You Know What?

In which we learn a three word question that focuses our sales approaches. My mother, born in 1917 and raised in England, detested certain American turns of phrase, chief among them, "You know what?"  

She heard this frequently,  taking care of 3-year olds and 4-year olds in nursery school settings. “You know what?”   I can hear her voice almost spitting the words, making them so grotesque that most short people stopped using them, each stop a small victory for Crown, country, and the English language. Yet  it turns out that asking that question can help us focus sales presentations and letters.

I recently received a sales letter that began:

Dear Nicholas Miller (already very personal,  and I read on),

Many small businesses are unfamiliar with the importance of actively managing their business credit. In fact, it can be a critical driver to improving a company’s cash flow.

Effectively managing your business credit means monitoring both your own business credit and that of your customers and business partners.

Why manage your own business credit?

It may be used by banks and other businesses to determine important factors such as the rates you receive on loans, the premiums you pay for insurance, and the payment terms you are extended by vendors…

Why manage your customer’s business credit?

You will know the creditworthiness of your customers to make better decisions around who to extend credit to, how much and on what terms…

Inspiring? No.  Clear?  With time.   But… You know what? Attention spans are short. Get to the point.  Turns out that, detested English or not, asking “you know what?” about our sales presentations, letters, or emails can focus phrases fast.

You know what?  “Use credit reports. Sell to customers who pay.” Or, you know what?  “If you don’t use credit reports, you’ll sell to customers who won’t pay you and risk everything.”

You know what? While there are dozens more ways we can express this company’s ideas or our own, if we ask and answer this question, we will know what…. and be able to get on with it.

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