Sales Letters that Sell


The sales letter is an essential part of your direct mail package and often stands alone when following up a cold call. Writing a good sales letter can be time-consuming if you care enough to get it right. Too many sales people overlook or minimize this aspect of marketing your business. Why? The simple truth is that most people just don’t know how to write a sales letter.

Here’s some tips…

  • If possible, use the prospects’ name and title.
  • Make the sales letter friendly and personal.
  • Be descriptive and pepper the letter with anecdotes and case studies in order to capture the reader’s interest.
  • Try to write like you talk. Read your first draft aloud to see if you’ve achieved a conversational tone.
  • Keep your paragraphs brief and use simple, evocative language.
  • After writing your first draft, put it aside for a day and then read it as if you were the prospect. Examine your response. Would you toss this one into the circular file, take action and buy, or put it aside to act on it eventually?
  • If you want a honest appraisal of your letter, ask a friend or colleague to read it without telling them that you are the author. Solicit their comments and criticisms.
  • While keeping to a standard format (one- inch margins, plenty of white space, a 10 or 12 point fonts) go for something eye catching like brightly colored paper.
  • If you are judicious in your use of boldface, italics, and caps, they will be more powerful.
  • Always use a P.S. in your letter. You can repeat your USP, ask for the order or offer a discount.
  • Use testimonials whenever available. This is another highly effective but often under-utilized tool.
  • Make an offer that is nearly impossible to refuse! Also, give your customers something of value for free.
  • Send out one, two or three follow-up mailings. Even if a prospect wants to do business with you, your first few mailings may be sitting in a “To Do” pile.
  • Shake up procrastinators by offering great deals with expiration dates.
  • Don’t just make an offer, ask for the order! Tell the customer what you want them to do. Give them step by step instructions.
  • Make your sales letter compelling, exciting, and inviting.
  • Besides Free, other power words are Save, Today, Introducing, Easy, Now, Amazing, and Breakthrough.
  • Whenever possible give a money back or satisfaction guarantee. Most people won’t return things but it gives them faith in your company.
  • Say it and then say it again. Tell the reader more than once what they should do. Give your telephone number several times.
  • Offer customers a toll-free phone number and credit card, check, and money order options.

Almost everyone has better things to do than read your sales letter. They will only respond when there is something real and tangible in it for them. A poorly written sales letter is a waste of your time and money and will alienate your potential customer. Follow these tips and write a letter that gets read.

by Debra Kahn Schofield