VIEWS: Write Well, Then Sell

Dispatched from the SSC Team

If you read our blog often, you may notice that we are not fans of boring, business-as-usual writing styles. The “strategic” in Strategic Sustainability Consulting is no accident. We are firm believers in the power of the written word. It should be used as a tool to connect with your customers, not a thinly veiled attempt at impressing readers with technical terminology.  In fact, people are more likely to buy into what you are saying and purchase your good or service if they can actually understand you. Now, there is a flipside to this. Don’t dumb down your writing to a level of banality. Be clear and interesting and, most importantly, know your audience!

There was a great article about the general awfulness of everyday business writing in Inc. Magazine. The gist of it is, most business writing is thoroughly generic. A Google search of business terminology, such as “value-added services” and “full-service solutions provider”, results in thousands of matches.  That’s great if your company pops up in the search results but, um, what do you actually do? Anyone can argue that his company provides some sort of value. You should sell yourself based upon your core competency, not the fact that you can provide solutions. Solutions to what? Be specific; write directly to your clients. If you’ve ever sat in a class delivered to MBA students, you will hear the attendees groan at words like synergy and leverage. Yet, they then go on to graduate and write about leveraging the synergies within their organization. What does that even mean? By now, we are belaboring the point. Essentially, you have worked hard to create a product that you are proud of; so, sell that product! Describe your product or service in a way that differentiates it from others while simultaneously ensuring that this feature is applicable and important to your core audience.

So, you may be thinking, this is a nice blog post but it has nothing to do with sustainability. Ah, so not true! Sustainability is not an easy concept to wrap one’s head around, particularly for those not within the industry. Furthermore, proponents of corporate sustainability initiatives are often fighting an uphill battle, which makes clear, tailored writing all the more crucial to success. Knowing what drives your audience is extremely important but without the ability to convey that knowledge, the information and skills you possess become lost in translation.

Our point? Relax a little. Write like a human, not a robot. Think about what your message means to the person receiving it. How would they appreciate learning about your ideas and proposals? Need help? No problem. We love writing and think we do it pretty well. We are happy to assist you in communicating your sustainable progress and plans to your customers or even executive management. Contact us today. We’ll write back in a language you can understand.