6 Simple Tips for Payment Processing Sales Agents to Improve Written CommunicationAgent & ISOs

6 Simple Tips for Payment Processing Sales Agents to Improve Written Communication

Last Updated on May 1, 2024

True or false: Writing is a necessary skill for sales.

If you didn’t immediately answer “true,” you need to rethink some things.

The payments industry is a labyrinth of complex regulations, evolving technologies, and diverse customer needs. As a sales agent in this space, the ability to communicate via the written word is a necessity.

However, many sales agents are not confident in their writing skills. They do enough to get by, but would rather just pick up the phone and talk it out.

In many ways, a verbal conversation is easier and more effective. But in sales, written communication is just as important as verbal communication. It allows for clear and concise messaging that:

  1. can be referenced later on.
  2. avoids miscommunication or misunderstandings.
  3. helps establish a professional image.

By improving your writing skills, you can more effectively break down complex concepts into understandable terms for their clients. This not only helps in clarifying the payments industry for your clients, but also positions you as a knowledgeable and reliable advisor.

Here are six simple yet powerful tips to hone your writing and elevate your communication game.

Laptop with AI symbol on screen in a futuristic office

1. Take Advantage of AI Writing Tools

AI writing tools have become increasingly popular as a means to enhance efficiency and creativity in  all types of writing.  These tools can help check your grammar, suggest alternative vocabulary, and even offer templates for various types of documents. Utilizing these tools not only saves time but also helps you catch any mistakes or inconsistencies that may have slipped through the cracks.

However, these tools are far from perfect. If not used correctly, your clients will be able to tell and you will lose credibility with them. They will start to question whether you really know what you’re talking about, or if you’re just relying on AI to answer their questions.

Knowing how to utilize AI is a skill in itself. Here’s a few suggestion to help you make the most out of these tools:

  • Write Detailed Prompts — The more thorough your instructions, the better suggestions you will receive. Instead of just typing “write an email,” explain the goal of the email, who you’re writing to, and any specific tone or language requirements. The more details you provide, the better equipped the AI will be to assist you.
  • Stay Authentic — Don’t let AI writing tools alter your unique voice and personality. Remember that it’s just a tool to enhance your writing, not replace it. Use these tools as a guide and make necessary adjustments to maintain your authentic tone.
  • Proofread Thoroughly — Even the most advanced AI tools can miss mistakes or suggest incorrect grammar. Always proofread your writing before sending it out to ensure accuracy and professionalism.

Your clients want to work with you, not a robot. By using AI tools effectively, you can enhance the overall quality of your writing without sacrificing your personal touch. 

Professional working on a holographic interface with futuristic cityscape in the background

2. Create an Outline

One of the common mistakes people make with written communication to clients is not having a clear structure or direction. We’ve all received an email that started with one topic and ended with something completely unrelated. 

To avoid this, it’s helpful to create an outline before diving into the actual writing process. This will not only help you stay on topic, but it will also help create better prompts if you utilize an AI writing tool.  

There are many ways to create an outline. I like to keep things and focus on these three key elements when I write:

  • Goal — What is the purpose, intent, or objective of this communication? Are you persuading or informing?
  • Audience — Are you writing to one or multiple people? How much do they know about the topic? Is this your first time contacting/interacting with them? What motivates them?
  • Dates and details — What do they need to know in order to accomplish your goal? Are there deadlines or important dates they need to be aware of?

Answering these questions ahead of time will help keep you focused and help you communicate more effectively. It can also act as a checklist to ensure you covered everything you intended to before you push send. 

Now, if you’re thinking that creating an outline for a simple email is unnecessary or a waste of time, consider this a formal challenge. Before you write your next email — especially if it’s to a new client — take a moment to physically write down the answers to the question above. I guarantee it will help write the best email of your career to date.  

Astronaut reading documents in a futuristic spaceship interior

3. Format for Scanning, Not Reading

Let’s be honest, no one reads every sentence anymore. People skim, scan, and scroll through content at lightning speed. You’re not reading every word of this blog post. So, why would you assume your clients read every word of your emails?

It’s essential to format your writing in a way that makes it easy for your clients to quickly find the information they need.

  • Create white space — White space refers to the empty areas surrounding different elements on a page, such as text, images, and headings. Utilizing white space to break up large chunks of text can enhance visual hierarchy, underscore key information, and improve the text’s scannability.
  • Keep paragraphs short — You were probably taught that paragraphs need to be 3-5 sentences long. That is not the case in business writing. Generally, you want to keep your paragraphs under 3 sentences. There are some exceptions, but shorter paragraphs will help your content look more digestible and increase the chances of your clients reading in more detail.
  • Use bullet points or numbered lists — Bullet points and lists can help you reduce the length of your paragraphs, add white space, and increase clarity. This is especially true when writing instructions or step-by-step processes.
  • Highlight important information — Bold, italics, and different font colors can help words or phrases stand out from the rest of the text. This is beneficial if you need to draw attention to dates, regulations, rewards/consequences, etc.

Formatting your writing for scanning can make a significant difference in how your clients read your emails. Remember, the easier it is to read, the more likely it is that people will actually take the time to read it.

Businessman in glasses writing in notebook against neon-lit cityscape at night

4. Omit Needless Words

This tip comes from Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug.

People often use flowery language or over-explain instead of getting straight to the point. AI tools are particularly bad at being concise. I strongly recommend following Krug’s Third Law of Usability:

Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.

It sounds challenging, but it will help you clarify your message and improve your writing skills.  Here are some tips for omitting needless words:

  • Eliminate filler phrases — Phrases like “in order to,” “as a matter of fact,” and “due to the fact that” can usually be replaced with simpler alternatives. For example, instead of saying “In order to achieve our goal,” you could say, “To achieve our goal.”
  • Avoid redundancy — Be mindful of repeating the same information multiple times. It’s unnecessary and can make your writing sound repetitive and less impactful.
  • Cut out jargon or technical terms — Unless you’re writing to someone with experience in the payments industry, it’s best to avoid using industry-specific words or acronyms. Your goal is to make it easy for someone without payment experience to understand.
  • Use active voice Active voice makes sentences more direct and engaging. It also helps you avoid using unnecessary words like “was,” “were,” or “had been.” For example, instead of saying “The report was written by Sarah,” say, “Sarah wrote the report.”

Cutting out the unnecessary will make your communication more concise, clear, and effective.

Close-up view of a pair of glasses on a wooden surface with mountain scenery clearly visible through the lenses, while everything else remains blurry.

5. Prioritize Clarity

Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. When it comes to written communication, following grammar rules (and the tips mentioned above) can greatly improve clarity. However, there may be times when breaking a rule actually makes your writing clearer.

In those cases, always prioritize clarity over strict adherence to grammar guidelines. The following tips will also help increase clarity.

Don’t Overuse Pronouns

While pronouns can lend a friendly, conversational tone, excessive use can lead to confusion. 

  • Less clear: Fred and Ted both attended the meeting. He told me he was impressed with his performance.

Who was impressed by whose performance? It’s hard to tell. Avoid using the same pronoun — in this case “he” — to represent multiple nouns (i.e. people) in one sentence.

  • More clear: Fred and Ted both attended the meeting. He told me he was impressed with Ted’s performance.

Make Dates Specific

You cannot assume that someone is going to read your email on the same day you send it. If your clients have to play detective to figure out deadlines, their chances of completing it on-time drop significantly.

  • Less clear: Please respond with your preference before next Friday so we can submit the order.
  • More clear: Please respond with your preference before Friday, June 2 so we can submit the order.

Use Consistent Terminology

Inconsistent terminology can cause confusion for your clients. Use the same word to refer to the same concept throughout your document or email.

  • Less clear: Our company provides basic and premium subscription plans. The basic plan offers our most popular features and benefits, while the premium plan gives you access to additional tools and perks. Let me know if you’d like to become a Gold or Silver member.
  • More clear: Our company offers two membership options: Silver and Gold. Our Silver membership provides our most popular features and benefits, while our Gold membership offers additional tools and perks. Let me know if you’d like to become a Gold or Silver member.

Clarity should never be an afterthought in written communication. Take the time to ensure that your writing is concise, consistent, and easy to understand. This will help you avoid confusion and save you time in the long run.

Close-up of a hand holding a red pen over a document with neon cityscape reflection

6. Always Proofread

Typos happen, it’s inevitable. Even Grammarly is not foolproof. It is essential to always proofread your content before sending it. The following tips can help you minimize mistakes:

  • Have someone else read your writing — You know what you’re trying to say, which means you might automatically and unintentionally overlook mistakes. Having another person proofread can help catch things you’d otherwise miss. However, an unqualified proofreader can also introduce mistakes into your writing. Choose carefully.
  • Walk away for five minutes — If you don’t have a reliable proofreader (or are working on a confidential matter) walk away from your desk for at least five minutes. Think about anything other than what you’re working on. You’ll come back with fresh eyes and be able to catch more mistakes.
  • Read it out loud — Reading out loud forces you to see every word on the page. This makes it easier to notice and correct mistakes you would have otherwise missed.

No one is perfect. I’m a professional writer, but I constantly catch mistakes in my work. There’s probably a few typos in this very blog post. The good news is most people aren’t grammar experts and won’t notice minor mistakes. If you don’t notice any obvious or distracting typos, you should feel confident moving forward.

Astronaut with a reflective visor against a cosmic backdrop of stars and galaxies

Final Thoughts

Quality written communication is an indispensable skill for success in sales. By following these six simple tips, you can polish your writing skills and elevate your reputation with your clients. 

With AI writing tools at your disposal, creating outlines for structure, formatting for scanning rather than reading, being concise, prioritizing clarity, and always proofreading, you can significantly improve your written communication skills.

Furthering Your Success

Nexio is a payment processor with more than 15 years of experience in the industry. Founded by independent sales agents, we understand and appreciate the grit and tenacity required to be successful in this field.

We are committed to helping our agents thrive as payment processing experts. If you’re ready to take your sales career to the next level, join Nexio’s agent network today!

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