When I’m doing workshops and seminars, and even in the how-to guides I’ve written on copywriting, I’ll often share this secret B2B copywriting tip that few writers know about.
It’s an especially valuable tip when you’re writing traditional sales copy, which includes email campaigns, ads, direct-mail letters, flyers, sales pages, or landing pages… Those types of traditional sales copy projects, where you really need to sell, and you need to convince the business buyer to take the next step.
My secret tip is: Talk to a salesperson at your client’s company.
I find it really useful to chat a bit with one or two of the salespeople at my client’s company. When I do, I write much better copy. That’s why I give this advice all the time.
Yet, very few copywriters take the time to talk to their client’s salespeople.
I’ve been wondering why that is. I think one of the reasons is that speaking to the salesperson falls outside the traditional process of creating a marketing piece.
The traditional process goes something like this…
The marketing director of a company plans an email marketing campaign. They put together a strategy. They may even develop a project brief that has a lot of the information you’ll need. They may have a buyer persona and information on the features and benefits. Maybe they include the general theme of the campaign. And then they give that information to you to help you write the copy for that campaign.
And, of course, you ask the marketing director some questions and get more information. You may look at some other stuff they’ve done. And, then you write the copy and send it to the marketing director. She goes over it, and may ask for some revisions. And then finally, she approves the copy and your part of the project is complete.
Then she works with the design firm to put it together and the web programmer to set it up as an email campaign. She’ll monitor it, and review the results and analytics.
That’s a typical process to create and implement a marketing piece.
But, who’s left out of that process?
The sales department!
Of course, there are some companies that include the sales department and seek their input in the development of marketing campaigns. But, generally, that’s not the case.
So, I can see how going to the marketing director and asking to speak to a salesperson would seem like you’re making a big left turn. That it’s just not part of the traditional process.
I think that’s the reason why a lot of copywriters don’t do it. We get stuck in the groove of the traditional marketing creation process.
But, I suggest you make it part of your process.
Make every effort you can to speak with one or two of the really good, top-performing salespeople at your client’s company. Because if you do that, you’re going to get a lot of insights and ideas. And you’ll get ideas for wording and phrases you can use in your copy that you just cannot get anywhere else.
Think about what a salesperson does every day.
A salesperson spends her day having conversations with prospects. She’s sending prospecting emails. She’s making cold calls. She’s meeting with prospects and customers. She’s giving sales presentations. She’s chatting with customers about the features and benefits of the product. She’s getting instant feedback on a day-to-day basis. She hears all of the objections and the reasons why a prospect won’t buy or is hesitant to buy.
She’s developed an instinct as to what to say and how to say it to get the prospect really interested in taking the next step.
She knows which features are the most important because she gets feedback from the people she speaks to everyday. So she knows what features to talk about most, and what benefits her prospects care about the most. She knows what resonates with them and what makes prospects and customers tick. She knows how they think and why they buy.
Think about it. A salesperson has developed that knowledge, and isn’t that exactly the insight you need to write great copy? Wouldn’t you just love to have that detail?
Of course you would. That information is golden. So, you want to tap the gold mine in the sales department.
Let me tell you a truth about marketing directors, and even some business owners.
I work with marketing directors all the time. They’re wonderful people. They’re smart and successful and savvy at what they do. I’ve learned so much from them.
But, many marketing directors are not salespeople. Many have never made prospecting calls. They’ve never made a sales presentation, gut-to-gut with a potential customer.
It’s entirely possible to be a marketing director and never have a conversation with a prospect or customer. That’s because marketing directors tend to work behind-the-scenes creating the marketing programs.
The salespeople are at the front of the scene. They’re on the front lines, working with customers and prospects on a day-to-day basis. Salespeople gain a lot of insights into how to sell to these prospects and customers.
Marketing directors may have a lot of data, but they don’t have the same gut instinct because they don’t work on the front lines.
Let me give you an example of just how important this is…
Many years ago, I was working with a client — one of the biggest sales tax consulting firms in North America.
I was at a marketing meeting and we were talking about a new series of brochures for their sales staff to help them promote their products and services. In that room were the marketing director and another marketing person, the CEO of the company, the graphic designer, and myself, as the copywriter. But there were no salespeople in that room.
We were discussing what the key messages should be for these brochures and what we should focus on and what’s important and what’s not.
And then I asked, “Would it be possible for me to speak with one of your best salespeople? Just to bounce some ideas off them and get a sense of what your prospects and clients are looking for and to get some insights because salespeople deal with your prospects and clients every day.”
And the CEO said, “Yeah, absolutely. In fact, we’ll bring someone in right now.” And he walked out of the room. A few minutes later, he walked in with one of the senior salespeople.
And, I asked him some basic questions. What makes prospects and clients click? Why do they buy? What features of the sales tax consulting program are most important to them? What really excites them? What doesn’t excite them? Just basic questions like that.
And, you know what? That five-minute discussion completely changed how we were going to describe the products and services in these brochures.
We realized that what we were going to focus on wasn’t really that important to clients, and we had to minimize that. And we found out that what we were only going to touch on in the brochures was really important information to prospects and clients. So we needed to spend more time on that feature and focus on that key message.
That’s why talking to a salesperson is so important.
Now, I know this B2B copywriting tip means extra work and it’s an extra step in the process, but taking that extra step will pay off in three really important ways.
#1. You’ll write better copy
You’ll be able to write a better email campaign, ad, or sales page simply because you’ll have better information. These insights from the salespeople are very difficult to get anywhere else.
#2. You’ll write the copy faster
Writing will be easier, because salespeople will give you a lot of wording and phrases they use to convince prospects. A salesperson may tell you what they always say if a client has this objection. And, it almost always overcomes that objection. That’s golden. Because you can use what they say pretty much word-for-word in your copy, because you know it works.
The salesperson uses it, and it works in the real world. So, salespeople may have these turns of phrase, and ways of describing features that help you write much better copy, and write the copy faster.
#3. You’ll stand out as a professional
Clients are impressed that you are going deeper and that you have this step in the process. It differentiates you from the 99% of copywriters who don’t do this.
And most clients will understand the rationale behind this. When I speak to business owners, almost without exception, they agree that it’s a good idea.
Sometimes they’re a little skittish about me talking to the salesperson and you have to tread a little softly.
So then I explain to the marketing director or owner that I can get some extra insights from a salesperson that we may not have thought of. And, I can certainly come back and share the insights I learned from the salesperson. Then we can decide together how to use it in the copy.
But, usually, it’s not a problem. And, clients will see you as much more of a professional when they see you going the extra mile so you can write great copy.
So, how do you make this happen? How do you integrate this into your copywriting work with your clients?
Make this a part of your process
Simply explain to clients that an important part of your process in writing effective sales copy is speaking to one or two of their best salespeople.
If you tell clients it’s part of your process, 95% of the time they say, “Oh, okay. If that’s the way it works as part of your process, I’ll set you up with one or two of our best salespeople and you can talk to them.”
Contact those salespeople right away
These are busy people. If they’re outside salespeople, they may be on the road a lot. Obviously, they would rather spend their time making calls on clients and prospects rather than talking to you, so they’re doing you a favor.
So, when you get the names of one or two salespeople, get a hold of them right away. Set up a phone meeting with them and tell them you just need five or 10 minutes on the phone with them, because usually that’s all it takes.
When you get them on the phone, chat them up about the product or service they’re selling. Chat them up about the prospects and clients, and what makes them tick. Seek their advice. Ask them how they explain certain things. Ask them what they say to close a client and motivate them to buy. Just get them talking about their process and their approach and what they do. And, that’ll give you a gold mine of ideas you can use in your own copy.
So, give this secret B2B copywriting tip a try. I can almost guarantee it’ll help you write more effective sales copy.
And, when your sales copy is more effective, you get better results for clients. When you get better results for clients, clients look to you and say, wow, we want to give this person more work.