A Quick Grammar Trick to Improve Freelance Sales
Success in freelance writing isn’t just about putting words to the page: It’s a matter of selling your skills, your services, and yourself. For many freelancers, the business side is a more daunting challenge than the technical side – but it doesn’t have to be.
Since we’re writers, it makes sense to leverage our language skills and word choices to be more persuasive. In grammar, there’s an inclusive we, which means you’re including the addressee, and an exclusive we, which means you aren’t. (Neither should be confused with the royal we, which is just…well, being pretentious by referring to yourself in the third person.)
What I’d like to suggest to you today is the power of using the inclusive we during the sales process. I would argue that it’s particularly important for a freelancer, but it’s really applicable in any consultative situation. Whether I’m in a prospective client meeting or communicating in an email, the sooner I can get a prospect to perceive me as a member of his or her team, the better. A few examples:
- Outside Consultant Voice: “Your 1,000-email database makes an e-newsletter an affordable option.”
- Team Member Voice: “We’ve got so many emails, it’ll be a slam-dunk to generate ROI for our e-newsletter.”
- Outside Consultant Voice: “What’s my deadline?”
- Team Member Voice: “When do we need to have this project completed?”
- Outside Consultant Voice: “I think you should change the headline.”
- Team Member Voice: “We can make our headline stronger by changing it to X-Y-Z.”
You’re planting a seed in the client’s head – that you’re a member of their team, rather than a hired gun – by being conscious of the words you use. Of course, you don’t want to overdo it or make the shift too abruptly, or you may risk coming across as presumptuous (or pompous, a.k.a., being mistaken for the royal we). The inclusive we requires building a foundation of basic rapport for it to be credible – and that’s ultimately a matter of being sensitive to the client’s demeanor. (Which happens to be one of the most important sales skills, too!)
So, are we all on the same page? I thought so.
Jake “Dr. Freelance” Poinier is the author of The Science, Art and Voodoo of Freelance Pricing and Getting Paid. Sign up to receive a free copy of his upcoming ebook, The Smooth-Sailing Freelancer, at DearDrFreelance.com.