Writer’s block or word anxiety? Moving forward from the previous article, “You Assume I Know Where to Start?” we now have to start the story. How about an example?
Using the answers from our fictitious company, we can experiment with two approaches to staring our story using the basics. This article is about your first sentence, which is the start to your story and the most important piece of communication in your brochure, website or presentation.
- Identify who they are and if they are your type of customer
- Understand who you are and what your products and services are
- Recognize where you can do business
- Know when you work and when your customers can contact you
- Review why your services or product are needed and why your business is the best choice
- Get clear instructions on how to do business with you, how to start and what to expect
Yes, I am repeating topics from the previous article, not only to remind us of our earlier discussion, but to reinforce the importance of these topics. In the above bulleted list, notice how I rephrased and paraphrased the repetitive concepts of Who, What, Where, When, Why and How? Keep this redundancy in mind, because you can use this technique when you write about your business.
How Should I Say It?
One approach is to be inviting and helpful which works well with customers who are knowledgable and experienced. These customers want to work with a business and actively participate in the delivery of the product and service.
A second type of customer wants a bold approach. Make bold statements when dealing with customers who want you to handle the details and delivery of the product or service to them. These customers want to see confidence and don’t want to be teased with details.
Blunt is Good
For either type of customer, being blunt and direct is good. Let’s get started on turning the previous answers into a story. Here’s a pattern that you can use if you are really stuck on getting started.
Suggesting our participation, like an invitation (less aggressive)
At [ Company Name ], we [ verb like help / support / guide / advise ] [ type of business ] [ verbs fitting our service ] [ product / service ].
Stating our details, like an announcement (bold, confident — fitting customers that need a final product and not detials)
[ Company Name ] is [ our type of business ] serving [ our type of customer ] in [ location or other limits ].
Really! Blunt and direct is good. The most frustrating brochures, websites and fliers use vague or generalized descriptions that don’t say who I am and who I serve. Be blunt – it’s good and helps customers quickly identify you.
From the previous article, here are the first three answers and let’s roll these answers into 1 sentence!
“Who am I?
I am a business that is promoting engineering to industrial and commercial manufacturers.
Who is my (ideal) client?
Established commercial and manufacturing clients located within my state.
What does my business offer?
Mechanical engineering services, specifically manufacturing products and systems. We help manufacturers plan the fabrication and construction of a part or whole manufacturing line.”
And, the Answer Is —
An inviting first sentence of your story could be:
“At Spectacular Engineering Ltd, we help California-based manufacturers and commercial businesses plan and construct their manufacturing systems.”
If your business has customers that want a finished product or service and do not participate in the the details, the sentence could be:
“Spectacular Engineering Ltd plans and constructs manufacturing and commercial assembly systems for California-based industries.”
Take a look at the subtle differences in the sentences. This is actually a subtle hint at “passive” and “active” voices in writing, but don’t worry about your early English lessons, think about who your (ideal) customer is, who your company is and what your product or service is.
That’s It. I am Done!
Well, no — you are not quite done writing yet.
How does your customer reach you? When are you available? Why would a customer choose you over any other company? If I’m ready to buy, what’s next?
Those questions might look like a swarm of mosquitos, but that’s actually a cloud of profitable, enjoyable business swarming from the heavens. Keep your ideal customer in mind, even if several of your active and paying projects are not the work you want. You are speaking to the customers you want to serve and you will best serve.
Embrace being direct. Be simple and clear. See you in the next article, where we will make a strong finish.