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How to Write a Sales Letter

How to Write a Sales Letter

I receive a lot of email. I'd say at least 30 messages a day (not counting spam). Included in this potpourri (haven't used that word since 1987) are client messages, job requests, and sales letters. I'd like to take a few minutes to focus on the last category of message, since many of our readers are interested in generating new business.

A sales letter can be a powerful marketing tool. Worded correctly, it can provide that proverbial "foot in the door" opportunity. Sales letters create awareness of your business and turn "cold" calls into "warm" calls. We've used this strategy for our own business many, many times. For new businesses, this is one of the most economical, straightforward, and easy-to-implement marketing strategies out there.

Unfortunately, many organizations fail to understand the fundamental rules of writing a good letter. Rather than creating interest, these letters annoy and distract the potential customer. Instead of generating a lead, the sales letter ends up in the trash.

In order to understand what makes a good letter, let's look at one of the most common pitfalls - the focus of the letter. Here are some excerpts from an email I recently received:

  • Paragraph 1: We want to support your agency in interactive, website and web-based software design, We have balanced strength in both design and development
  • Paragraph 2: We are based in Seattle and Southern California
  • Paragraph 3: Our proficiencies include: Ruby on Rails, AJAX, back-to-the-roots semantic HTML
  • Paragraph 4: We are an agile, tightly knit team that puts equal emphasis on creative and code
  • Paragraph 5: We've found that this balanced single team

So what's wrong with this letter? In a word, it's the "we". Notice how nearly every sentence begins with the word "we" or "our?" Instead of talking about how he can help Kinesis, the author spends countless time and energy on the features of his company: we do this, we do that.

At the end of the day, clients don't want to know every detail about your business. They want to know how you can HELP them. They want to hear benefits-driven statements like, "Here's how your company will benefit from our services..." You can the follow it up with a list like this:

  • You'll  save time and money through greater efficiencies
  • You won't have to worry about managing complicated programming - no more headaches!
  • You can always reach us for tech support - at your convenience 24 hours a day/7 days a week

Don't get me wrong customers will want to know the skills and features you bring to the table. These details add to your credibility and trustworthiness. But, in telling this story, don't forget to translate how those skills will help the client in their business activities. To mix a few metaphors, stop looking in the mirror, step into your clients' shoes, and ask the question, "how can my skills help this business grow?"

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