Words that Sell – Are You Picking the Wrong Ones?

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Do you feel like your marketing is driving sales away instead of increasing sales?  Maybe the selling words you are using don’t work.  They may be on your billboards, brochures, paper-based ads, your website, and more.  Let’s find out about how your company’s selling words are working.

Quick Test 1: Grade your organization’s marketing health.  When your company develops selling words, do they:

  1. Establish a randomly selected focus group? (+1)
  2. Gather strong wording from corporate managers to drive sales? (+1)
  3. List great technical specs from engineering to use directly in marketing materials.(+1)
  4. Combine standard “words that sell” with a generic product or service related to your company.(+1)
  5. Use similar wording from a competitor (called copy cat marketing by the Duct Tape Marketing guru). (+1)

Add up your points.  How did you do?  High score?  Umm, a higher score indicates your selling words probably stink on ice.  Oops!

The grade scale for Quick Test 1 is shown below:

  • 0-2 points means you are probably OK and can probably survive tough & competitive times.
  • 3-4 points means your company has excessive risk of sales problems.
  • 5 (FIVE!?!) points.  Can you fax out your resume today and start saving for hard times?  That marketing smells like August road kill.

Quick Test 2: Last one, I promise.  Time for a marketing health checkup – how are things since the last quick test?  When your company develops selling words, do they:

  1. Survey your new clients & prospects while asking “What attracted you to our company?” and “How would you describe our product/service to a friend?” [+1]
  2. Use Tested Advertising Methods like A/B testing in newspapers or in Google Adwords? [+1]
  3. Use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool (free) to get ideas for keywords people are using to find you? [+1]
  4. Analyze wording used by high performing sales personnel to develop best practices? [+1]
  5. Emphasize product benefits to the buyer instead of dry technical specifications? [+1]

How did you do?  A high score is good this time!

  • 0-2 points means you need to go back to the list and try ONE of the best practices in quick test 2 – NOW is a good time to start.  Again, update the resume.
  • 3-4 points means that your company may be OK, but more work can be beneficial.
  • 5 points.  Are you going public soon?  Can I invest?  Great things may be ahead.  Hold onto your resume for now.  By the way, are you hiring?

Quick Test 1 is a collection of worst practices I see in industry time after time.  These methods create selling words that are vague, company focused, and only have meaning to company employees.  Quick Test 2 lists some good practices that I have found to be effective for creating words that sell.

Comments? I would love to see your Best Practices and Worst Practices for establishing selling words.  Also, do you have some clunky selling phrase that you can share?

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