Writers are always engaged in persuading editors to accept their proposals, readers to buy their books, and blog readers to click through to their links and offers. Sales are everywhere for writers. Jeb Blount, The “Sales Guy,” shares, “Everywhere around the world every day we are selling others on our ideas so that we can get what we want. And those ideas, when bought by others, help shape our lives and our businesses.”
In other words, the content may differ, but generally speaking, sales professionals and writers are engaged in similar work. They both need to convince readers to either keep reading or to take a particular action. Here are three tips for writers from the sales field:
Sales Skills Make You a More Persuasive Writer
Copywriters who focus on the art of persuasion have a great deal to teach all writers, especially those in the nonfiction field who have important ideas and information to share. Brian Clark of CopyBlogger shares one of his tricks in the art of persuasion: “Of course, there’s good repetition and bad. To stay on the good side, make your point in several different ways, such as directly, using an example, in a story, via a quote from a famous person, and once more in your summary.”
Sales professionals know how to drive home a point in several different ways so that their customers get one idea loud and clear. Writers who learn how properly use repetition will effectively communicate their ideas and their readers will be far more likely to remember them.
Sales Help Writers Focus on Their Audience
The most successful sales professionals have taken time to understand their potential customers. Whether you’re selling in person or in print, sales are all about learning what the customer wants and learning how to connect that desire with your product. Sean Platt writes for ProBlogger, “You can’t sell if you don’t understand your reader.”
Sharon Michaels spells this out further in Forbes Magazine, “A sales person with an agenda tends to push too hard and often doesn’t listen well. Leave your agenda at home. Sincerely focus on your customer and how your product can best serve their hopes, dreams and goals.” The most successful writers know how to connect their passions with the needs or interests of their audiences.
Sales Help Writers Focus on Success
Rejection and setbacks are inevitable for writers, but in order for a writer to succeed, he/she only needs to convince a few editors and a niche of readers. This means that rejection can be followed by success for those willing to keep trying. Sales professionals know this, but many writers do not.
Editor Jane Friedman writes, “Unfortunately, most writers’ egos are fragile, and they can’t see the query process as one of the oldest practices in human history—a sales practice where rejection is commonplace.” When writers learn how to pitch their work and handle rejection, they’ll be better prepared for a long term career.
Writers need to convince their readers to follow through and make a purchase, share their work with others, and remember what they’ve read. From shopping cart abandonment of their books to indifference over their work, writers face a number of steep challenges when it comes to grabbing the attention of readers. By perfecting their sales skills, they’ll more effectively engage their audiences, become more persuasive, and learn to build on their success.
How do you keep yourself selling effectively?