My talent as a salesperson lies in the written word. Just because my strength is in copywriting doesn’t mean that I’m any less of a salesperson than my colleagues with the word sales in their titles. If anything, my writing, which is available to the masses, is more important as a sales tool than one individual conversation with a prospect that a salesperson might have. When I write marketing copy, whether it’s for a blog, or it’s an ebook or case study, I have to do it with the mentality of a sales person, not a writer.
When you’re writing about a product, the most important thing to remember is that your audience does not want to buy a new product. People don’t want to spend their money on something whether it’s an object or a service. People are willing to spend their money to solve a problem they might have. Whether it’s a luxury item, marketing solutions, transportation or anything else, if you can convince someone that you can solve their problem, even a problem they didn’t know they had, that’s how you can sell your product.
No one would waste their hard earned money on an SEO analysis for their website. Is there anything less glamorous or more boring to spend money on? People are more than willing to pay money to drive more traffic to their site and generate more leads. So don’t try to sell an SEO analysis, sell more traffic and more leads.
Copywriters are at a bit of a disadvantage since we can’t know what everyone’s individual problem is. A salesperson can ask a series of questions and get to the bottom of their problems and are then able to empathize with them. As a writer, we can’t possibly know what each reader’s problem is, so it’s easier to write about a product, which is right in front of you. It’s something you can touch, or a service you know so well that its use is second nature to you.
Selling a Solution without Knowing the Problem
Assuming you’ve done persona research, you should know the typical problem that you’re writing about. Your problem is likely that you’re too thinking is like that of a writer not as a salesperson. You want to describe something, put words around how great something is. That’s the exact mentality that you need to break, because people don’t want to hear from you about how great your products are. (That’s not entirely true, they want honesty though, and they have no reason to trust you at this point. Product reviews from existing or former customers are where your products should have great write-ups.) From you, what they want to hear is how you can make their life better.
I don’t know that a particular sales director is having a hard time getting on the same page with the marketing team and therefore costing the company money. I do know that many sales directors experience this problem. Knowing that, I can write a post called “5 Reasons Marketing and Sales Need to Collaborate”. The content will resonate and the solution to a problem that might not have even been in a sales directors head is pulled front and center.
The Wrong Way
I came across this article today written by a recruiter. She’s trying to get people to apply to work at Cision. The place looks incredible. Why wouldn’t I want to pack my bags and move to Maryland to go work there? This article is all about the product. Anyone who is qualified to work there knows that this is just a smokescreen. If I’m looking for a new job, there’s a reason, right? That reason is not to eat out of a food truck. It’s because I need to make more money, or I need to advance in my career or any number of things that aren’t mentioned in this article.
The Right Way
You probably don’t put a lot of thought into your windows. But, did you know that it’s likely that your windows could stand being replaced? There are stronger windows that are nicer looking and more energy efficient than what you currently have. If you came across this article you might learn about this for the first time. It’s not pushy or salesy at all. In your head though, you start to get an idea that perhaps you do need new windows.
You can write educationally and still write for the purpose of generating leads. This guide here give 114 ideas of how to creatively and effectively while still serving a purpose beyond marketing to your prospects.
Be an Industry Expert, Not a Company Expert
The content that you write very likely will be relevant to your competitors as well. That’s more than okay. In fact, if there’s something one of your competitors do really well that your company might not do, link to them. It will show that you’re not being a pushy writer and that your company is confident enough in itself to mention the competition. People who matter that are reading your blog are also reading your competitors’ blogs. They are aware of who is trying to help and who isn’t. Guide them in the right direction, not necessarily in your direction.
Rarely is someone going to make a decision to purchase based on a blog. Best case scenario it will open the door to a conversation with a sales person. That’s why you need to write with a salesperson’s mentality. Solve a problem, don’t sell a product. It’s sales 101 and remember, you’re a salesperson not just a writer. If, like me, that's how you sell best, change your mentality.