SURPRISE THEM WITH YOUR WRITING – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #44

101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas

IDEA 44:


The written word is not everyone’s strong suit in terms of communication. Sales people often feel more comfortable in face-to face situation, and feel most confident of it too. Faced with having to put something into writing, they can produce something into writing, they can produce something turgid, replete with gobbledegook and “business peak,” that is so over-formal and impersonal that it serves only to alienate people. “Who is this person?” the readers ask themselves. But it is possible for something unexpected and well conceived to create real impact, more so if it stands out from the banality sent by others.


From my own past …

This is example is from the last stages of the sale, where things can so often stick at a “Leave it with me” stage. It can makes the point that sometimes there is little new left to say. You can only repeat “it’s me again,” especially if you reckon the proposition is good and the only reason for lack of confirmation is timing or distraction, rather than the customer being totally unconvinced. Then the job is to continue to maintain contact, and ultimately to jog people into action, while appearing distinctive or memorable in the process.

After I had written a short book for a specialist publisher, I was keen to write another for it, on a different topic but in the same format. I proposed the idea, and got a generally good reaction – but no confirmation. I wrote and telephoned numerous times. Nothing: just a delay or a put-off (you may know the feeling!). Finally, when a prompt to chase came up yet again in my diary, I felt I had exhausted all the conventional possibilities. I sat down and wrote the following:

 Struggling author, patient, reliable (non-smoker), seeks commission on business topics. Novel formats preferred, but anything considered within reason; ideally 100 or so pages, on topic likes like sales excellence sound good – may be with some illustrations. Delivery of the right quantity of material – on time – guaranteed. Contact me at the above address/ telephone number or meet on neutral ground, carrying a copy of Publishing News and wearing a carnation.

I must confess I hesitated over it a little, thinking it perhaps too informal (I was sending it to someone I had met only once), but I signed and posted it. Gratifyingly, I got confirmation of my contract the following day (and you can read the result, The Sales Excellence Pocketbook, published by Management Pocketbooks).

In practice

  • Sometimes a slightly less conventional approach works well. You should not reject anything other than the conventional approach; try a little experiment and see what it can do for you.
  • Because prevailing standards are often low, this can be an easy area in which to “shine” (provided you act with care).

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