I’m not sure how it all began, but the fact remains … people have a tendency to believe the written word more than they believe the spoken word. This may stem back to the days when salespeople were known for their “gift of gab.” Even today, I often hear those who are “not in the know”, talk their way in or out of a given situation.
Being a seasoned sales professional for nearly 30 years and speaking for a living for 25 of them, I am the first to acknowledge that in today’s world, talk is pretty cheap. So what is a salesperson to do? How can they continue to feed their families on a regular basis if what they say is always questioned and often in doubt?
Regardless of your industry, you are undoubtedly faced with more competition than you consider fair or appropriate. This probably won’t be getting any better soon, so you had better get use to it and start planning your next strategy accordingly. We all have competition and “dems the breaks.”
If it is true that today’s winning strategy involves the creation of trust, then trust should fast become our focal point. But first, let me define “trust.” Trust is a byproduct of visibility, credibility and repetition.
Now that we have that straightened out, the solution becomes both obvious and achievable. You must write something. You must document your thoughts, opinions, suggestions, and recommendations. You must write an article, book, booklet, special report, white paper, newsletter, e-zine, memo, blog, proposal, letter or bulletin. Yes, even emails will support your position if written creatively.
I can see many of you right about now glazing over in fear as you recall your high school English teacher assigning that term paper. It really isn’t that difficult and I will give you 6 steps to make it easier!
- Select a topic. Preferably a topic that you are passionate about or your audience has indicated a sincere interest in learning more about. Understand that you are not attempting to write another War & Peace. You just need to say what you need to say.
- Get it down. Write every word that shoots into your mind. Capture your thoughts. This is the easy part if you allow yourself some poetic license. As you think it, write it. You can fix things later. First get it down. Next, make it good.
- Let your words breathe. Back off and take a break. You will be surprised how good things will look tomorrow. I am constantly amazed how “good” my articles are days, weeks or months after I initially wrote them. I don’t know what “Literary Law” this falls under, but it is true as the day is long.
- Read it and tweak it. The glaring errors will jump off the page while you come up with a better way of phrasing some sentences. It is not a bad idea to have a second set of eyes give your work a shot. This is what editors do for the pros. In your case, ask a friend, spouse or workmate take a look at your work.
- Follow step three once more … then step four.
- Distribute it. This may sound elementary but it is not. If you can’t get your thoughts, ideas, suggestions and recommendations out to the audience where it will do some good, the entire experience has just become an exercise. Always be on the hunt for ways to spread your message. In this case, the vaunted “written word.”
Remember that you are not pretending to be a professional writer. Your audience needs to hear what you have learned the hard way; and it is your responsibility to give them what needs to be heard via the best and fastest way possible.
Then, and only then, will you begin establishing the all important trust factor. You will become more visible as you become more credible.
And one more thing: Sharing your thoughts while helping people along the way is fun. So open a fresh page on your computer or grab a clean piece of paper, and start having some fun.
Mike Marchev has “been around the bases” more than a few times, and enjoys sharing his street-smart lessons with who ever will pause long enough to listen.