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Preface

Preface

Sell is a four-letter word. Or is it? You may believe that sales inherently is a nasty business. And that salespeople stretch the truth to their advantage.

To be sure, the sales profession has come under considerable disrespect in many cultures. Stage-plays depict angst-ridden industrial salesmen. Movies show unscrupulous real estate salespeople. Jokes abound about used-car salesmen.

But such stereotypes are wildly outdated, says author Mike Tronnes in Closers: Great American Writers on the Art of Selling. “Today . . . the distinction between who is and who isn't a salesperson is less clearly defined than ever.”

The underlying message of this book is that all business writers are also salespeople. And, as such, you ought to use some of the tried-and-true techniques not just of sales writing but of face-to-face sales.

Sales writing, remember, is defined as writing that gets people to buy your products and services. Writing That Sells is writing that gets people to buy your ideas. Sell is a four-letter word only in the literal sense.

In Professionalism in the Office, author Marilyn Manning gives an excellent rationale for writing that sells: money. “The cost to an organization of an original one-page letter is estimated at more than $20 when all office expenses are considered,” Manning writes. “It is therefore very important to make sure that your letters are professional in content and organization and support your organization.”

Often the reward for traditional sales writing is immediate revenue. The reward for business writing that sells is also financial. Studies show that good writers make more money than their grammatically challenged counterparts. As a skilled communicator, you also are likely to receive added prestige, promotions, and visibility in your workplace.

This book converts classic sales principles into writing strategies. The concepts apply in documents as diverse as e-mails about breaches in the no-smoking policy, letters recommending a friend for a job, and proposals seeking approval for a four-day workweek. By reading this book and doing the exercises, you will be able to better persuade, motivate, and influence your readers.

In other words, sell.

Kathleen A. Begley

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