Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
Oct. 8, 2021

#168 S2 Episode 37 - Working Her Dream Writing Job to Helping Sellers With Communicate Better with Tara Horstmeyer

On this episode of the Sales Transformation Podcast with Tara Horstmeyer, the founder at Happy Words, strategic advisor at Dooly, and a very passionate writer.

Tara brings on the energy and passion in this episode as she talks about how writing, taking your product, and thinking of it as your own makes all the difference in the world of sales. Juicy advice is also shared as to what tools you'd need to be better at writing especially for sales. All this and more, what are you waiting for? Listen now!


00:36 How it all started for Tara and how she continues her sales journey

06:12 What resources Tara recommends to people who are struggling with writing in sales

08:23 How salespeople are caught up in finding that perfect template and why you shouldn't chase it

16:54 How writing is more than that, it's about communicating and conviction and what it brings to the table in sales

21:55 How to find out more and connect with Tara and her realm


04:33 "If you just dedicate yourself to getting a little better, to getting a little bit wiser, to knowing where to look. It doesn't even need to be inside of you per se, but knowing what tools to use, what hacks, what shortcuts, what secrets out there that you can implement that aren't like 'wow, I woke up to this great idea so now I'm a writer,' ... writing is just much about being savvy and about being smart as sales as being smart."

09:14 "Sales is creativity. So as much as we kind of want to hit on the repeatable process and we should within that, the more margin we give ourselves for creativity and the less we're trying to find that silver bullet. The more we're actually able to find the silver bullet."

14:42 "If you're not confident in what you do or what you sell, or what you're pitching, or whatever. How on Earth is someone else going to be?"

15:32 "If you just bridge that gap even in the meantime while you're learning, while you're doing that with passion, with confidence ... and believing in that goes so far to communicate. Not just what you're communicating, it's so much less about the what than what we tend to realize and it's so much more about the how and the connection point."

17:35 "Just go write the thing, script the thing, do the thing that you were meant to do. Stop looking into everybody else to do what only you can do, to say it only the way you can say it."

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[00:00:00] In the world of sales, you either sink or swim or breakthrough to the next level. My name's Colin Mitchell, and this is sales transformation, a new kind of sales show designed to bring you through the epic life-changing moments of elite sellers. So you can experience your own sales transformation.

[00:00:24] All right. Welcome to another episode of sales transformation as always. I've got a fantastic guest for you today. I've got a tear, a horse. Uh, she's the founder over at happy words. We've connected a while back on LinkedIn and saw some content that she put out recently and knew that I needed to have her on the show there.

[00:00:42] Thanks so much for coming on. How are you? Ah, I'm doing awesome. Thank you for having me. I'm excited. Yeah, I know we're going to have fun. So, um, let's just kinda dig in in the beginning. And where did it start for you? And then let's kind of walk through your experience in sales. Um, and I know you have a [00:00:59] bit of a interesting story and experience, um, and I'm, we're going to get into that.

[00:01:02] So let's where did it all start? Yeah. So my career journey, it's so funny. People look at me and they're like, for sure, you're like seven or 12, like no way you've got literally almost two decades worth of experience, but I can prove it. You know, I've got the gray hairs. If you look a little closely, but my journey really started a back, you know, way back when, but specifically when I was in college and knew, and I've always known, I love words.

[00:01:27] I love people. I love stories. I love writing all of that. I don't think anybody wakes up and says, Hey. That's what I want to do, except for me. Sorry. I had to say it. Yeah. There are people that would just wake up and know it. How are we gonna put words around it? But I loved getting in conversations with people and moving them to where they needed to go.

[00:01:51] So at the end of it all, probably, you know, sales, and that was something that came in later than I realized, oh gosh, I have actually. [00:01:58] For this, and now I have a definition for it. So before then, I just thought I was like really great at writing and really great at speaking and communicating. And that just really led me into my first career, which was in journalism and specifically in the newspaper side of things, as on the editorial desk.

[00:02:17] Um, what type of things would you write about? So I had the awesome privilege of working in sports. So a lot of people don't know this about me, but my first fashion yes. Was journalism. Then a close second is, is sports. And so I worked on the sports desk and worked with our reporters. Specifically at people may not love this, but it was in Gainesville, Florida, my Alma mater at the university of Florida.

[00:02:42] So everything that we covered really was all around Gator, sports and football. And so imagine being a 22 year old, fresh out of college and even in college, my last year, working nights and weekends, uh, covering games, current sports, [00:02:57] and then helping the reporters do their. So working on the newspaper after they would go.

[00:03:01] So that was, that was what I got to do. And I actually got paid for it, which is amazing. Oh, my goodness. It sounds like your dream job. Why would you ever leave that? Because you get paid, but you don't get paid much and it's nights and weekends. If you've got that. So as again, a 22, 23 year old, eight is tough saying, oh guys, guess what?

[00:03:24] When do sports happen? They happen on Fridays and Saturdays and through the weeks that they're all starting to go out and have fun in my day would start at 4:00 PM and would end, you know, the second edition, depending on late games, anywhere from 11 to 12 to one, uh, in the morning. And so, you know, Back in the early two thousands, but we ha we had cell phones and I would still be like, I'm missing all the fun.

[00:03:47] Uh, so that was hard for me, but it really was like the one job that I'm like, I would go back, you know, maybe in retirement and volunteer and just hang out in the [00:03:56] sports. Yeah. Yeah. Now, I guess from there, you sort of developed what I am going to call your sales superpower, right? Because I mean like writing and words and communication, like those are skills that don't come natural for a lot of salespeople, even myself.

[00:04:15] I don't like writing very much. I have to force myself to do it. I'm supposed to be writing a book right now, but I've made not a lot of progress. And I've forced myself to start a blog writing habit where I'm trying to do like one to two blogs a week. Um, and it just doesn't come natural for me. And I think that's the case with a lot of salespeople.

[00:04:34] Um, but having that skill and that experience is like a sales super. It really is. And it's like one of those underrated skills that even if you just get one, you know, we love the 1% better, 1% better, but really, if you just dedicate yourself to getting a little bit better, to getting a little [00:04:55] bit wiser, to knowing where to look, that's what I would say.

[00:04:57] It doesn't even need. The side of you per se, but knowing what tools to use, what hacks, what shortcuts, what secrets out there that you can implement that aren't like, wow, I woke up with this great idea. So now I'm a writer. It's not that it's just knowing where to look as it is deploying it. So it's just a writing it's as much.

[00:05:17] Savvy and about being smart as sales is about being savvy and about being smart. Not that you wa you woke up with these natural inclinations and tendencies, but where we get better and where we can really hone in, especially in a skill, a hard skill, like writing and copywriting and writing to persuade and writing to move people.

[00:05:34] It really just takes a little bit of effort and intentionality, but once you say, Hey, this is something I'm going to focus on. It's amazing. The results you're going to get in. It's truly amazing when you stop and think how much of sales is writing. Even if we're speaking so much, it starts with a script.

[00:05:51] It starts with an outline. It starts with moving your [00:05:54] words inside to moving them outside of you onto paper. And then to speaking. Yeah. Yeah. I just interviewed a copywriter. Uh, that's coming out next week. And one hack that he said is like, so a lot of people maybe are uncomfortable writing, but they're very comfortable with the pitch.

[00:06:11] So you can actually just record your pitch. And then transcribe that and then take some takeaways to sort of like craft some good, you know, emails or posts or whatever it is, you know, um, that you're trying to accomplish. But I'm curious, um, because you mentioned something that definitely peak my interest is hacks and tools and things.

[00:06:30] So I'm curious, what resources, uh, would you recommend for people that are feel like there may be struggling with their writing capabilities in their sales role? So I would say specifically you have to get. So that's just kind of like bar none. And what it does is it just helps take off, uh, just fluffy phrases, fluffy words.

[00:06:48] It really helps, can make and concise and actually communicate what you want to [00:06:53] communicate in a clear way. And then I hope everybody is using this already for their email, but if you don't and they don't pay me, I am wearing purple today. But. It's a no-brainer, it's one of those things that it's like, I do so much over email.

[00:07:06] Why not? But the cool thing about using these tools is it's not just the tools themselves is they give you eight, you're getting a constant lesson, a constant lesson to where hopefully more and more, as you're saying, oh gosh, it's shortening this phrase. Or it's taking out this redundant word, things like that.

[00:07:22] You're subconsciously learning how to write. Even if it's cleaning up your own writing and especially the dictation piece is so crucial, it's literally the number one tip. I love that your copywriter did that, that I give to people when it comes to both writing and then editing themselves is making sure everything that you do ends up audibly, whether you are starting there and then ending with writing, or you're starting with writing, and then you're ending speaking it out loud because you want it to sound natural and you want it to sound conversational.

[00:07:51] Yeah, [00:07:52] I'm a little late to the game. I'll admit it with lavender, but maybe it's something I need to check out. You've you've convinced me. It needs to help. It helps when you're working with good people that actually put out a really good product. So, yeah. And I mean, the thing is, is the more you do it with anything you're going to get better at it.

[00:08:12] I mean, I can't, I would consider myself not a great writer, um, and. When I do write a good email, which happens occasionally, and then I get some good response. I'm so pumped. Yeah. Yeah. Um, but the thing is, is you can't, you know, you gotta be creative. You've got to like always be coming up with new ideas and you know, what works in one scenario is not going to work in another.

[00:08:40] And I think so many salespeople are very caught up in trying to look for like, Perfect template and it doesn't exist. Well, [00:08:51] if it does, here's the problem with perfection and here's the problem with templates, you know? And, and I love them all. Like I want to be perfect. I want to write a template that I don't have to keep repeating, but once it actually works and becomes, you know, something that other people see or catch on or start to use themselves.

[00:09:06] Cause I know when I was an SDR manager, I would have a rep or somebody reach out to me and use a killer line or something. I was like, oh, heck yes, I'm using this in my next email. And so things start to become what was once, um, you know, kind of breaking the mold. It becomes the mold eventually. So that's the thing that I think it's, it's deeper for sales reps of remembering sales is creativity.

[00:09:28] I think Andy Paul said this, um, in one of his books, but sales is creativity. And so as much as we want to kind of hit on the repeatable process and we should, within that. The more margin we give ourselves for creativity and the less we're trying to kind of find that silver bullet, the more we're actually able to find the silver bullet, which doesn't make sense.

[00:09:48] But when you actually [00:09:50] step back and put yourself in your reader's shoes or responder shoes of like, Hey, what gets my attention? What stands out and then how can I constantly, like you were saying, you know, tweak it for the persona, tweak it for this person. On the other side, you actually become more creative in a space where you may have thought, oh gosh, I was seeking, you know, just something to follow step-by-step when actually the steps that you need to follow are the creative ones that don't have steps that just come from you, thinking on your feet and responding and acting like a normal human and writing that way.

[00:10:23] Yeah, love that. Acting like a normal human yeah. Stop acting like a robot and get the creative juices flowing, uh, low almost subscriber of the Andy Paul fan club as well. So you're in good company. Um, but here's the thing. A lot of it starts at the top, right? Like the leadership has got to have an environment that allows self.[00:10:49] 

[00:10:49] To flex their creativity. Right? Cause I think in a lot of times, you know, if you know the leadership is I here's the script we use, here's the templates we use. You've got, there's gotta be that autonomy to be able to like, think out on your own, to come up with what works for you to get the results and not just rely on what's provided to you.

[00:11:08] Absolutely. And this is where I think we kind of. Move a little bit, not away from being a sales rep, but to truly, what does it mean to lead and what does it mean to lead up? You know, what does it mean to challenge the norms? I have a lot of comments on kind of this whole scenario, just because I've been on both sides of it.

[00:11:24] I've been, you know, the STR I've been the manager. I've been around people in places that I know don't value that, and I've been lucky enough to be in places and around people that do value it. So there's no, um, oh, you know, I'm looking down on this or not. It's just knowing how to navigate the actual environment that, that it is.

[00:11:43] Cause there's, there's. We would all love to say, Hey, I work for this amazing company that [00:11:48] gives me free reign to do anything. And then there's real of like, well, they done the deed. Somebody was creative at some point to actually make the script and to do all of that. And if you're handed. Now, what do you do?

[00:12:01] And that's why I love the question where it moves into leadership more than it even does the script or the creativity. It's it really becomes a question of whenever I have any idea that challenges, the way things have always been done or the way things they say, he said, she says, I need to do this for whatever reason, how do I now do that?

[00:12:20] But fully given the reality of my situation, maybe it's not ideal, but given the reality and how do I approach those conversations? You know? So that's where I love moving into, again, more of like, Hey, what is the leadership of that sales rep look like? And how can I challenge the norms while holding pace and holding respect of knowing, okay, this is, this is my leader.

[00:12:41] You know, this is my manager. This is how they do it. And I don't want to come in guns ablazing saying, you [00:12:47] suck, I'm going to do this. It's more of a. How can I honor you respect you respect the process that led to this template or led to this script while also saying, Hey, there could be room for me to experiment to try a little bit and where can we meet in the middle?

[00:13:01] And that's where the confidence of a sales rep that new. You know, believes in their creativity, believes in their ability to move the needle meets with their respect. And so it's really not even what you're having a conversation about. It's how you're approaching that conversation with your management, with your leadership while also trusting that there was a process to.

[00:13:19] You know, to that script that you are now being handed, or maybe shoved down her throat. Hopefully it's not being shoved down your throat, but maybe, maybe I've heard worse. Uh, you know, but, but yeah, what a, what an interesting balancing act you described it. But the one thing that I think is really important that I want to touch on a little bit is.

[00:13:45] [00:13:46] Confidence. Right. So having that autonomy to be creative, to do things, to make things your own. And look, I'm not trying to settle the debate of like templates and scripts are not templates and scripts because I think too many people try to take a hard stance on different sides of the fence. And.

[00:14:02] Unfortunately, it's just not that black and white, like there's too many variables of, you know, who you're reaching out to what you do, where they're at in their career. Like, there's just too many things too, for me to say, you should do this, or you should do that. Um, but templates and scripts are a great place to start, especially when you're getting started.

[00:14:20] And I like to say, you know, get comfortable with those and then make them your own. And I think the thing that's so important there that you touched on is that's what gives sellers confidence is like, oh, you know, And ownership. Like I created this sequence, this is my script with my words, that feel like something that I would say, and they're working and getting results.

[00:14:40] And that confidence is going to feel a positive mindset, which is ultimately going to provide [00:14:45] positive results in everything that you're doing. Absolutely. You know, when we think again, it's not like I write about this all the time, but I'm like, it's not even as much what you say. It's how you say it.

[00:14:54] It's how you present it. And it's how. You bring your confidence and bring me it's that whole thing of like, if you're not confident in what you do or what you sell or what you're pitching or whatever, how on earth is someone else going to be? And so that is, I love that you put that. Yes. Use your template, use your script, use the points that work, because honestly, That there's only so many ways you can say what your company actually does.

[00:15:18] Like you don't need to be writing and rewriting the whole thing. You know, it's really personalizing and humanizing it. I always say it like a love going past personalization on humanization, but to make it about that other person. But it really is about you owning no matter what it is, because if you come to me, so like, we love passionate people.

[00:15:37] Like you can get up and be passionate about almost anything. And you'll just find yourself nodding along. Okay. [00:15:44] Yeah, this is great. Like, yes, you've got to land the plane. You've got to bring it back. It has to be worth their while, but if you just bridge that gap, even in the meantime, while you're learning, while you're doing that with passion, with confidence, with, you know, I hate the whole fake it till you make it, but it really is bringing on that energy of like, I'm going to make it, I'm going to make it and believing in that.

[00:16:03] Then that goes so far to communicate, not just what you're communicating. Again, it's so much less about the, what then we want attend then with them, we tend to realize, and it's so much more about the how and about the connection point to make that person say, Hmm, this is interesting. I'm going to stop.

[00:16:20] I'm going to pay attention. And that person is so confident in it, even though I'm not there yet. I'm going to believe in their confidence a little bit, just to at least get me to the next step. You know, whether that's a call, whether that's an response to an email, you just want to move them to the next step.

[00:16:36] And confidence does that in so many more ways than we give it credit our confidence specifically, even more [00:16:43] than like the most beautifully. You know, feature or Dem or whatever. It really is. The energy that we're bringing to. It helps me buy into who you as a person. And that shrinks the continuum of that know like, and trust again, we don't need to move them to, you know, mile 100 right now.

[00:16:58] We just want them to get to, to take one more step in confidence. Really does. Yeah. Yeah. Well said, um, I love, I love this topic. I'm getting pretty fired up and I just, I'm curious, we've been talking a lot about writing. Um, but it's a little bit more than that, right? Like it's more communicating, right? So like non-writing and I love that you brought up.

[00:17:19] How you say things, right? Cause then we can get into like tone and conviction and all kinds of other things. Like when you, in something that you have ownership in, that you created, that you wrote that you, um, it's a lot easier to say it with conviction and actually be more convincing or persuading for a good reason.

[00:17:36] Uh, and you know, when it's something that you don't have ownership in, it's, it's a little harder to say it with [00:17:42] confidence or with a tone, that's going to really move the needle. Totally. And this is, you know, it's funny actually wrote on this today because I totally agree that I'm like, just go write the thing, script the thing, do the thing, like do the thing that you were meant to do, like stop looking to everybody else to do what only you can.

[00:18:00] Say it only, you know, the way you can say, yes, you need to learn your first day on the job. You're going to your first month, even shoot, you know, the first demo, the first Coca, all of that, like you're going to fumble, you're going to mess up. You're not going to buy into it at all because you know what, unless you're the founder or the creator.

[00:18:18] You're just not going to have that. Buy-in but I love how you say it is so true when we start to craft things. We actually say it the way we feel, the way we speak, the way we talk. And again, using that dictation thing to do that and to move it to texts, or if you're more comfortable writing things out first, you know, write it out first and then read it out loud and change things up.

[00:18:39] If you're like that doesn't sound like me, that [00:18:41] doesn't feel like me. And it also makes you not get so hung up on memorizing. Word for word, because that's when we start to sound like robots, but instead internalizing the message of like, Hey, this is what I'm trying to actually communicate. This is what I'm trying to convey.

[00:18:57] And this is how I'm going to do it in a way that feels genuine to me. So you're right. You're owning the message. You're not necessarily owning the result, the outcome, the product or the solution, but you're owning, what's true to you. And in return, you're going to move them toward the message, the product, the solution, or that next step that you want them to take.

[00:19:16] Yeah. And the more you practice it, the better you're going to get at it. And, you know, I think conversations are too dynamic to like, have all the answers of like how it should go. It's just not that linear. Um, and you know, but having an idea of what you're trying to accomplish and having some, some good experience in, you know, what that pitch or what driving that conversation looks like is going to help.

[00:19:38] And, you know, [00:19:40] you don't know. Memorize it, cause then you're going to sound like a robot. You know, you just need to have the general concept or idea and the more you do it, the better you're going to get at it. Right. And so another example of that I'll give here too, is like people talk about like getting to know your customers, right.

[00:19:56] And go read their books and their blogs and the things that they care about hanging out where they hang out and all of those things. But my personal favorite, which I've been talking about a lot is go see what podcast they've been on and listen to those because it's a different conversation on a podcast and a lot of cases.

[00:20:10] They're talking about things that they're not necessarily posting on social media as much, they're talking about things that are maybe a little bit more personal and you could really get to know your prospects and even a deeper way, um, to have more meaningful conversations. You know, when you do that. I love that.

[00:20:23] So podcasts, I mean, are my favorite thing ever. It is a big part of my business now, not actually doing them, but writing, you know, from them and bringing those conversations off, because that is exactly why I love working with podcasts. Not only because of again, the personal nature of them, but it [00:20:39] really is that peek behind the curtain of who they are, but also the words that they use, you know?

[00:20:43] So this is one kind of secret that a lot of people do too. Again, this is not. I know what, you know, I just woke up and know my persona and know this VP, you know, off the top of my head. No, but you know where to look, you know, you know, those things to do. And so you'll start to hear their language and they always, you always say, don't speak your language.

[00:21:00] Like yes, speak your language and communicating and ID. But when you come to using persuasive language specifically around the topic of, Hey, what is going to get their attention. And that's why mirroring so important of repeating after them. But when you go to a podcast, you can also learn their language.

[00:21:16] How do they talk about their solution or their product or their pain points or their, you know, what they did last week or last month. And Hey, that is actually a clue into what they value. So now I can start to angle my. Message my pitch, my conversation, which again, we want it to be about them. So why not go to the place where they're the most, truly themselves, which really [00:21:38] is in a conversation mode.

[00:21:40] And then you take that conversation, their cadence with the, you know, with the host, with whoever it is and just bring that kind of same, um, you know, removing the walls, moving the barriers, helping them feel warm and, you know, Bringing down those walls. So that there'll be more of themselves. You can bring those into conversational language, whether that is written or, um, you know, communicated verbally.

[00:22:02] Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. This has been a lot of fun. Thanks so much for coming on. Uh, where can people find out more about the work that you're doing and get into your. Yeah. So I love working with people across all kinds of industries. And what I get to do now is I work with people on their content, on their social media presence, specifically when it comes to showing up on LinkedIn, how they're presenting themselves, uh, as well as pulling things off their, you know, their blogs, their top, they, everything podcasts, anything that they're on.

[00:22:35] And so I, you can find me on [00:22:37] happy. and it goes through what we do as far as content creation, as well as repurposing content and really getting it in your voice so that you can put it out into the world of social media specifically, but you can go on my website. You can check me out on LinkedIn, of course, and anybody who comes of course, these awesome listeners.

[00:22:57] Um, I would love to do just kind of a deep dive into your profile and your content that you're putting out into the world and give you a little bit of a consultation on things that you might be missing. Strategy. And I would love to just hop on a call with anybody and do that for free. So feel free to find, find me there and drop, drop your name and drop the podcast.

[00:23:16] And let me know that you heard me here and then we can get on that strategy call. Awesome. And for everybody who's stuck around in is listening. Please. Take her up on that offer. Uh, let's flood her calendar with strategy calls, uh, because there you will get a [00:23:36] ton of value. I know that for sure. Just in this short 20 minutes, we covered so much, and I know that you could probably keep talking forever about this.

[00:23:44] Go to happy words, dot com. Get that free strategy call have your content reviewed gets, you know, is whatever you need to, to level up in that area. And if you enjoy today's episode, please write us a review, share the show with your friends. It really does help us out. And as always, we're listening for your feedback.

[00:24:05] Hey, you stopped. That tells me you're serious about your own sales transformation. If you're tired of doing things the old way and want to get started in your journey with other people on the same path, head over to sales,, and crush your numbers on your loadable. Yeah. It's free sales cast, doc community.

[00:24:22] Send me a DM with your best pitch and mention this ad. And I might even give you free access to our best templates.