So you need to write about your business.
Your first thoughts might be to start with
And that’s ok, as long as you use them sparingly.
But the best way to write for your business is to ‘flip the focus’ – make your words about your customers, not about you.
- Use “You, you’re, and your” as much as possible (but make sure you’re using the correct version).
- Talk about their needs, situation, challenges, hopes etc rather than writing about how “we do this and we do that and we’re the best etc”. You’ll likely need to use “we” at some point, but just keep it in the “how” section of your copy i.e. “Thankfully, there is a solution. At X Company, we can solve your challenges by…”
- Write with the customer in mind – what would they be looking for? They probably don’t care about the fact your company started plumbing in 1927. They’re more likely to want to know if you’re professional, reliable, affordable and can come in the next hour.
- Avoid huge blocks of text. You’re not a novelist – so don’t write in huge paragraphs. They’re hard to read, look visually difficult and often cause readers to skim-read, missing great info that they could otherwise benefit from.
- Cut out the ‘fluff’ and get to the point. They’ve made it to your site, so don’t tell them more about their problem, tell them how you’re going to fix it.
Focusing on them should lead to more engagement and better results.
Want me to look over your copy? Send it over to email@example.com and I’ll give you a couple of tips to help you get on the right track.
Being fresh and new to sales is terrifying and thrilling, all at the same time. The prospect of making great money, having autonomy, being out of the office all day and meeting great people certainly has its appeal.
But there’s another side to sales, one that isn’t all big commissions and expensive lunches.
That’s the part of sales that means hard work and getting knocked down from time to time, and while I look back on my time in sales as one of the best periods of my working life so far, I’m the first to admit it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.
Here’s what I know now, but didn’t know when I was just a pimply-faced 20-year old with an ill-fitting, green microfiber suit and huge smile:
1. Big commissions get paid for big effort
The huge 5 or 6 figure commission payments don’t come in your first year. Or your second year (unless you’re selling something that pays unusually well).
Big commission cheques get paid to sales people that do the hard yards, calling 10 to 20 new prospects every day, having 10 – 15 meetings or more per week. If you ever want to see 4, 5 or even 6 zeros on your pay slip, you need to be putting in the effort.
2. The big deals don’t come to you (you have to find them)
This carries on from point 1. If you’re not on the phone, knocking on doors or booking appointment after appointment, you’ll never come across the relationships that then build into big deals. Getting an inbound phone call for a deal that pays $50,000 commission is a rarity. You’ve got about the same chance as being hit by lightning. So, get out there and pound the pavements; find those client relationships that you can build into something great.
3. Every problem is YOUR problem
This one was the hardest to learn:
“the installers stuffed up”
“the delivery won’t be here on time”
“the director can’t sign your deal this afternoon – she’s not in the office”
“the connection is down”
When you’re the interface between the client and the business you work for, and you’re the one who knows everyone and has influence, you’re the one who’ll get called by the client when something isn’t right. You’re also the one who’ll have to drop everything, be humble and sort things out.
I’ve had calls on Sunday afternoons while at the park with my kids or Monday nights at dinnertime and I’ve had to make phone calls to the right people to get problems sorted out. You’re the one with the big salary, the flexible schedule and the big comms payments, so you’re also the one who needs to play diplomat and get things fixed when stuff goes wrong. Be brave, honest, and fix problems quickly.
4. Your client is the most important person in your (working) life
Sure, family does come first. Absolutely. But when you’re at work and work pays the commission, your clients are the most important people you speak to. Not your boss, and not your co-workers.
I’m not saying you need to suck up to your clients and worship them like they’re Greek gods (they’d probably tell you to get lost). But I am saying that you need to be responsive. You need to do what you’ve said you’ll do. You’ll need to ask the hard questions and make big requests of your own boss or people at your company to make things happen.
If a client doesn’t feel like you’re on their team, they aren’t going to give you the big deals to quote on either. Hard work and unwavering support of your client’s genuine needs are what will build an unbreakable client relationship that will pay handsomely over time.
5. If you’re afraid of people, get over yourself (or get a new job)
It’s ok to be an introvert and work in sales, as long as you’re willing to get over yourself each and every day. I often had days when I’d get to the office and hope the phone didn’t ring and that no one would bother me. I know that’s crazy but some days I really felt like the ultimate introvert, not the fun-loving, deal-making extrovert I am the rest of the time.
The difference is, on the days when I didn’t want to call people, I’d do this…
I’d firstly call a mate for a quick chat. And then call a client I know well, to see how things are going. And you know what? By the time I’d done that, I was ready to call anyone.
It was unorthodox, but I found that if I could break the ice with a phone call to a ‘friendly’ first, I could take on any challenge by phone, including cold-calling for leads.
As the famous saying goes… “feel the fear, and do it anyway.”
6. No one cares about how much you sold last quarter
There’s nothing more humbling (or deflating, depending on how you look at it), than getting in to work for the first Monday 8am sales meeting after the end of a cracking sales quarter to know that:
(a) Your sales from last quarter are from last quarter. No one cares now, this is ‘this quarter’.
(b) And that you’re back at ZERO again.
The only way to make these fresh starts easier is to have a huge pipeline of deals you’re working on (see points 1 & 2). It also ensures that you’re not facing point 7 while in the same meeting…
7. Nothing hurts more than losing
Yep. The numbers don’t lie: you either hit your target or you didn’t. That’s it.
And if you didn’t, then it’s a sucky time to be sitting amongst your peers in an 8am sales meeting at the start of a new quarter.
What’s worse? I’ll tell you – it’s the previous Friday morning when you didn’t have an “I’M GOING TO LUNCH” sign above your desk like all the other sales people who’d hit target for the quarter. And you knew that you weren’t going to be able to close any more deals before the day is out.
Yes, I missed lunch (a couple of times). It’s sucks, hard.
If this is you, then you need to do 2 things:
(a) You need to give yourself a good talking to about what went wrong and why. It’s a good idea to do this over the weekend so that you’re not making crummy excuses in Monday’s sales meeting.
(b) You need to get a plan for getting yourself back on track. It’s called ‘activity’. Own the phone. Be out of the office at meetings. Start earlier, stay later, do whatever you need to do to get your pipeline absolutely pumping again.
BONUS TIP: Do shit today.
Don’t put stuff off until tomorrow.
Every single day you don’t get a quote out to a client or don’t make 20 phone calls for the day is a day you’ll never get back and a future where you won’t get to enjoy the spoils of having worked hard.
If you really want to succeed in sales, then take it from someone who’s had huge wins and catastrophic losses, do shit today.
Sales is an absolute cracker of a career to have. You’ll never get to meet so many interesting people, nor have so many crazy/fun/scary/invigorating experiences in any other job. Just take it from me that if you’re starting out in sales, focus on the important things, do the hard work and everything else will take care of itself.
Oh, and you’ll one day be a seasoned salesperson too.
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You’ve launched your new website….
It’s great, it’s shiny and you’ve even got a FREE offer on there to help get your first enquiries.
You pay for some online ad traffic to get a heap of the right people seeing your offer… and…. Nothing.
In a pit of despair, you begin asking yourself:
“What’s wrong with these people?”
“It’s FREE! Why aren’t they taking it?”
“Is there something wrong with my site?”
All of these questions and more go flooding through your mind as your $100 ad budget for the day disappears with nothing to show for it.
The right thing to do, is to stop your ads and start looking at some of the basics.
It’s likely you’ve missed something simple – that’s now turning people away without them feeling compelled to engage with you.
Let’s look at your brand, your copy and your offer.
#1. Your website doesn’t tell them it’ll solve their problems
If you think that writing one gimmicky headline and putting a whole heap of text below it on a page will get people signing up to your offer, you’re just going to waste your money and a lot of time.
In conversion copywriting (direct marketing) you learn that the #1 thing on every page of your website should be your headline. It needs to instantly capture the reader’s attention, otherwise they’ll click away.
Your headline needs to do 3 things:
1. It needs to say what you ACTUALLY DO – if you stop toilets from leaking, you need to actually say that, in the headline.
2. It needs to add a benefit (if you can) – like “We stop toilets leaking, fast” or “We’ll stop your toilet leaking, anytime day or night”.
3. It needs to give the reader a reason to keep reading…
Writing this all in 8 words or less is difficult, that’s why we spend so much of our time writing and rewriting the headline until we ‘nail it’.
Try writing 20, 30, even 50 headline variants until you find one that’s absolutely perfect and does all three things.
#2. Your copy isn’t short, sharp and straight to the point
In this day and age of distracted minds and a flood of offers each day, it can be hard to capture people’s attention for any length of time.
Which is why your copy needs to get to the point…. FAST.
You need to say what problem is you solve, how you solve it, why you’re special and then make an offer for them to get it solved by you.
This has to happen in as FEW WORDS AS POSSIBLE.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Write your full page, including all of the good things about your product / service and how it solves the customer’s problem.
2. Walk away from it for half a day, longer if possible.
3. Read through your copy and remove as many ‘extra’ words as you can. If you can say something in 9 words instead of 12, make it 9 words. If you can do better and still get the point across, then do better.
4. Make sure the page still ‘flows’ and makes sense. You’re taking your prospect on a conversational journey, so make it a journey without bumps or hold-ups.
Whatever you do, just get to the point quickly.
#3. Your FREE offer isn’t really worth it
This is a BIG ONE. Often people put up offers on their site for a ‘Free ebook’ and expect hundreds of conversions (sign-ups or actions taken). Only to be gravely disappointed after hundreds of visitors and not a single sign-up.
If you’re offering something that’s not of tremendous or helpful value, people aren’t going to care. Especially when they’re handing over their contact details to an ‘unknown’ like yourself.
So make your offer special. And valuable. And fully worth their signup.
If it’s a free ebook, then make the ebook so damn good that people would happily pay $20 for it. If you’re offering something free to get more bookings at your mechanic’s workshop, then offer a free car wash and vacuum. It’s something that’s actually valuable that people would want.
#4. Your business name is…. [‘cough’] terrible
This is a hidden trap.
It’s not hidden to the people who see your site however – it’s hidden to you.
Unfortunately, it’s all too common that people get emotionally attached to a name and then fulfil ‘all of their business dreams’ by using it.
Let me make up some names for you here to show you what I mean:
Kwik Kuts (a hairdresser)
Tregado Flow (a plumber)
Jane’s Twinky Toes (a nail salon)
Use a name that incorporates what you do. And for goodness’ sake, spell it correctly using normal English.
If you’re starting a consulting firm that charges $500 per hour, you’re going to lose customers before they even speak with you if your business name is hard to pronounce or hard to spell.
Make it easy for people (boring and simple is ACTUALLY a good thing).
#5. You don’t tell them what happens after they subscribe / enquire
This is a critical one. When you put your details into a website contact box, you want to know what happens next right? So do your prospects.
When are they going to call me?
Are they going to call or email me?
What will they do next?
Are they going to email me the report or do I need to download it?
Don’t leave people guessing – it’ll halve your conversion rate. Here’s an example of what to do:
“To get a FREE [insert offer] today, simply leave your details below and one of our friendly staff will call you ASAP”
“To download your FREE guide, enter your details below and we’ll send it to you via email straight away”
See? Both tell them what to do (enter details) and what happens next. No guessing, and a better conversion rate.
Get your conversion rate UP and learn how to write for better sales results
Just implementing these 5 things today will help you increase your enquiry rate and potentially keep your business trading (rather than losing money wondering what’s wrong).
For more information on writing concisely to get more sales, check out my article on Marketing Magazine Australia. It’s been shared more than 100 times…
This FRIDAY, I’m a guest speaker at the Young Entrepreneurs Project here in Cairns.
It’s their ‘Deep Dive into Marketing’ and I’m going to be talking about…. you guessed it, #Copywriting
I’m keen to help young entrepreneurs here in Cairns and FNQ to tell their story more effectively and get results.
Come along to CQUni Cairns Campus this Friday to join in and learn how to sell like a pro.
Know that feeling?
The “who the h#ll are you?” feeling…?
I get it, LinkedIn is a GREAT way to get in touch with new contacts, find new customers and keep up with all the people you’ve met or done business with in the past.
It’s revolutionised the way business people interact with each other and has created new ways of prospecting ANYONE that people didn’t have before.
But it’s also given rise to people being lazy, especially when it comes to getting in touch with people they don’t know.
You didn’t even bother saying ‘hello’?
I like getting invites from people to connect on LinkedIn, especially when it’s new clients who’ve seen my posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitterand are now chasing me for sales copywriting.
What gets me really ticked off though is when random people send me a LinkedIn invite and don’t even bother with a personal message to go with it.
I’m sure I’m not the first person to rant about this. I’m sure there’s business people who’re busier and more influential than me who’ve gotten pissed off about it as well.
But people (especially sales people) don’t seem to get it.
If I don’t know you, I’m sorry but I’m probably not going to care
When I’ve got a huge network of contacts that I’ve spent thousands of hours building up over many years, why would I want to open that entire contact list up to you if you can’t even add a short message in your invite to tell me WHY you want to connect with me?
If we’ve met, or it’s completely obvious why you would be sending an invite, then fair call. It’s ok to not add a message. But if I don’t even know who you are, then why would I want to connect?
Unfortunately, far too many people are just wanting YOUR connections, not necessarily to do business with you.
Don’t waste time trying to be a ‘LION’
(this isn’t Facebook or Instagram)
5 or 6 years ago, being a LinkedIn Open Networker (LION) was all the rage.
People spent entire workdays promoting themselves to get as many business contacts on LinkedIn as they could. But really, what’s the point? It’s not a competition to see who has the most ‘friends’. This is business…
If you’ve got 7,000+ people in your LinkedIn network (which is supposed to be for business connections), what sort of relationship do you have with these people? I’ll tell you, unless you’re spamming them every day or something, they probably don’t remember you.
Let’s look at the ridiculousness (yes, that’s a word) of this situation: If you spent 10 minutes – which is hardly meaningful – each year in contact with each person on your list, you’d spend 3.2 hours each day, EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR to do that.
(Best of luck with that ok).
It’s no different if you’re going to just randomly add people. Again, why bother?
Make a friend, not an enemy
Let me give you a tip…
If you’re going to add people on LinkedIn for prospecting purposes, then you need to take the time to craft a message that’ll get their attention, accept your invite, and leave the door open to contact from you.
Don’t just click the automated ‘Connect / Add’ button and hope that they’ll go “sure X, I’d love to randomly connect with you for no apparent reason”…
Send them a message that says hello, tells them why you’d like to connect and a benefit. If you can fit in a comment about when you’ll speak with them or about a deadline of some sort, then that’s even better.
“Hi Greg, we don’t know each other but we’ve got a common friend in ‘X’. I was reaching out to you today because I’ve found a great way to help companies save money and I think I can assist yours. If you’d like to connect and find out more, then I look forward to speaking with you.”
If you’re connecting with me, then something along the lines of:
“Hi Rob, we don’t know each other but I’ve heard you’re a good copywriter from a number of people. I’d like to connect and chat about what you can do for my business. Looking forward to hearing from you.”
I don’t need an ego boost, I just need a reason
See how simple that was in the above messages?
And they’re fairly elaborate – especially the first one. You don’t need to be that special and you don’t need to stroke the ego of person you want to connect with. Just give them the same short, sharp and valid reason for connecting that you would on a handwritten note to a receptionist if you were doing ‘door-knock’ sales. If the decision maker only knows your name and nothing else about you, they’ll simply tell the receptionist to shove you off.
So, how are you connecting with people on LinkedIn?
Are you just expecting people to connect and be instant best buddies with you or are you taking the time to send a note (and 10X-ing your chances at the same time)?
LinkedIn is the most powerful business contact tool ever – just use it to your advantage by seeing it from how your prospect would see it.
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