Sell Me – Don’t Tell Me – The Art of Sales Letter Writing

Sell Me – Don’t Tell Me – The Art of Sales Letter Writing

Your sales letters are losing you business – probably.  I add the “probably” because I have to assume that there are one or two owners reading this, that are writing good sales letters.  However, in the majority of sales letters I have reviewed and fixed, most do nothing better then reiterate the same information you can find in a telephone book. 

What is the difference between a selling letter and a telling letter?  A “selling” letter answers the readers question of “what’s in it for me” compelling them to respond favorably, whereas a “telling” letter only feeds the merchants ego and wastes the readers time.

How do you write a selling letter?  When writing sales letters for clients, I start out by following a simple four-question template.

1.  Why are you writing?  You had better get my attention here, or I am tossing the letter out. 

2.  What do you want to say?  Come to the point quickly.  What can you do for me that I can’t do for myself?  Why do I need to read further?  Prove it.

3.  What is the purpose of your letter – what do you want to accomplish?  Can you solve a problem I have?  How?  Why?  When? 

4.  What do you want the reader to do?  OK, you got me this far, now what do you want me to do?  Call you?  Stop by your store?  Wait for your call?  Do you have an advantageous offer?  Do I need to spend money now?  if yes, have you made it easy for me to do so? 

Looks pretty simple at first, but this process requires some work on your part.  As you flesh out the four steps remember that you are always answering the question of what’s in it for the reader.  Does the reader care that you have been in business 30 years, or that you have a staff of dedicated employees ready to assist them when they walk in the store?  No.  Not right now. 

These statements are the type of telling information that wastes the reader’s time and gets your letter tossed.  I know the information is important to you, but it’s only important to the client when they are making a buying decision.  Right now, you may be only trying to get them into your store. 

However, if you do want them to purchase something right now, and the purpose of the letter is to sell something tangible, then you had better answer their assumed “surety” questions.  A surety question is simply any question of trust.  Can I trust you?  Do I trust what I am reading?  Are the claims you make – believable?  Are you the company with whom I want to do business? 

If you answer some or all of these questions, you had better assume they are going to need additional information from your website.  The last part of your letter is a good time to send your reader to your website’s “easy order form” where the rest of their surety questions will be answered. 

Once on site, the reader is going to be looking for the number of years in business, your reputation and service / guarantee information.  If you have endorsements (and you should have) put them on the order page as well.  A piece of advice for you content writers, don’t make me hunt for this information – I lose confidence and thus interest quickly.  You got me to your order page – don’t let me (or make me) leave it 

By following this simple template, your sales letters will sell and not just tell.  Contact me direct if you need help doing a make over of your marketing letters.

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16 thoughts on “Sell Me – Don’t Tell Me – The Art of Sales Letter Writing

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