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Request a sales letter critique

    • 741 posts
    July 12, 2008 3:54 AM EDT
    Hi Michael.

    A few comments for you to consider:

    1. First a question: who is the letter going to? Who`s on the list?

    2. In general, I think the letter`s too long for a sales letter, unless I don`t completely understand the letter`s function (which I really don`t)..

    3. You`re opening question is two long and is actually two questions. Limit it to one to have more impact (less is more).

    4. Consider this possibly: Instead of driving them to call you (I don`t think anyone expects a consultation is a $200 value, do they???), what if you were to drive them to your website to download a free whitepaper. When you get the whitepaper, you`ve got their contact info and can follow up. Or, you can make an offer along with the whitepaper. (just make sure the whitepaper is valuable and not just a pitch).
     
     
     
     
     
    Skip, being a copywriter myself, I disagree with you on all the points you made. First of all, if you read the letter carefully, it`s obvious Michael is targeting small businesses. I also don`t think his sales letter is too long. In fact, it`s one of the shorter letters I`ve read. I also disagree with you about the opening paragraph having too many questions. Questions, if used correctly can be very effective. Questions help get the reader emotionally involved in the copy. The key is asking intelligent questions that will make the reader think, as well as demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.
     
    Finally, I disagree with you about the FREE consultation. That particular technique has been used successfully for decades, and is extremely effective. In fact, I`ve used it myself on many occassions with excellent results. The key is having the credentials to make it sound credible.
     
    Michael, considering it`s your first sales letter, overall it`s not  bad. I do have a few suggestions, however:
     
    1. Make it obvious sooner that you`re targeting small businesses. You can do that in the headline or the opening paragraph.
     
    2. Since you have so many questions in the opening paragraph, change things up a bit and make your headline a statement instead of a question. For example, Attention: Small Business Owners! Discover The Secrets Of Every IT Strategy And Save Over $200,000 Per Year!
     
    3. Add some testimonials. After all, without proof of performance, you have zero credibility.
     
    4. Add a guarantee. Guarantees are proven to improve conversion ratios. Guarantees also make consumers feel better about their purchase.
     
    Dale King
    DaleKing7/12/2008 10:34 AM

    ---
    If you`re tired of all the money-making
    hype, lies and scams...read this!
    Click here for more details!


    • 3 posts
    October 6, 2008 5:38 AM EDT
    Hi, I would cut it down to something a prospect can read in 15 seconds max. Also, from direct mail/letters, you should expect about a 1% ROI.  Picking up the phone will produce better results.

    ---
    Jeremy J. Ulmer
    Sales Coaching Website

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    • 13 posts
    June 19, 2008 12:59 PM EDT
    Hi all,
    I`ve never written a sales letter in my life. So, based on the input I got from a couple of sources, I gave it a shot. Would someone be willing to critique it and provide helpful feedback?
    It`s pasted below. Thanks
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Company X
    Anywhere, USA

    Reader Address
    Anywhere, USA

    Dear Reader:

    Need to Operate More Effectively, and Create Happy, Loyal, Better-trained Employees?


    "If all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail!" In other words, if you only have one solution, then your problems can only be solved one way. Not very effective, right?

    If you seek a "certified solutions provider" to solve your business problems, just remember, you`re the nail and all they have are hammers. You wouldn`t buy a wrong-sized pair of shoes just because it`s all the shoe store ever stocked, would you? Then why would you buy a one-size-fits-all technology solution?

    The right-sized technology solution saves you time and money. It frees you to run your business more effectively and efficiently.

    A business with the right-sized technology solution
    • operates more efficiently
    • reduces costs
    • creates happier, better trained employees who are better able to advance their careers
    • creates more loyal employees reducing turnover and human resource costs
    • creates more free time and money allowing the business to focus on:
      • increasing its credibility
      • generating sales
      • creating brand awareness
      • and developing more products and services

    In the right hands, technology is the perfect tool.

    I am Joe Business-owner, owner of Company X. I focus solely on providing executive Information Technology (IT) planning services to small businesses so that your technology just works. I am a local business owner with eleven years IT consulting experience.

    Why technology scares everyone!
    It`s no big secret, technology change scares us because it`s different. Humans are creatures of habit. We don`t want to change what`s familiar because change elicits the fear response - fear of loss of wealth, sustenance, kinship, and fear of harm. Oddly enough, change is the only constant in our lives.

    Change is a big unknown and nothing scares us more than the unknown. Just ask Stephen King. He made a career out of writing about it.

    Ill-fitting technology damages your business

    So what exactly about information technology scares us? The cost and the complexity, that`s what. We fear that we made need it and not know it. We fear that technology will make us look dumb. We fear that we`ll choose the wrong solution and we`ll waste thousands of dollars.

    Bad IT decisions have bankrupted companies. Now that`s scary!

    The good news? For the vast majority of businesses, IT works. It can work for you.


    Everyone can overcome their fears
    Despite the accelerated pace of technological change, successful businesses understand that change is necessary and find ways to adapt every day. CBS switched from radio to television and Apple just unveiled its latest version of the iPhone (a far cry from their flagship product, the Macintosh computer).

    Were they afraid that their huge investment in the unknown would fall flat on its face? You bet they were. But...

    In the right hands, technology is the perfect tool
    You can bet that everyone one of these businesses had someone they could trust guiding them through the process of walking into that technological unknown. Over the years, the titles have changed -- VP of Management Information Systems, IT Director, Chief Information Officer, and lately Chief Technology Officer.

    But they all do the same job. They guide and advise the company leaders through technological changes that perform only one purpose -- help the company reach its business goals. For most businesses, those goals are:

    • increasing its credibility
    • generating sales
    • creating brand awareness
    • and developing more products and services

    Technology is too <fill in the blank>

    Technology is too: expensive, complicated, disruptive, difficult, etc. Only technology that`s ill-suited to the task is any of those things. Have you tried removing a Phillip`s-head screw with a standard screwdriver?

    Technology is simply a tool. If you have the right tool for the job, then your job will be completed more efficiently, effectively, cheaper and faster than ever before.


    Company X does just that. I provide the knowledge and experience to help you plan all your IT strategy using my 5-step IT Strategy ABC`s:

    With this 5-step process, Company X can fulfill your desire to have the services of a Chief Technology Officer for thousands of dollars less than it costs to hire a full-time CTO.

    Company X - Smarter Consulting

    Now, you can access all the benefits that Information Technology offers -- automation, reduced costs, increased productivity, and knowledgeable, loyal, happier employees. All you need to do is call xxx.xxx.xxxx for a free consultation (a $200 value).


    ---
    Michael J. Stelly
    Smarter Consulting Starts Today!

    • 13 posts
    June 19, 2008 7:11 PM EDT
    Ok, ignore that last post. I`ve completely revamped my letter. Here it is:
    ~~~~~~~~~

    Dear Reader:

    Want To Know 5 Simple Steps To Learning The Secrets Of Every Information Technology Strategy And Save Over $200,000 Per Year?


    In 2007, CIO Magazine interviewed hundreds of Chief Technology Officers (CTO`s) throughout the U.S. It discovered that 82% of them described their biggest activity for the upcoming year as "aligning Information Technology (IT) strategy with their business goals." The magazine also learned that most of these executives earn an average of $237,360 per year (but more on that later).

    What does that mean to you? If the majority of CTO`s who manage Fortune 1000 companies believe IT strategy is their biggest activity, shouldn`t you feel the same about the role of IT in your business?

    But what does IT strategy alignment really mean in lay terms? It means choosing the right solution that will focus all of your technology assets on achieving one goal - moving your business forward. This is the essence of the right-sized technology solution and these 5 simple steps, my IT Strategy ABC`s listed below are the basis for every IT decision made.

    The right-sized technology solution saves you time and money. It frees you to run your business more effectively and efficiently. Here`s how:

    A business with the right-sized technology solution
    • operates more efficiently
    • reduces costs
    • creates happier, better trained employees who are better able to advance their careers
    • creates more loyal employees reducing turnover and human resource costs...

    which creates more free time and money allowing the business to focus on:
    • increasing its credibility
    • generating sales
    • creating brand awareness
    • and developing more products and services

    I am Joe Business-owner, owner of Company X. I focus solely on providing executive Information Technology (IT) planning services to small businesses so that your technology "just works". I am a local business owner with eleven years IT consulting experience.

    Planning for change equals success

    Despite the accelerated pace of technological change, successful businesses understand that change is necessary and find ways to adapt
    every day. CBS switched from radio to television and Apple just unveiled its latest version of the iPhone (a far cry from their flagship product, the Macintosh computer).

    Were they afraid that their huge investment in the unknown would fall flat on its face? You bet they were. But...


    In the right hands, technology was the perfect tool

    You can bet that every successful business has someone they can trust guiding them through the process of walking into that technological unknown. They guide and advise the company leaders through technological changes that, as stated before, focus on one thing - moving the business forward.
    You can have what they have, too, for less money than you think.

    Technology is too <fill in the blank>

    Technology is too: expensive, complicated, disruptive, difficult, etc.

    Wrong! Only technology that`s ill-suited to the task is any of those things. Have you tried removing a
    standard screw with a Phillip`s-head screwdriver?

    Technology is simply a tool. If you have the right tool for the job, then your job will be completed more efficiently, effectively, cheaper and faster than ever before.

    Company X does just that. I provide the knowledge and experience to help you plan all your IT strategy using my 5-step IT Strategy ABC`s:

    With this 5-step process, Company X can fulfill your desire to have the services of a Chief Technology Officer for thousands of dollars less than it costs to hire a full-time CTO.

    Company X - Smarter Consulting Starts Today!

    Now, you can access all the benefits that Information Technology offers -- automation, reduced costs, increased productivity, and knowledgeable, loyal, happier employees. All you need to do is call xxx.xxx.xxxx for a free consultation (a $200 value).






    ---
    Michael J. Stelly
    Smarter Consulting Starts Today!

    • 9 posts
    July 11, 2008 6:35 PM EDT
    Hi Michael.

    A few comments for you to consider:

    1. First a question: who is the letter going to? Who`s on the list?

    2. In general, I think the letter`s too long for a sales letter, unless I don`t completely understand the letter`s function (which I really don`t)..

    3. You`re opening question is two long and is actually two questions. Limit it to one to have more impact (less is more).

    4. Consider this possibly: Instead of driving them to call you (I don`t think anyone expects a consultation is a $200 value, do they???), what if you were to drive them to your website to download a free whitepaper. When you get the whitepaper, you`ve got their contact info and can follow up. Or, you can make an offer along with the whitepaper. (just make sure the whitepaper is valuable and not just a pitch).

    I hope that helps. Good luck.

    ---
    Skip Anderson
    Sales Trainer
    Founder and President,
    Selling to Consumers | Sales Training to Sell More