Seven Steps to a Better Sales Letter

Even in today’s increasingly wired world, sales letters remain a staple of most sales processes. Whether on paper or by email, a well-crafted sales letter can help reinforce your sales message, convey information about your products, break the ice, and warm a cold call. Here are seven tips to help you make your sales letters more appealing.

  1. Plan ahead. Outline your thoughts before you start drafting your letter. Decide what you want to say and how you want to say it.
  2. Start strong. If you’re not sure how to open your letter, consider a quote, anecdote, story, or other attention-getting device. But keep it short. Remember, you want to get the reader’s attention… not get it and then lose it right away.
  3. Don’t bury the lead. Avoid the temptation to “build excitement” for two or three paragraphs before revealing your reason for writing. Come out and state it right away in the opening paragraph or two. If you’re offering a discount or requesting a meeting, say so up front. Your reader is busy. Respect their time.
  4. Use short, active sentences. Your letter will flow better and be easier to read. By the same token, keep the tone conversational and avoid exaggerations, embellishments, and flowery prose.
  5. Consider headlines and bulleted lists. Busy readers are far more likely to skim your letter than to read it word for word. Headlines and bulleted lists will help draw attention to the points you want to emphasize.
  6. Add a P.S. A reader’s eyes are naturally drawn to the P.S. line when they read a letter, so use a P.S. to restate your offer or emphasize a key point you made elsewhere in your letter. Consider making it a handwritten P.S. (depending on your penmanship) for even greater effect.
  7. Proof it carefully. Don’t rely on your software’s spell-checker to catch every mistake. Ideally, you’ll want to print the letter out and proof it on paper, rather than just proofing it on screen. If time permits, allow a day between the time you write the letter and proofread it, so you see your words with fresher eyes and a more objective point of view.

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