Why Strategic Sales Writing is Reader-Centered
Your customers have just read the last page of your proposal. What’s the best reaction they could deliver?
“That was so thorough. I know everything about what you’re offering.”
“This was laid out very well.”
“I’m convinced that this company is good at what it does.”
“Wow, you’re such a talented writer.”
Those are all lovely pieces of praise, aren’t they? But what’s the likeliest answer? None of the above.
What you really want to hear
The response you’re looking for is much more like, “Oh, perfect: it sounds like working with you will be the best move for us. Let’s get started.”
It’s their actions—making a purchase, cementing a partnership—that will mean real success.
So how can your writing spur action as well as praise?
1. Focus on your readers right away
For an extra edge, provide reader-centered substance right from the beginning. Once they’ve completed an initial research phase, most people won’t want to dig deep to figure out how what you do might be the best match for them. It’s up to you to be convincing—and fast. The earlier you show how your company can solve their unique concerns, the better.
2. Use “you” and “we” thoughtfully
Make sure you’re frequently addressing prospects with the second-person pronouns “you” and “your.” In sales contexts, second-person sentences often explain the product’s advantages much more effectively than others. They indicate why the readers should care. For example:
Our energy-efficient LED light bulbs mimic the brightness and color temperature of the sun.
(What’s the point?)
Installing our LED light bulbs can reduce ABC’s power costs while lifting your team’s winter blues.
(Here it is!)
Occasionally, “you” language can sound aggressive or aloof. If you’re concerned about this, consider rephrasing with an inclusive first-person pronoun that encompasses both your organization and your readers’. “Our contract” or “our agreement” can imply friendly partnership in a way that “your contract” would not.
3. Answer questions as well as you can—before they even ask
You’re immersed in your own products’ marketing, so it’s probably easy to explain their advantages in very broad terms. But when you write to a prospect, it’s best to address common questions like “Why is this worth it?” in precise and personalized, rather than general, language. Your specificity will reduce follow-up questions and ambiguity, saving time and effort for everyone involved.
4. Engage readers with content that targets their most urgent needs
Your writing must be technically competent to be taken seriously. But it’s more vital to show readers that you understand their circumstances. A long list of your products’ virtues will be less convincing than a short document that’s closely tailored to the customer. It’s likely that just one or two key features will close the deal; your job is to figure out what those are.
Informing, intriguing, and impressing your prospect are only the first steps. Reader-centered sales writing highlights not just how great or interesting you are, but how well your solutions solve your readers’ problems. When your writing shows you’ve invested thought and time in figuring out what your customer values, it’ll help everyone involved achieve quick results.