Recently, I received a letter from local business that was so shocking; I had to tell you about it.
It is a one-page letter but I’m going to break it down in detail. Names have been changed to protect the uninformed.
How you don’t want to start a sales letter
Here is the intro:
Dear Potential Customer,
My name is John Smith and I am the manager of the Crazy Bill’s Kitchen Barn in the Riverdale Shopping Center in Columbus.
Don’t ever start a sales letter like this. The introduction immediately focused on the business instead of focusing on the reader’s need. And because there was no headline with benefits, there is no compelling reason to read the letter.
Everyone knows how difficult the economy has been lately. My store has been selling enough to get by but I know we should be doing better. I am writing these letters to try to improve our business.
I have to admit that after reading that paragraph, I actually yelped, “Seriously?!”
I mean, come on. It’s up to businesses to prove why they’re worth our support, not whine about how their business is doing poorly. Does this sort of approach instill confidence in a potential customer?
I don’t want to buy from a company that is “barely getting by.” Most companies are smart enough to hide this fact but for some reason, this writer thought it was a feature.
A sales letter shouldn’t share your pain but focus instead on your prospect’s.
Here is the rest of the letter:
If you have any thought about buying a new kitchen cabinet, please come and see us. We will do anything to make a deal with you. Our owner is allowing us to accept any reasonable offer and because we are not so busy, we can usually install for you within a couple of days.
“We will do anything?”
This comes across as desperate as teenager trying to wrangle a date two days before their Homecoming Dance. Few deals are made because the customer felt sorry for the business.
We really do need your business. We are locally owned and operated so every dollar spent at Crazy Bill’s Kitchen Barn stays in Columbus. Prices have never been lower. We can even price below the home centers. We can install many products for you the next day if you want. We offer long term financing at no extra charge and our installation guarantees mean you can buy from us with complete confidence.
Again, another note of desperation. Also, I’m not sure why the writer thought this was important, but he mentions that every dollar spent at the store stays in Columbus. Explain why this is important to your customer, if it truly is.
Finally, the writer ends with this:
Please come see us. Thank you very much.
Desperation does not make people buy. What makes your customer buy is a clear explanation of what your product or service will do to help them. When writing sales letters, focus on your customer’s problem and what you can do to solve it.
Bottom line: it’s not your customer’s job to solve your problem.