Managers tell us all the time that writing is one of the biggest pain points for them with new reps. While we can collectively blame the education system, we must recognize the way millennials communicate differently given the advances in technology. They haven’t had the experience or opportunity to write formally and understand the importance in grammar, structure, and even tonality.
So while this new generation of workers may not be able to write effectively in the beginning, it’s our responsibility as managers to help them get better and learn the importance of writing correctly. Below are 5 tips to start this process.
Writing gets better with reading. Have your reps constantly reading blogs and books. As they continue to read they will get better. My go to daily readings include:
Have them read their emails out loud so that they can hear what they are writing. As a CEO I still do this, especially if I’m tired and struggling to pull my thoughts together and want to ensure that what I write is readable.
The mobile BCC check. Simplifying and humanizing emails is the best approach for connecting with a prospect. We all know that, but why don’t our reps write that way? Get them to BCC themselves and timestamp their emails for a future date when they are relaxed. Have them read their email on their phone. Ask them to be honest and ask themselves if they would ever open or respond to their own email.
Tonality. Check the background of your prospect. Use LinkedIn to help answer these questions: Are they formal or not? When they respond is it one line or more comprehensive? Teach your reps to follow the customer's cadence in writing. This allows your SDR to start to relate and build a relationship even before they speak with the prospect.
Collaborate with the Marketing Team. Run your emails by marketing or a content specialist. You can usually count on having at least one grammar whiz in your marketing department. This not only helps assure you don’t end up with any phonetic spellings of common phrases (think “could of” vs. “could have”), but regular meetings also keep your sales and marketing messaging aligned.
We can’t debate the importance of writing, especially with the trend of email messages being more effective than solely cold-calling. We also can’t control the shift in the way we communicate using various tools like Slack or SnapChat. What we can do is point out the importance of effective writing. Writing correctly is not only about getting the sale but is also about building credibility and strengthening your network. As a manager, when was the last time you connected with someone who wrote an email that was grammatically incorrect, sloppy, or clearly not proof-read?