How Leonardo would write your sales letter

ABOUT 600 years ago, Leonardo de Vinci famously wrote a sales letter to the mayor of Milan seeking employment as a military engineer. Yes, Leonardo wanted a job and used his letter to present the benefits he could bring to the city if it employed him.

Leonardo da Vinci knew a well-drafted sales letter is a highly effective marketing tool that enables you to communicate with your customers and prospects on a one-to-one basis.

Today, with the internet, email marketing and social media, the humble sales letter sent by post might be seen as a poor relation. On the contrary, when properly written and targeted, a letter is a very powerful tool.

Cut through the noise
How much postal mail (apart from utility bills) do you receive these days? I’m sure that it is far less than it was say 10 years ago.

Which is why, if you, as a specialist flooring contractor, were to write a sales letter to your prospective customers it will stand out, command attention and cut through the noise of the mountain of emails we all receive.

But it needs to be done properly, otherwise it won’t work!

The most successful sales letters ever written followed a successful format that uses strong benefit-driven headlines, sub-headings, and engaging content to clearly and concisely convey the reasons that the reader should ‘buy’ your product.

First things first
First things first, start with the two most important questions are:
What matters most to my customers and prospects? and How can those prospects get maximum benefit from our service or products?

In other words, think about what you are trying to sell, who you are trying to sell to, and what they stand to gain from your particular product or service.

The next key thing is to create a compelling reason, incentive or offer to encourage the reader to buy.

Reluctance to buy from someone you don’t know is one of the most common factors in losing a sale. Make your sales letter persuasive and address the issues that you believe need to be overcome before someone will say ‘yes’ to you.

Constructing your argument and laying it out a letter in a way that will keep people reading is something that can be achieved with practice.

A six-step formula

Using a formula can help in being creative. It can also help you to keep on track when you write.

The opening
This where you get the reader’s attention, perhaps identifying with a problem you
know they will have and encouraging them to read on.
The explanation or description
Here is your chance to set out the proposition to the reader, where you outline the most important benefits of your product and then expand on the detail. Elaborating on your opening will build interest.
The why?

This is where you start to create a desire in your reader’s mind and help them to identify reasons why your product, service or solution will be of benefit to them, ie the ease with which they could improve something in their business, or how they could make more profit.

The guarantee or proof
What can you offer the potential buyer by way of a guarantee that they will actually receive the benefits of working with or buying from you? Could you add the confidence of a no quibble money back guarantee, for example? If you have testimonials, then use these to maximum effect.

The penalty
Creating a time-limited offer or withdrawing a special price if action is not taken by a certain time is a good way to encourage a positive response. People like to think that they have found a bargain and will worry that they could miss out if it’s something they have decided they need.

The close
If you don’t let the reader know what to do then they won’t do it. This is your chance tell them to ring you without delay, email you for more information, or fill in an order form. Make it easy for them to take action – and remind them what will happen if they don’t.

The biggest challenge is how to begin
The easy way to start is to think about your product, your audience and your message and then plan properly. And push those features and benefits hard.

If you need to, find inspiration from sales letters you have received, perhaps from your bank, an insurance company, or retailers. Analyse their offer and how they present it – and then apply this to the way you explain the benefits of your product or service – as if you were face-to-face.

A few small tricks
Here are a few thoughts to leave you with:
• Identify a problem and solve it: What common problems do your customers have? Can you present the optimum solution?
• Talk to the person as a ‘you’: People like people who are like themselves. This is why an opening that has an element of reassurance can be very effective. For example, ‘If like me, you have found…’
• Use a PS: 79% of people read the ‘PS’ before the rest of the letter. That is why your PS should repeat the closing call-to-action and remind the reader, once again, what they could miss out on if they fail to respond.

There is far more to talk about regarding sales letters than space allows, so as ever, if you need any help with getting to grips with that ‘blank sheet of paper’, then do not hesitate to contact me.
01773 712116