Writing for sales: so maybe we DO need a few features…

It had to happen, didn’t it. We stretched the elastic band so tight on heart-centred sales and conversational copywriting and benefits-only wording that the other day, it snapped.

It was someone on LinkedIn who made the point that sharing the benefits of a product or service is all fine and dandy, but what if your prospect asks how you make those benefit promises come true? Not with smoke and mirrors, presumably. So here we must turn to corroborating features. Snap!

article on features

OK, but how do you make it Texas’ best bread?

I’m sending myself up here because I’ve been bleating on about “benefits sell, features smell” since the Dark Ages of my former career as a copywriter. (NB: I still deal with features and benefits in the planning and marketing of nonfiction books.)

So how do features work when our words are benefits-led?

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“I help people” … but so does everybody else

How often do you see in written bios, and hear in business networking meetings, “I/we help people/clients to…..” ??

I help people...

Do you fall into the “I/we help you…” trap?

Of course there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a good way to start off for a number of reasons. That’s why so many of us use the “help you” way into the introduction. Then what happens?

We get the death of a good word, and the birth of a cliché

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Branding: who needs a logo when you wear glasses?

How seriously do you take branding for your business? OK, if you’re Coca Cola or Kellogg’s it’s very, very serious and you don’t have a choice. But for those of us running rather, er, smaller enterprises, do you realise that branding is just as important?

Now, those of you who know me personally know that I don’t do fancy, but I do branding, sort of, for my meagre writing business. Here, therefore, is the “living logo” that has been working very hard for me for the last six years:

Suzan St Maur's glasses

Who do you think of when you see a woman with a mop of short, blonde hair and big black glasses? And don’t you dare say “Maxine...” I don’t do hats. LOL.

Why a pair of glasses for branding, when I’m a writer?

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Some alternative conversation starters for networking events

Recently I tripped over an article I had saved a few years ago about conversation starters to help break the ice at business networking events. Given that a while has passed since the article was published I thought I would use its thoughts as a basis for a, er, new article on how to create a little fun with business networking conversation starters today.

comedy article about business networking

“Hello. Is this your first time at this event?”

With many thanks and commiserations to the original author of this article: I would love to have credited you properly but as my admin systems are a mess, voilà. Sorry. Message me and I will make amends. Promise.

My evil thoughts about the following:

1) “Well, while we’re here, I might as well introduce myself.” Give them a dark look, then say “I was just on my way to the toilet. Shall we go and introduce ourselves there?” [Read more…]

How to write a feedback form that gets useful results

Have you ever looked at the feedback form you get at the end of a presentation or conference, and wonder what the hell those questions mean? Being a little tired and keen to get home, can you easily figure out what the subjective, often leading questions are trying to worm out of you?

feedback formsAnd do you, as so many people do, fill in the bare minimum of answers or even not bother at all? Relax: it’s the form writers’ fault, not yours.

Here are some examples of terrible feedback form questions, how to do them properly, and why. Stick with me: it gets better…

Why are so many feedback forms utter garbage?

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How bad writing will cost you sales opportunities

Today we welcome sales expert Niraj Kapur, who quite rightly spits fur and feathers about the way wannabee business suppliers ruin their chances with prospects due to writing the wrong words in the wrong way. Over to Niraj…

We’ve all experienced this truly bad writing

bad sales writing

Don’t talk about yourself. Write about how you deliver benefits & help prospects.

You connect with someone interesting on LinkedIn and they sent you a terrible sales pitch.

You ask someone at a networking event to send you information and it’s full of attachments, all about them and nothing to benefit you.

You attend an exhibition and the sponsors send you an impersonal automated email within minutes of your leaving their exhibition stand. [Read more…]

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