We have lots to cover today so let’s get started.
One of the things that the majority of folks find most challenging about growing their businesses is staying in touch with the people on their database with meaningful things to say over time. Enter the marketing communications document. The sales letter.
I have no intention of boring you with the fundamentals of written communication, but I am going to make a few points.
Don’t funk yourself out when it comes to writing. You are making this thing harder than it needs to be. In fact, the shorter your written document the better. (See the section on postcards coming soon).
It is helpful however, if you know why you are writing in the first place. Is it to inform? To request information? Are you writing to schedule an interview? To congratulate somebody? To send your condolences? It helps enormously if you have a purpose for writing.
As for the body of the letter itself, it is always easier if you work from a proven model.
Here is a simple template for you to consider: 1-2-1
▪ One paragraph
▪ Two paragraphs
▪ One paragraph
In the first paragraph, simply state your purpose for writing. Getting right to the point in the first sentence is a good idea. Nobody wants to hang around while you “warm-up.” Your reader is busy and wants to cut right to the chase. You don’t have the luxury of waxing poetic in the first few sentences. Get right down to business.
Lead with a “hook.” Get their attention and get them thinking right out of the blocks. If you don’t manage to grab them early, they definitely won’t get to the bottom
In the next two paragraphs, explain what you want to happen or explain the information you have. This is the bread and butter of the letter. It explains what you have in mind and outlines the options if any. If you have lots of information you might want to use bullets.An occasional underline also gains attention and is a clear sign of importance. The letter should be organized to help the reader understand what they should know or what needs doing. Don’t get cute. Shoot from the hip. Tell them what you came to tell them.
In the final paragraph, request a dated action and/or conclude or thank the reader for his/her response. Similar to paragraph #1, this final section is usually a short one. Depending on your letter, it will do one of three things:
1 Conclude. This allows you to point out the most important item or summarize all your key points once again.
2 Request action. Tell the reader what to do and when to do it.
3 Thank the reader. For whatever you feel is appropriate.
Your Success Letter
I told you I did not want to beat you up on the rhyme or reason of writing a simple business letter, but I do want to take some additional time to lay out what I call your “Success Letter.” This is a section of the course you want to pay very close attention to. A well-written”Success Letter” will serve you for months if not years.
The simple letter is an effective tool. But the “Success Letter” is a deadly marketing weapon. It too is relatively simple to write. No fiction is involved. There is nothing to make up and nothing to exaggerate. You are simply passing on meaningful and relative information as you know it.
A Success Letter specifically outlines a single accomplishment of yours as experienced and enjoyed by one of your current accounts. In other words, it is a capsule summary of a very positive outcome that resulted from your contribution to a specific client problem, issue or concern.
An example might help to clarify this remarkably effective tool:
1 A honeymoon couple contacted you who were interested in taking a trip to celebrate their marriage.
2 They could only acquire the reception hall beginning at 2 pm on that particular Saturday due to a previous morning booking.
3 The couple wished to be in destination “B” by a certain time the next day, Pina Colade in hand and miles away from everyone they knew.
4 The last flight out that evening was at 7:45 pm.
The Problem: The timing was close. In order to accomplish the “perfect plan,” they would have to rush when departing the reception which would create a level of anxiety which could very well put a damper on the entire marriage thing. What to do?
Enter You: You evaluated the situation, weighed the options and provided the couple with Plan “A” with a back-up Plan “B” should the“fast-get-away” require one. You made all the arrangements along with a flawless, back-up contingency plan. In short, you covered all the bases for them and stood in readiness to make sure that their big day would be executed perfectly. You even stood by to place a call to the local police department to make certain that the route to the airport provided clear sailing.
You were not going to stand by and see the travel portion of their dream day blown to bits on their perfect day.
You then did “a, b and c” followed by “d, e and f.”
You “dotted every i” (twice) so that the couple could dance the lights fantastic without worrying about the honeymoon until it was time to return to reality 7 days on down the road. (You might even have remembered to slip a bottle of #35 into their waiting car just in case they had some sun bathing on their mind.)
In short, you made it all work. Good for you. You should feel very proud. And very professional. (In reality, you probably do this all the time.) But nobody besides the new couple knows about the magic you performed for them. Shame on you!
Enter Your Success Letter
You put all the details in a document and send it to candidates who might be interested in receiving the same caliber of “white-glove” treatment.
“Mike. Wait a minute. Are you telling me that I have to brag about myself and toot my own horn?”
Yes! That’s exactly what I am telling you. If you don’t, who is going to do it? I’m too busy tooting my own horn to worry about yours. You must learn that being a self-promoter is not a bad thing.
You are on your own my friend. Get used to it.
You were successful pulling off the impossible with couple “A” and now you are more experienced and in a better position to perform the same magic act with couple B, C, and D. Your contacts are in place. Next time, it will be a walk in the park.
This sure beats the age-worn sales letter that simply reminds the prospect how many years you have been in business booking other people’s honeymoons …. or how many agents you have over the age of 85 waiting for Friday to make their life right.
Write A Success Letter
You already have a bag load of success stories — I hope. All you have to do is to put the sequential steps down on paper and let others know about your skills. Whoa! I can almost hear many of you as you hit the floor experiencing your own personal anxiety attacks. You are not writers. You can’t write a letter like this.
I beg to differ although I do agree that you can’t write a good, effective letter like this, …in the beginning. But I know you can write a short lousy letter and that is exactly what I want you to do. Write a short, lousy letter. Then, with some time and a few edits, your letter will take shape and soon be a document you can rely on.
Then, and here comes the good part, write 12 of these letters. An even dozen.
Why 12? Because you are going to send a different letter each month to your targeted audience. Remember I said this was a “system.” This is the only sales system you will ever need if you have 12 Success Letters.
Success letters make a logical mailing program. It is the only mail program you will need for the next 20 years. After you send letter #12, you can begin again with letter #1. This is a beautiful thing, I mean system.
Regardless of the interim between each letter, here is what I want you to do. Here is what I insist that you do.
After each set of three letters, call the prospect on the phone to ask them if they have been receiving your letters and if any of them stimulated their imagination or piqued their interest. If they say “No” you simply bid them a good afternoon. Then get ready to send them three more. If the letters you are sending are filled with actual super human effort that solves legitimate dilemmas, it will only be a matter of time before this particular prospect folds like a cheap tent. (Whatever that means.)
Now for those of you asleep at the wheel, ….. no, it does not have to be just honeymoons. Your letters need to involve the area you specialize in. Adventure travel. Golf groups. Church groups. Associations. Business. Vacation. Italy etc. Stay with me.
Is 12 too many for you?
It is if you haven’t done 12 good things worth talking about.
Write 8 and send them out every 6 – 7 weeks. (Okay, you in the back of the room, send one but don’t tell anybody I know you.)
Your homework assignment is to write just one, short, lousy Success Letter. After you write one, the others will be easier to write, I promise. Once you get the hang of it, write a second.
Your future begins today. Write a Success Letter.
Until next time, make every effort to make people you come in contact with happy they know you.
Lesson Three will be coming your way soon. Until then, stay safe.