When you’re trying to grow your business, you’re constantly fighting against the clock. There are never enough hours in the day to do everything. Customers and clients expect you to be on call 24/7 and you’ve got to fit that into your schedule along with everything else. And both society and technology keep moving forward, which means that you have to keep up with trends, stay on top of breaking news, and make sure you’re ahead of the competition. In order to do that, you need the best information you can get, from as many sources as possible – and you need the ability to read, remember, and recall that information so that you can use it at precisely the right moment. That’s one of the reasons we encourage people to learn to speed read. When you have that extra time, you’ll be able to devote it to learning from people like Peter Sandeen, whose expert advice on marketing can help you expand your client list and communicate with your customers to keep your business booming. We asked him about his strategies for information overload and other time-saving tips.
7SR: You’re an articulate writer, and you frequently emphasize the importance of well-crafted professional text in written communication with customers. Is writing a skill that people should spend the time developing, or can they “outsource” that particular task?
Peter Sandeen: If you write for a business, the purpose is to make the reader get closer to buying what you sell. Understanding what are the best reasons for them to choose your products and services is more important than literary ingenuity.
First, of course, you need to know what those reasons are—what I call your value proposition—so you can convey them with your writing.
When you have a clear value proposition, developing your writing skills makes perfect sense. But you should devote your studies to copywriting. Writing with the explicit purpose to “convert” is very different from casual writing. Much of the general writing advice just won’t have the same impact on your results that better copywriting skills could have.
7SR: There’s a lot of information out there on marketing strategies, not to mention all of the articles and news feeds that are directly related to a person’s field, service, or product. What do you recommend to people when they tell you they’re unable to keep up with reading all of that material?
Peter: Information overload is a very common reason for people to slow down their progress. They might actually do a lot of things. But they’re not focused on taking consistent steps on the shortest road to their goals, but instead they spread their efforts over countless projects, so they don’t make much progress at all.
Focus your information intake on a small select group of sources. And avoid learning from conflicting sources—people look at marketing in so many different ways that you might be dragged to completely different directions by different people’s advice. Preferably find just one or two sources you trust and understand, so you can actually act on the advice.
7SR: Where should a new business owner begin? Should they be working on self-improvement that will polish professional credentials or personal skills, or focusing on getting a website up and running and starting to look for sales right away?
Peter: Maybe you’re fine with first studying marketing for a few years before setting up your first website.
But you won’t learn marketing from a book, blog, or course if you don’t put the ideas into action. So, set up something simple soon. And then improve over time.
Getting started might seem daunting, but once you’re off square one, you can learn much faster.
7SR: Even though professional communication is so important, it’s such a basic part of everyday life that some people may treat business e-mails in the same way they do a quick text to a friend – in other words, without worrying too much about spelling and grammar. How much of a problem do you think this is in general?
Peter: If I get an email with lots of typos, I feel like the sender didn’t really think that the email was worth putting any effort into. In other words, I don’t feel respected.
Simple grammar mistakes that are clearly mistakes, on the other hand, can make you look plain dumb or uneducated.
I don’t mind the occasional typo or forgetting to follow the most obscure grammar rules. But you should respect the person you’re writing the email to enough to read it through at least once.
7SR: What are three books you’d recommend to people to help them improve their communication skills?
Roy Peter Clark: Writing Tools. You’ll learn specific tools (that are surprisingly practical) for making your writing better.
Sol Stein: Stein on Writing. Another excellent book on improving your writing. Sol Stein is an accomplished editor, which gives him a great perspective on what makes writing better.
Joe Vitale: Buying Trances. A great book that helps you understand some key copywriting lessons. The book isn’t quite the classic some other copywriting books are, but it’s really good (and recommending the same old classics seems like a boring choice).
I’d also love to include some Tony Robbins’s books just because writing effectively is really about understanding people. And that’s about psychology—not grammar 🙂
Read More About Peter Sandeen’s Time-Saving Marketing Strategies At www.PeterSandeen.com
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