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Letter Perfect

Ink the deal with a solid sales letter.

While I was speaking at a conference in Atlanta not long ago, I met an entrepreneur named Bob. He said he continually sent letters out with his company brochures, but he never got a positive response from prospects. In fact, most prospects couldn't even remember having received anything from him, and others refused to take his follow-up phone calls.

I asked Bob to send me a sample of his mailings. The brochure was professionally produced and was clearly not the problem. The sales letter, however, was another story. It was basically a letter all about Bob--what his credentials were, what his company did and how he really wanted to have a meeting with this particular prospect. Like many new entrepreneurs, Bob had failed to realize that prospect letters, like all other sales literature, must be outer-directed and answer the prospect's question, "What's in it for me?"

Unless you're writing a letter to your mother, no one wants to hear all about you. They want to learn about the benefits to themselves or their companies of using your company, your products or your services. The best prospect letters are about "what you get," not about "what I offer."

A top-flight prospect letter speaks directly to the benefits your prospect will derive by selecting your company or purchasing your products. Make sure you open and close your sales letters with a benefit statement. In between, explain the benefits and what they mean to your prospect. Be sure your closing pragraph states exactly what you plan to do, and then be certain to follow through.

Create one or two good sales letters that you can keep on file and customize for each prospect. That will simplify your sales efforts, reduce the time you spend on each prospect and ensure consistent, high-quality follow-up every time.

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Kim Gordon is the owner of National Marketing Federation and is a multifaceted marketing expert, speaker, author and media spokesperson. Her latest book is Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars.
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