Conversations that count

On a recent trawl of LinkedIn discussion boards, a thread called ‘Using the right words’ jumped out at me.

The (clearly very sensible) person who’d started it was making a simple, but really important, point: that companies often think more about the words they use in their ads than the ones their people use to sell products to customers.

Take new cars. You can launch a clever, aspirational ad campaign that has customers beating a path to your door. But if, when they walk into the showroom, the sales person says, ‘It’s a 1.6 litre TDCi with Active Park Assist and Torque Vectoring Control’ – well, you’ve just wasted a brilliant opportunity.

That’s why, when we train people to become more effective writers at work, we tell them to put themselves in their customers’ shoes. So instead of describing the features of their product (a family hatchback that does 60 miles to the gallon), we get them to think about the benefits (how many school runs the parents can do before they need to fill up the tank).

So by all means fly to the Amalfi Coast to film beautiful ads with beautiful people and even more beautiful words (and take us with you). Just make sure you show as much love to the words your sales people use. Because they could be the ones that really count.

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