A sales letter is a piece of direct mail which is designed to persuade the reader to purchase a particular product or service in the absence of a salesman.
It defined as “A form of direct mail in which an advertiser sends a letter to a potential customer.”
It is distinct from other direct mail techniques, such as the distribution of leaflets and catalogues, as the sales letter typically sells a single product or product line, and further tends to be mainly textual as opposed to graphics-based. It is typically used for products or services which, due to their price, are a considered purchase at medium or high value.Since the advent of the internet, the sales letter has become an integral part of internet marketing, and typically takes the form of an email or webpage.
Objectives of Sales Letter
- To stimulate sales when it is selling or it is not increasing as per expectations.
- When it is intended to convey a change in product or quality or programme.
- To offer of new varities of a product to the present customer or perspective one.
- To open up new markets for an old product or a new product.
- Repeated appearance of a sales letter act as reminder. It helps the customer to remember the product or the service of a firm whenever he is in need of it.
- It educates the customers in selecting the right type of goods and also in better understanding of products and services.
- It creates and maintains goodwill among the customers by offering quality products and services.
- It functions as a salesman (with it force of persuasion, education and conviction) wherever a salesman cannot visit the customers.
- It also keeps the customers constantly in touch with the company and its products and services.
A sales letter must possess the AIDA formula
It must catch the attention of the readers by using attractive opening sentences to his interest.Attention can be created using a picture or text. e.g “All are doing it why not you?’
Gaining the reader’s interest is a deeper process than grabbing their attention. This is usually a clear statement of the reader’s problems, needs or wants. What’s new? What’s in it for the reader?
Remember, the reader isn’t interested in you or your products. They are interested in what you can do for them.It must produce a sense of conviction by supporting what you claim by facts and figures and results.
The letter should create a desire. The desire to eliminate or minimize the potential for future loss or the desire to gain something (prestige, more time, more profits, etc.). Provide a compelling reason to buy from you instead of your competition. This is called your “USP” or “Unique Selling Proposition”. It’s a unique advantage customers get only if they buy from you.The USP can be a unique technology,design,lower process etc.
Last but most important, your sales piece must have a call to action. You must ask your customer to do the action that you want, weather it is to buy or to click on a web site. Explain how and make it so easy for them to do so (as many payment methods as possible) that they will feel left out or disappointed if they don’t. For Example:
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Writing a sales letter
There are three main steps in writing sales letter:
- Introductory Paragraph
- Concluding Paragraph
The opening sentence plays a very important role in deciding whether the reader will read the entire letter or not. So the opening sentence should be appealing to his interest,feelings or social sense.The lines that follow the opening sentence should maintain his interest and invite him to go through it.There are many ways of starting a sales letter:
Making a Striking Statement
a) To suit your budget we have specially devised a new savings scheme.
b) Join us to speak smart clearly and confidently
c) If you are interested in ‘fast tracking’ your way to becoming a top person in your profession by eliminating your fears of public speaking forever, then you’ll want to read every single word in this message. Here’s why…
d) Does your financial management system give you right information,at right time,to make right decisions?
e) Now protecting your family becomes simpler with 3 easy steps!
Stating a significant fact
a) Our new device help you save 50% on your fuel consumption.
b) Our work from home jobs help you to earn 30,000 to 60,000 per month.
c) Limited premium paying term of 5, 8 or 10 years with flexibility to choose policy term between 15 to 25 years.
d) Need not worry about your daughter’s marriage,just give us Rs 2500/-today and years later we sahll return rs 20,000 with thanks!
Relating an Antedote,a joke or a story
a) Have you heard the story of a king who turned into gold every thing he touched? You can make our Ultra Tractors perform the same magic.They plough deeply through the hardest soil and prepare it so richly that whatever you sow,you will reap gold.
b) On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same
college. They were very much alike.Both had been better than average students and as young college
graduates were filled with ambitious dreams for the future.Recently, these men returned to their college for their 25th reunion. They were still very much alike. Both were happily married. Both had three children. And both, it turned out, had gone to work for the same Midwestern manufacturing company after graduation, and were still there.But there was a difference. One of the men was manager of a small department of that company. The other was its president.
What Made The Difference?
Making Special Offers
a) The opportunity to buy office products directly from Xerox — at
incredibly low prices.
b) We offer absolutely free with every copy of our new dictionary a medical dictionary and a calender.
c) When you retire, you can face the future confidently and without depending upon others by getting pension after the age of 60.And this is possible by setting aside just 1 per day.
Focussing The Central Selling Point
a) Even if you are a family of eight,cooking can be fun.Our jumbo size pressure cooker can cook within minutes .
b) Silent,spacious,flexible configuration, a built in voltage stabilizer and an extra strong motor-these and many more new features make our latest model of the Jumbo fridge a world class.
Making Special Appeals to the Pride of Possession,Vanity etc.
a) “Say no to Nice”.Paint your homes with Asian Paint Royale and fulfil your quest for the extraordinary.
b) Let the Regal steel almirah adorn your home and become the talk of your neighbourhood.
Asking a Question
a) What’s right–and wrong–with your investments?
b) How do you plan a comfortable retirement now?
c) Do you want to loose 20 pounds in two weeks?
2. The Body
After arresting the reader’s attention and interest next step is to :
a) Explain the qualities of your product and its special features
b) Convince him that your claims are true.
If the product is a consumer article,make appeal on an emotional or psychological plane.If yo are selling services, machinery or piece of equipment,appeal to his knowledge,requirements and need.
Another important thing is to substantiate your claims and statements by facts,logic or reliable testimony.There are several effective ways to do so.A few examples of such devices are given below:
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Testimonials by Users
a) Ever since we introduced new Pearl white toothpaste in the market,hundreds of users have been writing to us about how it has helped them conquer bad breath,cure bleeding gums and strength teeth.We reproduce below extracts from a few of them.
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Enclosing additional literature
We are enclosing a copy of our information folder which gives detailed specifications of our drilling engine.
We hope that it will meet your requirements and provide the kind of service you have been looking for.
3. Concluding Paragraph
“All well that ends well”, still holds good everywhere,even in concluding paragraph writing.Even if the first two parts of your letter are good they will not be able to clinch the issue unless your closing paragraph is able to motivate action.For including immediate action some of the devices used are limited time or limited quantity offer,special bargain offer,convenience in ordering etc. A few examples are given below:
a) For your convenience we have opened a branch near your town,a list of addresses is enclosed.Just fill in the attached card and post it to the nearest address and our man will call on you to discuss the details of fixing the crushing machine in your factory premises.
b) As we have limited stock,this offer is open up to 21 April. To save Rs. 30/- mail today the enclosed postage paid card and we shall do the rest.
If the sales letter has made several points,it is better to briefly recapitulate them before making the final appeal.On it will depend whether the sales letter is able to convert reader into a customer or not.
Conclusions to be avoided
A positive approach has been used in all the above examples.Negative endings can cause irritation and hurt the feelings of the prospective buyer and hence,the following should be avoided:
a) You will regret your decision if you do not order now.
b) Why delay? Indecision can cause you loose of Rs. 50/-
c) Do not miss this opportunity,it is an unusual offer.
d) We hope you believe us, why not act today and be the proud owner of this new model?
Example of Sales letter
With summer approaching,you must be thinking of how to keep office cool,so that you and your colleagues can continue to work efficiently.To meet you needs,we have produced room-coolers of different capacities.The detailed specifications are give in the enclosed pamphlet.We shall give a guarantee for five years against all manufacturing defects and repair,or replace any part that may cause trouble at our cost.
At the end of the pamphlet you will find a card.Please fill it in and mail it and we shall send our technician to survey your office,assess you requirements, and advise you about the location of coolers so that your entire office may be maintained at the proper temperature throughout summer.
If you place the order before 30 April,we shall give you a special discount of 5 percent.Our man will transport the coolers to your office and install them wherever you want.And this extra service is absolutely free.
We trust,you would like to avail yourself of this special offer.