Communication is key to success in work and life. Our words matter more than we’ll ever know. Think of all the emotionally charged conversations you’ve had with friends or family that went off the rails because of miscommunication or misunderstanding.
It’s no different in the workplace, which is why I strongly believe that every business owner, self-employed individual or person involved in sales should have a handy document that they can share with a prospective customer explaining what makes them unique and worthy of earning new business.
Much to my amazement, however, I have learned that most of us haven’t taken this important step forward. We tend to be complacent, fearful of coming across as boastful or arrogant, or simply don’t make this a top priority.
How do I know this? It started in 2020 when the pandemic blew a gaping hole in my career as a journalist and short-form ghostwriter, and I decided to revisit a happy accident from a decade prior: ghostwriting books. So I launched a campaign on LinkedIn with the help of Bjarne Viken, an outstanding lead specialist in Australia who helped me find clients for whom a ghostwriter was needed to organize and articulate whatever narrative they had in mind for a published book.
As part of the dozens of conversations I had with prospects, there was always a “down-selling” option on the table for those who were reluctant to make a commitment of this magnitude or didn’t quite have the budget for it.
In a nutshell, I would help them make a compelling case for why they should be hired – a “manifesto” about their unique skillset and knowledge, if you will. Manifesto you say? That has become a loaded word since the “Unabomber Manifesto,” 1995 anti-technology essay by Ted Kaczynski who is serving eight consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole for horrific acts of home-grown terrorism. But you’d be surprised how that word – and my Unabomber reference – really got people’s attention. I also found that it added some levity and humanized the service I was offering.
And in the end, that’s exactly the point I was trying to convey – to pique interest and stand out from the crowd in a competitive climate. We all possess certain traits or strengths that make us unique and highly marketable.
The goal is to distinguish ourselves in a free market wherein the competition may be intense, but also to as I just suggested, humanize ourselves to people with whom may enjoy a fruitful business partnership. Being able to email a one or two-page PDF or Word document much like a brochure featuring a photo along with an expertly written narrative that summarizes our capabilities will offer a meaningful taste of what we could bring to the table. As a ghostwriter, my aim is to always produce a compelling deliverable that someone can be proud of when trying to grow their business.