As a former high school English teacher, I have seen my fair share of poor grammar. My students would ask, “Who cares about grammar?” I would say, “Well, it’s the difference between ‘Let’s eat Grandma’ vs. ‘Let’s eat, Grandma.’ In the latter case, Grandma would care very much!” Something as simple as a missing comma can change a sentence’s meaning completely. Some students listened; some decided that sleeping on the desk was the better choice.
First impressions can make or break a deal.
The world of sales is extremely competitive and high pressure at times. The importance of making a quality impression on a prospect can weigh heavily on sales representatives as they do their best to close a deal. When going head-to-head with a competitor, having strong grammar skills can set one representative apart from another, giving them a competitive advantage. When competing against another company for the same prospect, impeccable grammar can:
- Create a higher endorsement over less grammar savvy sales rep.
- Ensure the lines of communication are clear and open.
- Show you care to be thorough and precise, which can reflect your quality of work.
- Make the company look better as a whole.
Unclear communication can also cause unnecessary anxiety in a potential client. Studies have shown that a person’s reaction to incorrect grammar can cause the brain to release adrenaline and cortisol, giving the feeling that they’re going into battle and ready to fight. So, when your prospects read incorrect grammar, you can literally awaken negative emotions. Try closing a deal with someone who is either ready to fight or ready to run away as fast as they can!
Your grammar skills directly impact business development.
When writing proposals and communicating expectations, a sales representative must be very careful that expectations and deliverables align — improper grammar can significantly cost companies. In fact, research reveals that people will leave a website when they spot spelling errors because it makes them think it’s a fake site. So, when something like a punctuation mark becomes the difference between eating Grandma or enjoying a nice family meal, the importance becomes clear: Confusion hurts the reader, directly hurting your sales.
Imagine the impact a communication mistake could have on a multimillion-dollar deal for a company. The number of dollar signs increases the importance of proper grammar in sales.
So, I say to my fellow sales representatives: The time has come to revisit those grammar rules. To remain competitive, sales reps will need to dig deep to channel the voice of their high school English teacher — and maybe even reach out to your former teachers to tell them they were right!