I’ve never liked being a salesperson, yet as a writer we are in fact, salespeople. You can’t get around it. We sell ourselves as credible sources for information. But, we also sell our ideas and our writing itself. If you’ve ever thought “Why should anyone read my stuff?” You can understand the relationship between sales and writing (even before publishing comes into it). We want readers to buy into our writing, to be believe what we write, take it seriously. So, we have to sell it.
The following comes from: How Stuff Works
“The foundations of most modern sales techniques lie in five stages of action. These began in the 1950’s and include:
Attention: You have to get the attention of your prospect through some advertising or prospecting method.
Interest: Build their interest by using an emotional appeal such as how good they will look to their boss when they make this deal that will save the company thousands of dollars!
Desire: Build their desire for your product by showing them its features and letting them sample or test-drive it.
Conviction: Increase their desire for your product by statistically proving the worth of your product. Compare it to its competitors. Use testimonials from happy customers.
Action: Encourage the prospect to act. This is your closing. Ask for the order. If they object, address their objections. There are then many variations of closing techniques that can help get the business. “
It’s not too hard to see how that applies to our writing. Think of copywriting, fiction writing or even writing an instruction manual. The first thing you need to do is pull them in, catch their attention. You do this by surprising them, perking their curiosity, giving them what they want or showing them you have what they need. Whichever works for the writing you are doing. In website reviews a catchy headline is everything. If it’s a book you need a great opening line. Magazine articles use headlines and highlighted phrases in the article.
Interest, desire and conviction sort of roll into one theme, keeping your readers reading. How do you pull them through your writing? Some may only read the catchy beginning and then skim to the end for the conclusion. Keeping their interest through the middle is the real trick. This is where your writing style comes in. Don’t let them stop reading, keep providing content they need, want and must have. Keep the writing lively rather than droning on.
Then, as with any good sales pitch, you want them to take action. If you are writing fiction you want them to leave the world you created feeling they have left something of themselves behind when they read that last word. If you are writing copy for sales you want them to understand how important the product is. If you are explaining how something works you want them to feel confident enough to proceed and use the product. Even if your only purpose is simple entertainment, you want them to buy that from you. In order for it to be bought, you have to sell it.