3 Questions Every Corporate Writer Must Answer Every Day

If you can answer these three questions, you’ll have a client (or employer) for as long as you want. The answers are the heart of how to build a Corporate Messaging Platform: the system for customizing and consistently delivering the most effective sales message to every audience:

  1. Why should I talk with you? When you’re trying to get the attention of a sales prospect, the key word is attention. Prospects are busy; what is the ONE compelling reason why your prospect should stop what he or she is doing and listen to what you have to say? I call it the itch factor. As a corporate writer pitching a marketing director, I might say, “According to the American Marketing Association, 80 – 90% of sales collateral is never used by the sales executives it’s intended for. Here’s why, and what marketing directors like you are doing about it now.” It’s an irritating truth, and it commands attention.
  2. Why should I change what I’m doing now? Here, you make a compelling case for why your prospect should replace his or her current solution. Following my corporate writer example above, I might say to my marketing director prospect, “According to a CMO Council study, as much as 40% of a sales rep’s time is spent redoing sales messaging, collateral and presentations. Is that really the best use of your sales rep’s time, energy and focus?” What marketing director would say ‘yes’ to that?
  3. Why should I choose you to help me change? Only after attracting attention and revealing the problem do you offer yourself as the solution. I might say, “By working with me to build a Corporate Messaging Platform, you’ll have the most effective message customized for every sales audience. Your sales reps will have a road map for consistently delivering a message they can believe in. And, because you’ll never again start a sales collateral project from scratch, you’ll save 20 – 30% of your time, effort and money every time. I’ve been creating these Platforms for Fortune 500 and mid-sized organizations since 1999. I’d be happy to share my approach with you.”

How should your client (or employer) answer these three questions? Be the one who knows, and you’ll be invaluable.

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6 Comments for this entry

  • Andy Bartling

    September 26th, 2010 on 11:43 am

    Corporate Writer Insider note: This is a comment from Linked In’s 4Ps Marketing group:

    “These are very concise and poignant! Also very educational. Thank you for sharing. “

  • Andy Bartling

    September 26th, 2010 on 11:45 am

    Corporate Writer Insider note: Here’s another comment from Linked In’s 4Ps Marketing group:

    “As cheesy as it sounds, it vaguely resembles the “sales hamburger” from my Dale Carnegie days–Attention, Interest, Conviction, Desire and Close. The first three of the burger are comprised in your #1 and #2. #3 gets the customer to desire your offering. In your paradigm, do you find that at each question, you have to come up with a few positioning and messaging statements to have a broader audience appeal?”

  • Andy Bartling

    September 26th, 2010 on 11:47 am

    Yes, in fact, the ‘3 Questions’ I discuss in this article are only half of a sound sales messaging strategy. The other half is having a strong brand positioning, which reveals underlying differentiation and relevance. Consider brand positioning the strategic side of messaging strategy–and the ‘3 Questions’ the tactical side, applying brand positioning to a specific sales situation. I’ll discuss this relationship in more detail in a later article.

  • Andy Bartling

    September 26th, 2010 on 11:50 am

    Corporate Writer Insider note: Here’s a comment from the Claude C. Hopkins Copywriter group on Linked In:

    “Wow, these are great. Worth reading every morning before talking with clients… “

  • Jeff McLean

    September 29th, 2010 on 9:36 am

    Your three principles are excellent. My only recommendation is to phrase the second question so you receive a positive response. A sales rule of thumb is “Never ask for a no.” Why? It puts the respondent in a “no” frame of mind (and preps them to say no when you close). Instead, you might ask, “Do you think your sales reps could benefit from a more productive use of their time, energy, and focus?” Since many sales managers will say “yes” to this, you’ve set up a “yes” pattern that may lead to a more effective close.. Just a suggestion.

  • Andy Bartling

    October 3rd, 2010 on 10:34 am

    Jeff, great suggestion. Thanks for the feedback. That’s what the Corporate Writer Insider community is all about: making the work better by sharing insights. Thanks again.