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Something NOT to Include in Sales Messages

Recently in classroom and online business writing courses, I have noticed people starting sales messages to strangers in an unproductive way, like this:

My name is Jane Smith, and I am the Regional Sales Representative at XYZ Company.

Unlike cold calls (that is, telephone sales calls to strangers), written sales letters and emails should not begin with "My name is . . . . " Your name and title appear in your signature block, both in printed business letters and emails. Your company name appears in a logo or in a typed line. Including them at the beginning wastes space and puts the focus on you rather than on your prospective customer's needs.

You may be wondering if it is ever appropriate to begin with "My name is" in writing. The only place I see the phrase is printed on "My name is" name badges. Even there, it isn't necessary.

To learn ways to improve your sales messages and other written documents, take my online Writing Tune-Up for Peak Performance class on April 2 and 4.

Can you think of other things NOT to include in sales messages? Please share your comments.

Lynn
Syntax Training

Posted by Lynn Gaertner Johnson
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English. She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois.

8 comments on “Something NOT to Include in Sales Messages”

  • Totally redundant statements like “I’m writing to you today to offer you the opportunity…” are irritating and unprofessional. This, or any variation on that theme, exposes how little time went into the copy, and if they won’t spend time on it, why should I?

  • Hi, Darin. Thanks for the helpful comment. “I’m writing to you today” is a good example of what not to do in sales messages. Sometimes that clause works, but normally it is a waste of words.

    Lynn

  • Could we start with an impacting question to attact the attention of the reader?

    – Have you ever need…?
    – Do you think that will be useful to…?
    -How useful will be to have xxxx in your company?

  • Hi, Christian. Good thinking! A question can be excellent to engage the reader at the start of a sales message. However, when it requires a yes-no answer, a no from the reader can end the conversation.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Lynn

  • Totally redundant statements like “I’m writing to you today to offer you the opportunity…” are irritating and unprofessional. This, or any variation on that theme

  • I wish more sales correspondence would use “we can” instead of “you should” language.

    When I see “You simply must call…, for …!” my reaction is “Nope, I simply will not.”

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