Perfect grammar can lose you sales online

Imperfect grammar could help your sell moreBritish MPs yesterday were quizzing business leaders during a session of the Public Accounts Committee where the the Chief Finance Officer of Starbucks, Troy Alstead, was denying that the company was involved in tax avoidance. Now, you may think that the tax affairs of Starbucks, Amazon and Google in the UK are acceptable or otherwise, but what psychological research suggests is that the first sentence of this blog post is more likely to have made you feel negative than if I had said: “British MPs yesterday quizzed business leaders where Troy Alstead from Starbucks denied that the company was involved in tax avoidance”.

The first sentence of this blog post uses the “imperfect” grammatical form, whereas the alternative sentence uses the “perfect” form. New research from the University of Alabama shows that the grammatical form of sentences affects our emotional response. When the item is likely to make us feel negative – as in the case of big business taxes – the imperfect form allows that negative feeling to carry on, helping us continue to feel bad about the situation. But the perfect tense isolates the negative thing into the past, making us fell less negative about it.

The researchers found the opposite response when it came to positive things. If you want people to continue to feel positive about something then using the imperfect grammar allows people to continue to feel positive, whereas the perfect form shuts the positive thing away in the past, making your readers feel less positive than they otherwise might.

When it comes to selling  things online this can help you write the best sales copy. To accentuate the positive aspects of your products or services make sure you use the imperfect grammatical form and if there is anything negative or something which could induce a negative feeling, then use the perfect form. Here’s an example:

Delegates at my workshops were telling me recently that they are continuing to benefit from what they had been learning. The two-day event excelled, in their view.

In this example, the positive of the continued benefit of the learning experience is accentuated by the imperfect tense, where as the negative of having to be away form the office for two days in the perfect tense is made less negative than it might otherwise be.

The careful use of the imperfect and perfect grammatical form in your sales copy could help influence the number of buyers you will be getting.

1 thought on “Perfect grammar can lose you sales online”

Comments are closed.

Like this article?

Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on email
Share via email

Other posts that might be of interest

man searching
Internet Marketing Articles

Can you find what you are looking for?

If you want to increase your sales, your business needs to make it easy to find everything. That means reviewing how your web search works. It suggests you might need to reconsider the navigation structure of your website. It might even mean you need to distribute your content away from your site and have it on a variety of different platforms.

Read More »
Empty football stadium with no supporters
Internet Psychology

How well supported are you at work?

Yesterday I was transported back in time. I haven’t discovered time travel. Instead, my mind quickly flipped back to a meeting about three years ago that involved the same group of people. I noticed how

Read More »
Man using digital technology
Internet Psychology

Are you obsessed with digital?

Being obsessed with digital could take you away from old-school technologies that do the job better. Yet, avoiding technological change can cost your business dearly. How can you get the balance right?

Read More »