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Sales Letters that Sell!

In today’s world, consumers are bombarded with countless sales pitches. Therefore, if you’re trying to sell a product or service to these weary consumers, it’s crucial to have a detailed plan that overcomes their resistance to buying. This plan should bypass their rational thinking and appeal directly to their emotions.

When it comes to making purchases, emotions play a significant role. Whether it’s something as small as paper clips or a larger investment like a copier, emotions ultimately drive the decision-making process. Facts and specifications only serve to justify the choice that has already been made. Consequently, every aspect of your sales letter, from every sentence to every phrase, must resonate with your customer’s emotions.

But which emotions should you target?

The truth is, there are only two emotions that truly motivate people: the promise of gain and the fear of loss, with the fear of loss being the stronger of the two. For instance, if you had to choose between two headlines: “Save money in legal fees” or “How to keep from being sued,” the latter would likely generate a better response.

To support the promise of gain and the fear of loss, there are seven key emotional hooks or basic human needs. Regardless of your product or service, your sales letter must directly address as many of these basic needs as possible to be effective. These needs include:

  1. Safety/Security
  2. Wealth
  3. Good looks
  4. Popularity
  5. Self-satisfaction
  6. Free time
  7. Fun/Excitement

Now, how do you motivate them to take action? How do you transition from appealing to their rational thinking to capturing their emotions? What is the key to effective copywriting? Let’s imagine you’re standing in a baseball stadium facing an audience sitting in rows of bleachers. It’s the most important game of the century, the ninth inning, bases loaded. You have a bag of peanuts that you absolutely need to sell, or else your boss will fire you on the spot. What would you do to grab their attention? Perhaps yell, “Peanuts?”

This is where you need to deliver a verbal “2×4” to hit them over the head with an emotional motivator. And it all starts with the envelope. Remember, whether it’s about gain or loss, it has to be boldly stated on the outside. (When was the last time you eagerly opened a plain white envelope?) Let’s consider two examples:

Gain: “We Put a Money-Making Miracle in this Envelope.”
Loss: “Throw This Away and Work Hard for the Rest of Your Life.”

Great! They’ve opened the letter. But what do they see? A mundane paragraph about your industry leadership? Stiff sentences about commitment, innovation, and dedication?

Whoosh! Straight into the trash, it goes.

Now, it’s time to focus on our key motivators once again: gain or loss. This time, it needs to be in a headline that they can’t miss. Furthermore, it must reinforce the headline that compelled them to tear open that envelope. Both headlines should align in their message and emotional impact.

For example: “Finish reading this letter, and you’re halfway to becoming rich.”

Next comes the crucial body copy. What should you say to leave them yearning for your product? This is where you delve into the consumer’s emotions, searching for clues to craft the perfect selling pitch.

What’s the Issue?

Some time ago, McDonald’s was dominating its competitors. As a result, Burger King hired a prominent advertising agency to increase its market share. They tried various strategies, such as analyzing secret sauces, running elaborate contests, and partnering with popular toys. However, none of these approaches worked. Eventually, they resorted to distributing questionnaires, conducting focus groups, and surveying people on the streets. And do you know what they discovered? It wasn’t what consumers liked about hamburgers, but what they disliked. One problem was that the leading hamburger came preassembled with all the toppings. While some individuals liked pickles, others detested onions or mayo. That was the “problem.” The solution was simple: offering customizable hamburgers. This led to the now-familiar slogan, “Have it Your Way.” The key takeaway is that you must identify and address your consumers’ problems to succeed and position your product as the solution.

Life without Your Product: Unpleasant

Now that you have captured your readers’ attention and identified their “problem,” it’s time to remind them of how their lives are affected by this problem. For example, if you are selling a cordless electric lawnmower, you would highlight the headaches associated with using a traditional gas-powered mower. These may include running out of gas, searching for a gas can, driving to the gas station, returning with a car filled with smelly gas, or accidentally spilling gas on the carpet. Additionally, there’s the frustration of repeatedly pulling the starter cord until your arm feels exhausted and the safety concerns of storing a gas can in the garage while children play nearby. The objective is to paint a vivid picture of the difficulties they encounter without your product.

Life with Your Product: Absolute Bliss

Now that you have evoked the pain of life without your product, it’s time to present your solution. Provide a concise introduction to your product or service and introduce yourself in a few sentences. Highlight the advantages of your cordless electric lawnmower: no more running out of gas, no more unpleasant odors from gas cans in the car, and no more strenuous yanking of the starter cord. Instead, simply flip the switch, and you’re ready to mow. Plug it into an electric outlet to charge it overnight, and your worries are over. Highlight the fact that your product or service offers an ideal solution. At this point, your readers may wonder, “Sounds interesting, but who are you to think you can solve my problem? I’ve never heard of you.”

Establishing Credentials

Here’s where you build trust by providing key facts that inspire confidence in you and your company. Start by showcasing testimonials from satisfied customers. If these testimonials are from industry figures your prospects are familiar with, it’s even better. Including photos, phone numbers, and other details can further enhance your credibility. This is also the right time to mention how long your business has been operating and any media coverage your company or products have received. Articles from local or national media are particularly valuable, as they come from impartial sources.

Having assuaged their concerns about dealing with an unfamiliar entity, your readers will now be open to being convinced about your product or service. This is when you should delve into the details. Since you have established trust, they will be more focused on what you can do for them and how you will solve their problem.

Emphasize Benefits, Not Features

Here’s an important note. Avoid drowning your readers in technical jargon or a list of product features. Unskilled writers often fall into this trap. Remember, features are for your sales team, not your potential customers. Instead, concentrate on the benefits your product or service provides. For instance, rather than mentioning the X9T Autoflex handle or the PT600 Zenon Battery of your new cordless electric mower, highlight that the handle easily adjusts to the user’s height for maximum comfort. Also, emphasize that the rechargeable battery lasts up to five years without replacement. If your product or service has more than three major benefits, present them in bullet point format for easy readability.

An Irresistible Offer

This section is of utmost importance in your sales letter. Your offer must be compelling, irrefutable, and urgent. You aim to evoke the thought in your readers’ minds that this is an exceptional offer. I have nothing to lose except my problem.” Combine the three key elements in your offer: an irresistible price, favorable terms, and a gift. For example, if you’re selling a cordless electric mower, your offer might include a discounted retail price, a low interest rate, and a free blade-sharpening tool. To increase the perceived value of your offer, consider adding extra products or services. In the case of electric mowers, an extended warranty or safety goggles could be included. Highlight the compelling benefits these additional items provide.

Reassure with a Guarantee

Every customer has a little voice in their head that whispers, “If you buy this, you might regret it.” Eliminate that doubt by making your offer risk-free. Provide the strongest guarantee you can offer. This could be a money-back guarantee, a satisfaction guarantee, or a lifetime warranty. Assure your readers that if they are not completely satisfied with their purchase, they can return it for a full refund or receive a replacement. Emphasize the ease and simplicity of the return process, further alleviating any concerns they may have. A strong guarantee demonstrates your confidence in the quality and effectiveness of your product or service, and it reduces the perceived risk for your potential customers.

Call to Action

Now that you’ve outlined the problem, presented your solution, established your credentials, highlighted the benefits, and made an irresistible offer with a strong guarantee, it’s time to guide your readers toward taking action. Provide clear and explicit instructions on the next steps you want them to take. This is your call to action. Whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a free trial, scheduling a consultation, or subscribing to a newsletter, be explicit and provide clear instructions on how to proceed. Create a sense of urgency by including a deadline or limited availability for your offer. Encourage your readers to act now and not miss out on the benefits and value you’re offering.

Closing

End your sales letter on a positive and optimistic note. Reiterate the key benefits and advantages your readers will experience by choosing your product or service. Restate the value of your offer and the guarantee that backs it up. Express confidence that they will make the right decision and that their problem will be solved. Thank them for their time and consideration. Encourage them to reach out if they have any questions or need further information. And finally, sign off with your name, title, and contact information.

Proofread and Revise

Before sending out your sales letter, make sure to proofread it thoroughly. Check for any spelling or grammatical errors and ensure that the letter flows smoothly and logically. Make any necessary revisions to enhance the clarity and readability of the text. Consider getting feedback from others to gain different perspectives and identify any areas that may need improvement. A well-crafted and polished sales letter will leave a positive impression on your readers and increase the likelihood of a favorable response.

Remember, the goal of a sales letter is to persuade and compel your readers to take action. By following these steps and incorporating the key elements outlined, you can create a persuasive and effective sales letter that engages your audience, addresses their needs, and drives them towards making a purchase or engaging with your business.

Author : Ludo Bollo

This article is under exclusive copyright and may not be copied without the author’s name and website.

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