I used to suck at writing. I was expected to be a good writer, given my dad's profession. My dad is an English teacher and writer. (Yes, free editing is a perk. How do you think my writing sounds so darn good?) One would assume that my skills would be at least semi-proficient because I had always been around creative people and writers. Really good writers.
I was the seventh-grader who took two pages to convey my message when all I really needed was to write one. I would throw in a bunch of big words to try to sound like someone I wasn't in an attempt to appear smarter.
"Rambling." "Run on." "What the heck are you trying to say?" was common feedback I received.
Fast-forward 20 years.
I fell into sales my senior year of college. I thought I would end up in fashion (I love New York, minus the cold winters). But no, sales it is. I sell print-buying portals for companies that spend over a million dollars annually on print. In my world, this is called enterprise sales (i.e., big accounts).
About two years ago, I was in a rut. My primary outreach method was email. Prospects were not responding. I spent hours rewriting emails, following up, reaching out to multiple contacts within a company … still no response.
I'm a big believer in learning and striving to get better, so I do a lot in the way of sales education. I attended a webinar, and this guy with a unique name, Neville Medhora, was the guest. He was a chill, young innovator from Austin who started a business that teaches people how to create great content that sells.
He teaches that if you can communicate well, you can do a lot of things:
- Convince people to buy things.
- Convince people to give you money.
- Convince someone to do or not do something.
- Convince people someone is a good person.
- Help people.
What Neville said was so basic. The fact that random strangers do not care about me had never crossed my mind. They care about what I can do for them. I re-read my emails. It's no wonder I didn't get a response. I talked about myself and the system I sell, not about my prospect's needs and what I can do for him/her.
I have completely changed how I write. I write like I talk. I write things that are punchy, funny, short and to the point. I'm direct. I talk about benefits not features, and I push the boundaries.
Now, when I see people writing like I used to, I cringe. No one wants to spend hours reading a philosophy thesis learning about someone they don't care about. They want to know what's in it for them.
Why am I telling you about Neville? Because he's funny with a serious message. He's articulate, but he hides it well. He's to the point and on point. He's profane with an English accent. He uses voice to help to you find yours.
Neville changed my career in a big way. My sales have doubled since implementing his writing techniques.
He's speaking at PSDA’s Young Innovators Conference on June 20 in Denver. He's going to teach the group how to write emails, marketing collateral and the dreaded company memo. Neville is not going to talk at us; he's going to give us exercises, provide feedback and open our eyes to what makes great copy. He will show us how we can get information stuck in someone's head. You will learn how to communicate like a champ. You will be the Steph Curry of your company.
Attend the Young Innovators Conference and become a better writer. Learn how to write like you speak and sell like hell.