and connect with your reader, at their level of interest.
You can try it now. Put on songs on the radio or a favourite CD. Do whatever you’d do to enjoy it and take it to a level that gets your energy up. Or go for the walk now, before you sit down to write. It is worthwhile time invested, if the writing is going to potentially lead to business. You can make up the desk hours later.
Now, sit back at your computer, laptop or IPad or whatever you’re writing with. But don’t sit down and slump back into your seat!! Sit up straight. Sit on the edge of your seat! Just as you would if you were intensely involved in a something very important–because your copy and content is just that, very important !
Now, picture yourself staring straight at your prospect. What would you say to them? How would you say it? Would you be passive or would you be excited about your product or what you are proposing? Can you engage them? Begin typing this stuff as fast as you can with energy, enthusiasm and emotion, and back it up if you need to with evidence !
Don’t stop for at least 15 minutes!! Even when you hit a point where you don’t know what else to say, pretend you do and keep going!! This is so important because your best material comes out AFTER you have exhausted what you at first may have thought was your best stuff!!
Now, take a deep breath. Sit back and print out what you have just typed. Take your hard copy/writing (never try reading from your computer screen, you’ll miss hundreds of mistakes!). Stand up and if you are ok with it and can be on your own, read your copy OUT LOUD! That’s right, read it out loud as if you were delivering a speech!
Review and correct your copy until it reads as smooth as speaking. You’ve just done it. You’ve created copy that has emotion, passion, and most of all excitement!
There are also a few more conventional strategies you can use to improve the impact of your written communication:
1. Target your writing
It is essential to have a clear idea of who your reader is. You should know why he or she is going to be reading your piece, where and when they will be reading it, and what they will want to get out of it. Knowing this, and knowing what information you want to convey allows you to decide an aim for the content or article or proposal. You should focus all decisions on content, structure, style and presentation on meeting this aim.
2. Preparing an outline
Once you have decided the aim of the article, you are ready to prepare an outline. This allows you to start to organise the information in an article into a coherent structure. If you start writing without an outline you are in danger of producing a disorganised, chaotic mess that confuses your reader and fails to make the desired connections in his or her mind.
An effective way of producing an outline is to open up a Word Processor document and to type in the facts that you have decided to include. You can then cut and paste these notes into related groups, and order these groups in a way that supports your argument.
Once you have selected information and organised a structure, prepare an outline of the introduction and summary. The shape of these should be obvious from the structure you have given your information. The introduction should help the reader to prepare an overall structure into which the information in the article can be fitted. The summary should organise the facts in the middle of the article into a coherent whole.
3. Write, write, write!
When you have prepared your outline, it is time to start writing! The easiest way of doing this is just to let the words and ideas flow. Move quickly through the piece without editing or reviewing it. This will help to keep your creativity flowing without it being crippled by self-criticism. Only when you have finished a section should you review it. At this stage you may decide to reorganise it, edit it, change it around, and add or delete information. As you review it you should check that what you have written meets the aim you set and gives the reader the information they want.
4. Use appropriate Style
The style of the article should be completely focused on the reader’s needs. Language used should be pitched at the appropriate level for the reader. People generally prefer information presented in short sentences with little or no jargon. You may be tempted to write in a way that you think will impress your readers, using long words and complex sentences. All this shows is that you are not able to communicate ideas clearly and simply. It is likely that material written like this will not be read at all. Consider using the DiSC model (details in this blog) to understand the motives and deepen the understanding of your target reader.
If you need to use technical language that may not be understood, include a glossary. Remember that you have responsibility for the clarity, effectiveness and focus of your communication. Beyond this, style will emerge on its own without you needing to worry about it.
•If you want to write high-impact proposal content or copy, put yourself into an enthusiastic, excited, high-impact state of mind first!
•Know who you are writing for, and what they will want from your writing. Once you know this you should know precisely the level you are writing at and what information to include.
•Prepare an outline to give structure to your piece. An effective way of doing this is to transfer notes into a Word document, and then cut and paste words and sections into a coherent form.
•Include an introduction and summary to help readers structure information in their minds.
•When you write, try to let words and ideas flow. Only edit and review a section once you have completed its first draft. As you review it, ensure that the material meets the aim you set for the piece.
•The style of the piece should be focused on the readers needs. Avoid trying to impress people with your knowledge.
Remember that the responsibility for effective communication lies with you!