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Write to sell.

Don't agonize over sales letters. Let words work for you. Letters are personal and less intimidating than a phone call or a face to-face meeting. Letters hold the recipients attention for at least a few seconds, if not more, and allow you to reach the decision maker right away if you use a good mailing list.

Personal letters work best for highly targeted markets. If you need to implement a two-three-or four-letter campaign, write the entire series of letter at one time to ensure continuity. Multiple mailings build customer confidence and familiarity.

Use creativity in your letter and other promotional materials. For example, there are attention-grabbing words, openings and closing as well as transitions that work best when selling and informing.

The value of words as a marketing tool cannot be overstated. To ease your task, clip and collect clever ads, direct-mail letters and sales brochures to build a 'swipe file.' Whether these materials relate to your field or not, ideas build on ideas.

Experts recommend that you show a need for a product or service immediately. Then answer to that need through the benefits derived from the product or service. Choose vivid angles over general ones to start your letter. Consider the following guidelines: Be honest, maintain a conversational tone (write from an I rather than a we point of view), keep sentences short and to the point, keep paragraphs short and to the point, focus on features (the gift pack has 3 coffees and 3 teas so the consumer can have fun tasting different products), focus on benefits (the customer has options, isn't stuck with only the one flavor they might not like").

Use emotional words-replace gratifying with fun!, use capital letters, bold type or italics for heads, use capital letters, bold type or italics for motivational words including free, now, limited and new, indent whole paragraphs-especially special offers or important points, use bullets or asterisks to draw attention, and repeat the key selling point at least twice.

When selling a consumer product, experts suggest the following: Qualify the reader in the salutation (dear coffee lover, dear tea aficionado, dear valued customer), get the reader's attention by showing a vital need (planning a dinner party for 12), show how the product answers the need ("our coffee and dessert combinations would be perfect for the occasion), establish your store or company as an authority by providing facts the reader will identify with, explain how your products or services deliver the benefits you promise, sell the benefit of extra hours, home delivery, low price, and special services, provide details the reader will need before a decision can be made, use a money-back guarantee or offer a free trial size with the letter (like a redeemable coupon), reinforce the value and tell the reader what he must do (come in with a friend, and get two cappuccinos for the price of one!)

Letter writing works well for: thank you for a large order or big purchase, thank you for repeat business, thank you for a testimonial, introducing a new salesperson, announcing a brochure or catalog, introducing a new service, introducing a new product, welcoming a new client and announcing a special event.

To get consumer attention, use words and phrases such as the following: save, brand new, results proven, easy, effective, delectable, limited, appetizing, luscious, savory, aromatic, sensational, grand, magnificent, splendid, superb, terrific, riches, gem, treasure, value, approved, improved, latest, current, contemporary, vogue, popular, style, innovative, radical, unprecedented, revolutionary, sexy, unlimited, announcing, now, complimentary, free, famous, ultimate, etc.

Some ideas for openings:-The discount ticket included entitles you to a 20% savings on (a mug of your choice, a pound of the coffee of the day, etc.)-You have been chosen for membership in a select group of (coffee lovers, espresso experts)-Responsible service is not a thing of the past.-Our value-packed celebration sale lasts only five days.-You are among the first to learn about (our new organic coffees, our espresso cart business, our sit-down cafe)-You demand quality ... we guarantee it!-Announcing a breakthrough in (coffee-brewing, decaf) technology!

Effective transitions include-: More importantly--Consider this: -- There's more!--Don't forget--It's true--Better still--The answer is--Best of all--Here's why.

Some ideas for closings:--You've got nothing to lose and much to gain--You will not be disappointed--You owe it to yourself to give it a try--Time is running out! Come in today!--This is a one-time offer, so order now -- You have 6 days to take advantage of this opportunity--We'll rush your order as soon as we receive your reply--If you have any questions, please call me.

Tailor your letters to the situation. Send a casual letter to a long-time customer with whom you have developed a personal relationship, but write a less personal, more conventional letter would go to a purchasing agent or a company with which you have never done business.

If one type of letter doesn't work, try another style on your next potential customer. Reuse the styles that work for you.

Your individually and original perspective underlie the art of successful letter writing.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:effective sales letters
Author:Friedman, Susan
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Previous Article:Why did I ever sell my gourmet shops back in the 60's?
Next Article:Spain: the world's most active coffee scene.

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