Category: Communication

Words That Sell Software Testing

Some time ago I decided to re-write my About Me page so as to incorporate some lessons learnt from research into sales, marketing and in particular – copywriting. While doing so it made sense to look for words that would lend weight to the message I wanted to convey. I turned to the book Words That Sell for inspiration and as a result, developed my lists of Words That Sell Software Testing below:

Technical words that dazzle the listener or reader with the cutting-edge possibilities of a product or service:

Powerful
Functionality
Performance
Transforms
Maximises
High-capacity
High-performance
Advanced
Sets the standard

Cerebral words that appeal to the head and that carry a tone of maturity and competence:

Assurance
Collaborative
Continuous
Control
Effective
Essential
Integral
Investigate
Logical
Mastery
Mission
Pattern
Penetrate
Perception
Pragmatic
Proactive
Professional
Release
Rigorous
Skilled
Stability
Substantial
Superior

Words that *work like magic* to win customers, appealing to a listener/readers elemental needs – a bargain, a fleeting opportunity, the urge to belong etc:

Tips
Tricks
Fast
Better
Best
No-fuss
Revolutionary
Proven
Tested
Safe
Secure
No-nonsense
Practical
Professional
Powerful
Essential
Boost
Build
Enhance
Solves
Delivers
Performs

Words with negative qualities:

Baffling
Unclear
Complicated
Difficult
Impenetrable
Ambiguous
Uninspired
Lackluster
Sterile
Stuffy
Sluggish
Slow
Phony
Bogus
Unsound
Substandard
Second-rate
Inflexible
Superficial
Mindless
Pointless
Inadequate
Excessive
Wasteful
Cumbersome
Untested
Impractical
Risky
Disreputable
Unqualified
Unprofessional
Incompetent
Inept
Amateurish
Careless
Disorganised
Inconsistent
Unwarranted
Improper
Inappropriate
Strange
Weird
Inaccurate
Unproven
Misguided

Feel free to take another look at my About Me page to see if you can spot where and how some of these words have been used.

In addition to marketing pages on my own site, there’s some other areas where I might think about using this kind of language:

Applying for jobs

I can envisage several scenarios when during some kind of job application process I might use some of the words above. As a headline on a CV for example, when you’re basically looking to communicate your special sauce, a few technical or cerebral words could work wonders.

<Your Name here> is a skilled, pragmatic software testing professional seeking to collaborate with superior project teams to help them set the standard for high performance in the <industry you’re applying for a job in>.

Or when talking about how a specific objective was achieved during a previous role:

<Your Name here> delivered powerful and rigorous testing which led to continuous and reliable production releases.

Communicating testing information

When communicating test results to developers, I might choose select some of the negative words to underline the impact of bugs or a poor user experience:

The users found the interface confusing and the booking process difficult.

Judicious use of some words that sell might also be used in test planning documentation:

Our mission will be to test continuously throughout the project, helping to support the development effort and maximise the teams delivery capability.

Talking about testing

I might also choose to throw a few words into conversations about software testing. For example when responding to an argument against software testing such as “testing can be done by anyone”:

The issue isn’t whether testing can be done by anyone, but how much value the testing adds to your project. How can we revolutionise the testing in your organisation so that your team can deliver a superior product?

Or

I agree with most of what you just said and would simply add that yes – substandard, wasteful and misguided testing can be done by anyone.

The keener-eyed reader will have noticed I threw in some Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) at the end there too. If you’re interested in learning more about that, stay-tuned for future posts.

Why bother to learn Words That Sell?

Marketers, well – good ones anyway, believe that products and ideas are sold to the heart, not the head. When applying for a job, when sitting in an interview, when reporting a defect or set of test results and when talking about testing – I’m basically trying to sell someone my ideas about how things should or have been done. Understanding the needs and motivations [worldview] of the person(s) I’m communicating with will go a long way towards helping me pitch my ideas successfully. The next step is using words that appeal to their existing worldview.

I believe the words I’ve selected above appeal to a worldview that considers powerful, continuous, rigorous and professional testing to be a vital component of successful projects. Hence when talking about testing, I use those words to align my message with their existing set of beliefs.

Trying to change the worldview of someone who thinks testing is unnecessary or wasteful is a different matter entirely, hence the introduction of NLP. But that’s a battle for another day.

In the meantime, perhaps you can think of some more Words That Sell Software Testing… Or perhaps some more examples of how they might be used? If you do – I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.

GiottoPress by Enrique Chavez