Posted by Andrew Shahmurat on Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:23
I'm not in sales, but as a copywriter part of my job is to persuade readers into action, so in a lot of ways I am "selling". With this in mind, I pay attention to sales techniques as a way to improve my skills. Likewise, I've seen sales improve from the adoption of copywriting rules.
Big things happen when powers combine. Recent advances in mapping the human genome has taken effort from physicists, biologists, and engineers alike; the creation of the atomic bomb provides an apt (albeit destructive) historical example of partnership between science, industry and military. For good and for bad, sharing knowledge between and among disciplines often yields powerful results.
The marketing world has long since tapped into this fact; many of the Great Ad Campaigns of all-time were the result of Copywriters teaming up with Art Directors. Through exposure to other departments and roles, we become aware of the larger process that our job contributes to, and understand which successful applications in those other fields may yield results in ours.
In copywriting the rule for success is simple (if often unused): make it immediate clear why the reader should care. The same rule holds tremendous insight for your sales department: if you don't get to why a potential client should care, and quickly, he or she won't be around long enough to find out why you're great.
Understanding why a client should care means knowing where their interests lie. It requires a firm understanding of their business, their target audience, and what's going on in their industry. In other words, it means caring. Copywriters have always been more effective with this knowledge, yet salespeople can often downplay the need for deep understanding, as well as object to the amount of effort required to achieve it.
Why go to the extent? To paraphrase the late Rustum Roy, real problems do not come in "discipline-shaped blocks", and so we shouldn't expect real solutions to either. So, if sales are a problem for you (or if they aren't doing as well as you'd like), perhaps it's time to brush up on your copywriting. After all, if taking the time to care about a client means making the sale, it's actually as easy as caring about yourself.