Editing Sales Proposals.
I’m tempted to quote the famous wisdom, “there is no urge so great as for one man to edit another man’s work”.
It’s something I’ve done plenty of in my time. As manager, team-mate and all manner of tangential helper in and around.
I even stopped scrawling tips in red pen once because a schoolteacher told me it’s found to alienate the person who’s work it is.
Then there’s the rule to never use Microsoft Word’s annotation capabilities. Lawyers love them, but it is wholly unsuited for bettering Sales prose.
So I was delighted to learn another facet of such editing to add to the task. By way of a best-selling thriller-mystery author, Ruth Ware.
Her latest novel’s “lovely” editor has a technique “that was something that I’d never seen before but I thought was so clever”.
She added a column alongside on the manuscript where she put, ‘what I’m thinking now’.
Ruth gave a few examples on a recent promo tour interview;
- realising where she’d succeeded, she was going up the wrong garden path or had totally the wrong idea
- seeing where the reader revealed, ‘ooh, now I’m thinking this, this seems like a clue, I’m sure it’s him…’
- revelled in knowing, ‘yes, she’s suckered!’, ‘he’s a good suspect’, or ‘I’ve clearly got this completely wrong’
Then this delicious insight;
I think that if someone like your editor who’s reading really closely has got [something] wrong then clearly what hope has someone reading on a train between stops got?
How do you think your prospects read your delicately crafted Props?
On their humdrum commute, as quick-fills between meetings, deskwiching, with constant interruptions out on the office floor, with constant interruptions at home?
When I’ve seen other people’s editing comments on printouts, they are overwhelmingly restricted to the sentence-rewrite kind. Mere grammar corrections more than seeking to heighten the selling impact of the overall piece. The kind of futility that wastes most time allotted to choosing fonts rather than what they actually write.
So bringing this extra mindset axis to your editing I feel is a winner. Who you do it for might even think you “lovely” too.