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Personal Touch

If you want to improve results from your sales letters, try some good,old-fashioned charm.

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This story appears in the November 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Maybe the most unwelcome piece of mail people receive--besides a jury summons or an IRS inquiry--is a sales letter. It's the pulpy intruder in cheap black and white that's always trying to peddle something. But why should a well-meaning purveyor's honest effort to sell you his or her wares draw so much flak?

First, it's unsolicited. Like a salesperson at the door or a telemarketer on the phone, it's an intrusion and a nuisance. Second, sales letters are routinely boring, presumptuous, cliché-ridden, overwritten and undermotivating. Thus, most end up in the nearest trash can.

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