The sales letter will always play an important role when deciding on ways to contact new prospects. Very rarely will your letter make the sale, but it will often pave the way for a phone call or email, which will set the appointment… which will lead to a sale. But first things first. Step one often involves the letter. You probably expected me to focus on an email but I feel the pendulum may be swinging back to a more formal and sincere, initial encounter.
Here are a few ideas on how to generate more effective sales letters:
1. Stay Current – use contractions, active verbs and personal pronouns. It is important for you to sound natural in your writing. Start sentences with conjunctions if you want to, and end them with a preposition. That’s the way you talk. That’s the way people read.
2. Be Clear – readers shouldn’t have to read between the lines to get your message. Before you begin writing, organize your thoughts. Say what you mean and ask for what you want. Get to the point. Don’t waste the reader’s time.
3. Be Concise – words are a lot like extra pounds. The more you have, the worse the whole package looks. Choose strong, simple words. Write short sentences. If you can, keep your letters to one page. But perhaps more importantly, say what you came to say and no more.
4. Write The Way People Read – your readers are not just names on your letters. Your readers are real people. Wisely select your first five or six words. Make them strong, but friendly. Be yourself. Don’t treat your readers like a statistic. But don’t be overly personal or too familiar. Be yourself by design.
5. Use “You” Often – the more you use “you” and “your” in a letter the better the results will be. Edit your letter to get rid of “I” and “me” whenever possible. Form your letter around your relationship. Find a client’s reason for buying if you can and paint vivid word pictures around it in your letter.
6. Tell Them Plainly Why You’re The Best – provide a brief overview of your years in business, your key customers and the brief background of you or your key people. Be careful not to over do this element. When push comes to shove all they want to know is how and if you can help them. That being said, clients want to be assured that you are a legitimate business organization. Tell them why your service is the best. Offer a full guarantee when possible. Such as, We guarantee the lowest applicable air fare at the time of booking.
7. Open and Close With Something Fresh – the hardest part about writing a letter is getting started. We know what we want to say, but we feel like we have to be formal when we start. You don’t. Don’t waste your opening—the strongest part of your letter—with unimportant background information. If you don’t capture the attention of readers in the first few sentences, they may not read the rest of your letter.
8. Avoid Prejudicial Writing – this reminder bothers me sometimes but it is important just the same. Walking on eggshells or on thin ice is no fun, but we must watch our step today. Today’s cultural situation is too touchy to take any chances with using terms such as “salesman” or, “spouse programs for the wives” and so on. Managers are no longer just men and many secretaries are men. Be careful in your word selection when writing is the best advice I can offer.
9. Write in the Positive – a Yale University survey found the following 12 words to be the most persuasive words in our language: you, money, save, new, easy, free, guarantee, love, discovery, results, health and proven. This study may be outdated and a few of these words may be over-used. They should, at the very least, get you thinking about proper word choice.
10. Use Testimonials – give prospects names and numbers in your letter. Third party endorsements are powerful persuaders that should be used whenever possible. In a world full of competition more and more future buyers are seeking referrals from trusted friends, neighbors and associates.
11. Be Image Conscious – make sure your materials present your image exactly the way you want it to. Word-of-mouth recommendations still override any attempt at effective marketing. Clean, honest and clear sells. Gloss, overstatement and fast talk create a defensive alertness. Be yourself. Have a purpose. And then tell your story to everyone who will listen.
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