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When I am asked what skill I have learned in the last 17 years in business that has helped me the most, the answer is somewhat of a surprise to many. It isn’t a PowerPoint technique or speaking skill, although I have learned a lot in both of those important areas. The most important skill I have learned is writing sales copy.

If you can’t explain what you do for a prospect and how it can help their business, you won’t get hired. And without a sale, you can’t deliver your service, and you don’t have a business. Learning how to write sales copy helps explain why someone should hire you and it is useful in both written and verbal formats. When I am having a conversation with a prospect, I use the same skills as when I am writing my customized workshops page on my website.

How did I learn to write sales copy? I studied it. I first heard about some of the ideas from other professional speakers, and remember getting an audio tape from Tom Antion years ago. My first serious commitment to learning sales copy was investing in a course by AWAI (the American Writers and Artists Inc.). I paid for their flagship course (http://www.awaionline.com/copywriting/learn/make-six-figures/) when it was still delivered in a big binder (it is now all online). It taught me the fundamentals, which were so valuable. Practicing the ideas on my own site pages helped refine the skills.

More recently I study the ideas that Rainmaker (formerly known as Copyblogger) publishes. They have a ton of free articles on their site at Copyblogger.com. They also offer a copywriting certification course and they are more focused on writing for online purposes, such as websites, emails, landing pages, etc. I have written for them, paid to attend their events and joined their communities. They are a model for giving away valuable free information to build their business.

One book that I found useful along the way is “The Everything Guide to Writing Copy” by Steve Slaunwhite. What I like about this book is the step-by-step approach he teaches. I find following a process easier for me, so this approach appeals to my natural way of working. I also know Steve personally and he teaches other copywriters how to write and create a business, so he actually practices what he preaches so you know it works in the real world.

A series of ebooks by Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers is also a good resource. Joanna offers some free videos and a lot of articles on her website at Copyhackers.com (a note: Joanna uses somewhat edgy language when she writes; don’t let that distract you from the solid information she provides). The ebooks are available in their shop at https://copyhackers.com/shop/. The best value is one of the bundles. You can get a free ebook by signing up for their email list if you want to check them out first before buying. Her focus is more on startups and the tech space, but for online conversion of visitors to prospects to customers, her info is rock solid.

If you haven’t learned much about writing great sales copy, I suggest it as an area to put on your development list. I’d start with the free info at Copyblogger and Copyhackers, then build from there.