Nothing obscures the message in a sales piece as much as grammatical errors. Here are some homonyms – pairs of words with the same pronunciation but different meanings – that are often misused in writing.
“Go there at once.” or “You have completed enough of the test; you may stop there.”
Their is a pronoun, the possessive form of they. “They like their school and do their lessons well.”
Affect is a verb meaning to influence. “Cold weather can affect the health of elderly people.”
Effect is most often used as a noun, meaning result. “The medicine had an immediate effect.”
In formal English, effect can be used as a verb, meaning to bring about or execute.
They’re is a contraction of they are. “They’re spending the holidays at home.”
Who’s is a contraction of who is. “Who’s in charge here?”
Whose is a pronoun, the possessive form of who and which. “Whose shoes are under the couch?”
“The election results will effect a transfer of power.”
You’re is a contraction of you are. “You’re one of the finalists in the spelling bee.
It’s is the contraction for it is or it has. “It’s a girl!” or “It’s been raining for three days.
Its is a pronoun, the possessive form of it. “The dog wagged its tail.”
Your is a pronoun, the possessive form of you. “Your car is covered with dust from the construction site.”
For online help with writing, consult these sources:
There, Their, They’re
There is an adverb indicating place (literally or figuratively).
www.m-w.com (online version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary)
www.thesaurus.com (online version of Roget’s thesaurus)
Make It Convenient
C onvenience. It is such an important part of the sales process. Make it convenient for your customers to do business with you, and they will! Here are a few tricks to help make things convenient for customers.
Tip 1: Make it easy for customers to use the means they like best to reach you. How will you know what mode the customer prefers? You’ll have to ask! As part of the initial contact, determine whether your customer prefers personal visits, phone, FAX or e-mail as the usual means of contact. Then make sure the customer has your phone, FAX and e-mail information.
Tip 2: Conform to your customer’s accounts payable practices. Find out what the purchasing and accounts payable departments require to facilitate payment of your invoices and how they like to receive invoices. Find out what payment policies are so you don’t waste time and annoy the accounts payable department by unnecessary followup.
Tip 3: Be sure your store is easy to find. Review signage to be sure it is visible and in good repair. If your location is off the beaten path, consider having directions printed on the back of your business card. Add a map to your web site.
Tip 4: Provide a way for customers to contact you 24/7. For many customers, the traditional 40-hour work week is a fiction. Give customers a way to contact you when they are thinking about you – e-mail is an excellent method for back-and- forth communication.
Tip 5: Keep your web site useful and interesting. Provide relevant content on your web site so customers will think of it as a reference tool. Repeat visits by your customers for technical information, tips and tricks, frequently-asked questions and other useful material give you additional opportunities for contact.