Your Mistakes in Business Communication have Nothing to do with Grammar


Look at any cookbook.

Find your favorite cake recipe.  Look at the ingredient list.  

Now, If you just bought the best ingredients on the list, could you bake your favorite cake?

No, you would have to follow  a recipe -measuring carefully since you are baking.


Writing an effective sales letter is a lot like baking.  You need to follow a recipe.  

Yet, most advice in this area consists of: concentrate on grammar, sentence length and punctuation.  Buy fine ingredients.  

Doesn't work for recipes & won't work for marketing communications.


Tom Sant is marvelously different in focusing our attention on selecting 'recipes before ingredients' in his The Language of Success.

"Over the years, I've come to believe that the worst mistakes in business communication have nothing to do with grammar or spelling or sentence complexity."

You can have masterful control over sentence construction and yet fail to communicate.  

"Instead, [mistakes] stem from using the wrong structural pattern, one that is not capable of achieving our purpose."

If we don't follow the correct recipe or format, we will obtain a poor result. This is critical to avoid if we are writing to persuade, convince or educate our clients.

For example, if we deliver flat, accurate, factual content, thinking that the facts alone will persuade our customer to buy, we have profoundly misunderstood the way [human] communication works."


Like using any recipe, you have to practice.  

Here is what I have found useful.  Re-write good sales pitches, using your own words. 


For example, I have used Sants' recipe for writing Nurture messages to create interest in the Franchise Info Nurture Marketing program, Stay in Touch with Qualified Clients until they are Ready To Buy from You.

It is really the oldest trick in the book.

First, I hand copied Tom's language, and then I rewrote each paragraph until it sounded more like me and less like Tom.  

Copying is critical because you are using those parts of your brain which control writing and speaking.  You are more likely to embed this into your own neural network doing this instead of just skimming  the "good bits".


This is Tom's language for selling an attorney on using client lead nurturing program.

The paragraph structure and emphasis is mine. (I expect people to skim more when reading text on a monitor, like you are doing right now.)

"For example, suppose you're an attorney specializing in probate issues with a practice aimed at helping families establish self-directed trusts to preserve their assets.

Why would a client come to you instead of a different attorney? Maybe because you were recommended? Maybe because she met you through some kind of community service work or social activity? Or maybe because you have regularly provided useful information that people appreciate?

Jim Cecil, the guru of nurture marketing, has found that sending out two or three messages doesn't have much impact on business. But by the time you have sent out eight or nine, good things start to happen.

Customers and prospects will have a "top-of-mind" awareness of you and your business after getting that many messages from you, so if they need the kinds of products or services you provide, they think of you first.

Sales will start to soar."

This is terrific language.  And it works.  For any attorney or professional that needs to keep in touch before they sell.

For more on nuturing, you might be interested in Stay in Touch with Qualified Clients until they are Ready To Buy from You.

Our Franchise Commmunity on LinkedIn


Best writer doesn't win the prize when it comes to getting new business, its the better communicator and connector.

Professionals who recognize that writing about problems and solutions in a way that readers can relate to is just something that they make part of their routine.

Hey guys! I cannot agree 100% with this post. While I most certainly agree that proper grammar and sentence structure is crucial you simply cannot use the same recipe to bake a chocolate, vanilla or sponge cake. They are all different and require different ingredients.

We have proven that all franchise candidates and/or clients are also different. While there are certainly "rules of conduct" we obey each person and each Franchise Navigator Profile requires their own unique "recipe."

Once we develop a company's High Performer Profile, we then assist them in creating an entire process to communicate best with their desired profile. That is why we are often retained to create their websites, email campaigns and recruitment advertisements.

So, while I do agree with Tom's basic principles, as they are spot on, there has to be consideration regarding who the audience is and how targeted you are in your messages.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Webster published on June 14, 2014 10:20 AM.

How Valuable is Twitter to Your Marketing? was the previous entry in this blog.

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