“I sell stuff, not grammar.” It’s easy for many business owners to say this; playing down the importance of good grammar in business.
First impressions affect the outcomes of a variety of interpersonal encounters. In sales encounters, a prospective customer’s first impression of a salesperson affects how the prospect views both the seller’s business and his or her products. When first encounters occur through written material, bad grammar can hurt your business in many ways. Here are just five of them:
1. Lower your credibility
Using poor grammar in your presentation, discussion, papers, proposals, emails, and online content, etc., would generally lower your credibility – as perceived by the reader or listener. Poor grammar invites the reader to flag your email as spam on the first sentence. That’s because spammers, in general, are notoriously ungrammatical.
Ungrammatical content discredits you at first sight. It sends a message of sloppiness, and consequentially, a red flag to your competence and professionalism.
You want to be perceived as credible and influential? Then keep your grammatical errors at bay, or at least to the barest minimum.
2. Scare prospects away
Would you do business with someone who can’t even express himself correctly, or someone too lazy to tidy up her writing? I bet you wouldn’t.
When bad grammar lowers your credibility, prospects begin to doubt you and your ability, and then they’re too scared to do business with you. Alas, you lose them to the competition.
Proof: Research conducted by Global Lingo (https://realbusiness.co.uk/poor-grammar-on-websites-scares-59-away/) found that 59% of Britons would not use a company with poor grammar on its website.
3. Mislead prospects
Needless to say, you can pass on the wrong message to your reader by using bad grammar and misspellings. A simple blunder could change the meaning of a whole paragraph, if not the whole article.
If you’re still finding it hard to wrap your head around how bad grammar or misspellings can mislead your prospect, just consider the classic Mr. Bones, “toilet vs. to let”, situation. Imagine Bones your prospect.
4. Affect search rankings
Search engines always try to offer searchers the best results for their queries. And this includes displaying the well-written content above others in its space. Now imagine what happens to a badly written article.
While Google hasn’t expressly confirmed that it considers spelling and grammatical errors in ranking sites, other search engines like Bing have confirmed that blunders affect their content ranking. They believe if humans will find it hard to understand your content, search robots too will have a hard time with it.
In other words, you want to avoid spelling and grammatical errors on your website and in your content as much as possible.
5. Distract readers
Trust me, you don’t want readers of your messages focusing on your spelling and grammatical blunders instead of the core of those messages. That’s what bad grammar does: dilutes your message and makes the reader lose interest as the flow of your message is constantly being disturbed by your poor writing. Your content is ultimately trashed.
I have had a headache understanding the language in the User Manual of one otherwise great electrical gadget. The gadget lost its appeal to me because of the shoddiness in that guide booklet. Bad grammar generally suggests sloppiness in business practices, and this will most likely put off whoever wants to do business with you. To avoid this, always ensure your business materials look professional and are without blunders. Invest in professional editors and proofreaders if you have to. You only have one chance to make a good first impression, so make yours count. This is where I come in. At a nominal fee, I can edit and proofread your product manuals, brochures, circulars, emails and so on.
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