Learn how to write a Sales letter for business if you are an English learner, of business letter used to introduce products or services to consumers. most readers will understand that your sales letter is a form of advertising.
Writing a sales proposal is a very important step in gaining a new client, or selling to a current one. This guide teaches you sales proposal techniques that will effectively demonstrate your firm’s capabilities
The purpose of the Business Builder is to describe how to develop a proposal that gets the sale, wins the bid, is awarded the contract. This Business Builder will guide you through the necessary steps of developing a proposal that best promotes your firm’s capabilities.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GETTING STARTED [top]
A good proposal is a big investment in time, but when done properly can mean additional business and, therefore, added revenues for your firm. You should consider writing a proposal when —
A sales proposal has three basic objectives.
First, it educates the prospective client about the full nature of his need. Often, a prospective client may be aware of only a portion of his need. This may be a perfect opportunity for you to demonstrate your ability to see “the forest from the trees” as an objective third-party expert.
Second, the proposal convinces the prospect that you have the competence to deliver what he needs, better than he can himself.
Third, the proposal provides justification for the prospect’s investment in terms that are useful and understandable to the client.
However, to convince your client that you are the best person for the job, you must get him to read your proposal. So how do you get this busy executive to lay aside other pressing issues and pick up your proposal? The answer is to write a proposal that satisfies his needs, not one that sells your services. And to do that, you must have a full understanding of the nature, scope and needs of the prospect and present your ideas in a manner that convinces the prospect that your product or service represents the best way to handle his needs.
Keep in mind…You must convey the feeling that you are the expert to all who read the proposal.
The proposal must showcase your value to your prospect’s organization. You have to convince your prospect why he cannot fulfill his needs with resources internal to his organization.
You must differentiate your goods or services from the competition — if you can first show your prospect that he needs external resources to satisfy his needs, then you must convince him that you are the best choice for the job.
The proposal offers value-added solutions. Organizations are not interested in novelty approaches. They have problems that need solutions…quick! The winning proposal will outline how a client can solve his problems and achieve his objectives, as well as look good to the rest of the organization — especially his boss.
CREATING THE PROPOSAL [top]
Generally speaking, there is no standard length to a proposal. Depending upon the business you are in, a proposal may be a two-page letter or a ten-page document. It is important to know the protocol if there is any. Imagine how ridiculous it would be to submit a short letter when your competition has presented the client with a voluminous dissertation, not to mention the fact that you’d probably miss out on the chance of a good assignment. In some cases, a request for proposal (RFP) might be sent to potential suppliers/service providers by the prospective client to bid on a project or assignment.
Frequently, these RFPs set very clear guidelines regarding the desired content and length of the proposal. When this information is provided, follow it to the letter. Clients stipulate their requirements this way for a good reason — often because they anticipate reviewing several proposals at once. They want to be able to easily compare the submitted proposals. If they can’t find the desired information quickly, they won’t spend the time to look for it. Here, innovation will not be rewarded. However, in cases where the client’s requirements are unknown, the best advice is that the proposal should be as long as it needs to be to clearly describe the work you intend to do. Regardless of the length, though, there are some necessary steps you should take and some standard features that your proposal should include. You’ll find them in the succeeding sections.
As you read these next sections, you may find it helpful to refer to the sample proposal later in this document for further clarification and examples.
The Theme of Your Proposal
This is important particularly for organizations that receive several different proposals at a time. Stating the theme or the reason for the proposal helps to ensure that your proposal will be routed to the appropriate personnel. The theme should be one of the first things that your prospect sees. If your proposal is in a report format, a proposal title should appear on a cover page or as the headline to your proposal followed by a short description on how you intend to help the prospect. If your proposal is in letter form, make sure you spell out your theme in the first paragraph. Remember, your prospective client does not have nor will take the time to search for the reason for the proposal. Be clear and avoid cuteness. This is not a headline whose purpose is to entertain, but a description that clearly informs the prospect of the reason for the proposal. An appropriate theme might describe how your product (or service) will enable the client to solve his problem or achieve his goal.
For example, if you are a commercial cleaning service, your proposal theme might be, “Providing the greatest value in cleaning services to ABC Corp.”
If you are a marketing consulting firm, it may be, “Boosting XYZ’s bottom line utilizing a diversified marketing approach.”
Now, state the general theme of your proposal.
DEVELOPING THE BODY OF YOUR PROPOSAL [top]
Now, you are ready to create a rough outline of your proposal. Sales proposals typically include an introduction, definition of the project or need, a discussion of the approach, benefits of your product/service, and the cost associated with doing the work.
Are there any other highlights you want to include? Take some time now and rough out your outline.
Prepare an introduction which discusses the nature of your prospect’s need. In this section you should indicate how your proposal is organized and include a description of the prospect and his business. It will be to your advantage to keep the message warm and tailored to the prospect but at the same time convey that you have a thorough understanding of your prospect’s need. Your theme can be included in this introduction.
Do not use overly solicitous statements such as “We are truly grateful for the opportu
nity to propose… ” These statements immediately impact the leverage that you have with the prospect — he becomes the superior, you the subordinate. Remember, this proposal must present you as the expert — one who your prospective client is fortunate enough to hire to satisfy his needs.
For Example, if you are a management consultant, your introduction may start:
“Over the past 20 years, Management Inc. has assisted over a hundred companies in improving their productivity. Like these companies, Trailer Courier Service is looking to streamline operations and eliminate wasteful functions. In the following proposal, we’ll discuss our approach to achieve higher productivity, identify benefits associated with these higher efficiencies, and — “
Draft your introduction now. Remember to include what your prospect does and how you have organized the rest of the proposal.
Discuss the current situation or your understanding of the client’s problem or need. This is really the problem identification section. Make sure you are very clear on what the needs of your client are. If you have doubts, make a phone call to verify. You can call your prospect directly or use a surrogate, maybe the contact that referred you to the potential project or assignment.
After a thorough description of the situation as perceived by the prospect, you may want to expand on the definition of the problem, if appropriate, adding your own concerns. This will not only confirm your understanding of the situation, but also convey your depth and insight into the opportunity at hand. You may want to present this as a next phase. This way it doesn’t unnecessarily add to the current situation (and resulting costs) but does provide the prospect with the potential for extra benefits. Identifying the problem or opportunity upfront lays the groundwork for the rest of the proposal.
For example, if you are a daycare center soliciting corporate accounts, your introduction may begin, “In the past decade a trend has evolved where more and more mothers are returning to the workforce. However, not much has changed to provide these mothers with reliable and affordable child care. When Mom can’t rely on suitable care for her child, your organization can’t rely on Mom…”
Identify the current opportunity or problem. Make sure you understand the situation clearly. Can you expand on the definition, demonstrating how you may add further value to the organization?
Next, introduce the objectives and scope of work that your prospect can expect. Describe what you will do and give an accurate time-frame for delivery or completion of key items. Be aggressive, but realistic. This is not the time to make promises on which you can’t deliver. Your prospect will be suspicious. He wants someone he can rely on, someone he can trust. This may be the first contact with this prospect, but your intent is to make him a long-term customer. And if you’re fortunate enough to land the assignment, you’ll gain the trust and respect of your client by under-promising and over-delivering.
For example, if you are a catering service, your objectives and scope would be, “To provide high quality foods and service at a reasonable price for the Jones wedding on September 18. Key tasks would include:
1. Planning the menu — June 6
2. Ordering the food and supplies — August 12
3. Arranging for flowers — September 1 (etc.)
Define your objectives and scope. Refer to your proposal’s theme to help you here. Next, list the basic steps of your approach.
Now it’s time to fill in the details of your approach. Make sure you provide enough detail so that the prospect can understand it clearly, but keep it broad enough so that it doesn’t inadvertently narrow his options or disclose your recommendations.
For example, if the prospect is looking to overhaul his accounting system, describe the process you’ll use in evaluating the best system, but don’t offer any preliminary suggestions at this time. You may not have the full details of his needs nor the luxury of talking to him one-on-one, and any suggestion of a possible solution could jeopardize your getting the assignment. He may have already investigated the option and discarded it for reasons unknown to you or, worse still, take the suggestion and do it himself.
Also, when you describe your approach, include the result, or deliverables, with each step. This is what your client gets upon completion of each step. The deliverable signals the end of one step and the beginning of the next. However, all steps do not need a deliverable, just the key ones. Providing deliverables is an effective method for gauging progress on a project. Deliverables provide evidence that work is being completed and is a valuable mechanism to use when managing large projects for both the customer and supplier. Deliverables can be either goods or services. For instance, if you are a consultant, you may provide a progress report, either orally or written, upon the conclusion of key steps in a project. On the other hand, if you are a building contractor building a home, an appropriate deliverable may be completion of a room or system (plumbing, electrical, air conditioning, etc.).
Think about your proposal. Take each of the basic steps and develop the details of your approach. Where appropriate, include deliverables.
Next, describe the benefits the prospect can expect from your products or services. This is a critical part of your sales proposal. This is not the time to withhold information — present any possible upside that your product/service can provide. Don’t stretch to the ridiculous, but do be sure you exhaust all the major benefits.
When creating your list of benefits, always keep in mind what you can do to make your prospect successful, how you can make him look good. Pay special attention to his role, responsibilities, and level in the organization when developing your list.
For example, if you are selling a manager on an upgraded telephone system, make sure you know what his key challenges are (maybe reliability and cost) and stress how your system overcomes them (high consumer confidence ratings, modular features, etc.). If, however, you don’t know who the decision-maker is, it’s best to tie the benefits of your product/service into the overall goals of the organization.
You may have to do a little research. If the company has an active advertising campaign, find magazines or trade journals that the company may be advertising in. What are their claims? Who are they targeting? If they are a public company, get a copy of their annual report. In it you’ll find the company’s key initiatives. Your library may have a copy of one, or you can call the company directly. A reference librarian can also help you with a search of magazines and newspapers for current articles written about the company. If you come up empty after that, virtually all organizations have goals for growth and profitability so tie your benefits into how your product/service can increase market share, increase sales, decrease costs, improve productivity, etc.
For example, if you are a new travel agency looking for commercial accounts, your proposals should be full of how you might save money for your clients — getting the best deals on air fare, hotels, rental cars; offering value-added services that your clients currently must do; suggesting scheduling alternatives that cut travel costs, etc.
your proposal will have a better probability of success if you present it in a perspective familiar to the prospect, showing how your approach will enable him or the overall organization achieve his/their goals. When properly done, your benefits will implicitly justify why your goods or services should be used by the prospect. This may be stated as a final product or proposed outcome of the project. Use statements such as “Using our state-of-the-art manufacturing process…,” or “We will rely on our thirty-five years in the business to…” If you have several key benefits, then list them in a table with the most significant ones appearing at the beginning. This is a very effective method for conveying the extent of the value that you bring to the prospect.
A Word About Features and Benefits — People buy a product or service because they either need or want to. In order to create a need or a want, you must promote the benefits of using your product or service. Many business owners promote the features of their business and neglect to point out how the product or service will benefit the customer. Features enable the product or service to perform its function. Benefits are the results a person receives from using the product or service.
For example, a feature for a local printer may be 24 hour service. The benefit to the customer may be increased flexibility and faster turnaround. The customer is more interested in how you can help him (the benefits), not necessarily the details of your service (the features).
List the key benefits of your product or service. Next, write down what your prospect’s goals may be. Tie your benefits to your prospect’s goals. Now develop the benefit section of your proposal, making sure that you are writing it from your prospect’s perspective.
Now it’s time to present the cost for your product or services. Where you place this information in your proposal is extremely important. ABSOLUTELY do not include the cost at the beginning before you have had a chance to fully explain your approach and the resulting benefits. Any good fisherman knows the importance of the initial stages in luring a prize catch. Likewise, your prospect has to know what he is buying before he’s willing to spend his money. If you include the costs too early in the proposal, it may immediately put off your prospect and cause him to reject the proposal before he has a chance to understand its impact fully.
Your estimate of charges for goods or services should be as detailed as possible so there will be no misunderstanding when the goods or services are delivered. If you’re quoting on a large project, break the project up into stages, providing the details of these costs.
For example, if you are installing a new computer system, this section may begin:
|2. Select and order hardware||1/3 cost upfront||$60,000|
|3. Install hardware||1/3 hardware cost|
|4. Debug system||1/3 cost|
|5. Train||50 man-hours||$5,000|
Your prospect does not want to be surprised with hidden costs once he has accepted your proposal. Remember, you want to turn this prospect into a long-term customer. Disclose all potential costs even if you can’t quantify them upfront. There will be costs over which you have no control. Plan for them and let your prospect know what they are. Most likely, your client will have a limited budget that he is operating within.
For example, if your phone system installation requires a significant amount of travel (but you’re not quite sure how much or what the airlines will be doing at that time), you may want to quote for installation plus travel (i.e., $100,000 for installation plus reasonable travel expenses). Be assured this does not free you from properly managing those costs; it communicates, however, that there are additional costs that must be budgeted for. Keep in mind that surprises have a knack of eroding even the best of relationships.
Determine the costs for your proposal. Have you included all costs?
Finally, you’re at the end of your proposal. Here, you want to remind the prospect why you are the best choice for the job. This is a good time to do some of your own PR. Make sure you have a qualifications statement in which you say why you are qualified to do the job for the prospect. Include a corporate history, background of principals in your company and describe your facilities.
It might start something like this,
” As the largest cycle manufacturer in the US for the past 40 years, TRED has supplied over 10,000 leasing businesses with over 10 million bikes…”
A starting date or delivery date may also be helpful and could make the difference in getting the order or not. It is important to strike a balance here — if you can “start immediately”, the client may feel that you are not busy, and he may conjure up his own reasons of why that is. On the other hand, if you put a start/delivery date too far out, you run the risk of cooling off a hot prospect. The best advice is to use your best judgment along with the information you already know about your prospect. If they needed it yesterday, you’ll know what to do.
End your proposal with a closing paragraph which contains a statement of interest in doing the work for the prospective client. This paragraph can also be used to restate the benefits of doing business with your company.
For example, “All the employees at TRED are dedicated to the highest of quality standards in product and in service. Our free overnight delivery service means no spare part inventory for you…”
Close your proposal. Promote why your company is the best selection. Repeat the significant benefits that your prospect will receive.
Proposal Preparation Hints
If your proposal is in a report format, always include a cover letter. Your cover letter should summarize your objectives and highlight areas which you’d like your prospect to pay special attention. Keep your cover letter short and friendly, no more than one page long. Close the letter with a quick summary of why your company is qualified for the job. Then end with your proposed follow-up actions (i.e., I will contact you on DATE to answer any questions you may have.). The cover letter not only sets the tone for the rest of the proposal, but it also provides the prospect with a contact he can call for further information. You may want to refer to the cover letter in Section III as an example.
When possible use graphics or charts. Making the proposal look more like a report can aid the prospect in his reading and understanding of the information presented. Use friendly, uncluttered charts to aid the reader. One well-constructed chart is worth a thousand words. Make use of sidebars and descriptive headlines. Since your goal is to have it read, making it inviting is a definite plus. Review the language you have used and be sure your proposal contains a majority of active verbs as opposed to passive verbs.
Use a checklist for your proposal. Once your proposal is completed, subject it to the following to insure that you have included all of the key items:
Make adjustments in your copy accordingly. When this is completed, you are ready to send off your proposal. One option is to mail it. You may choose to send it via standard delivery or overnight it. Although an overnight courier service may be more expensive, the receiver takes special note when he receives such packages. That’s what you want.
If it’s possible, deliver your proposal to your prospect personally. This reinforces your interest in the project and provides an opportunity to meet your prospect if you haven’t already done so. Either way, once the final document is delivered and the prospect has had a sufficient time to review it, follow-up with a phone call or visit to ask if you can clarify any aspects of the proposal.
If you don’t hear from the prospect in a week to ten days, send him a letter reiterating your interest in his project. Be assertive, not a nuisance. If you’ve done everything you can think of within reason and still do not hear from the prospect, chalk it up to experience and get on with your business. Hopefully, you’ll be able to utilize parts of your proposal for another prospect. In most cases you’ll be notified by phone or mail whether your proposal was accepted or not. If it was not, try to find out why and learn from the feedback so that you can incorporate it into your next proposal.
Sample Sales Proposal [top]
A sample sales proposal follows. This short proposal demonstrates the key items usually present in a successful sales proposal. It is written by a marketing company to a prospective client with the objective to increase market share for that client, a small company in the retail fishing industry.
The development of an effective sales proposal must have measurable objectives. The ultimate goal for ABC marketing company is to produce sales and profits via XYZ Fishing Tackle Company’s advertising investment. Four specific areas were given consideration, and they are:
Fresh and saltwater fisherman are closely related and within the range of seven to 65+ years. However, the primary audience for advertising activity is the 25 to 54 year range and comprises 48.8% of the total market. This market includes both men and women with two-thirds of the participants in sport fishing being male. Most frequent fishing is done by those whose income levels are between $15,000 and $50,000 per year.
Geographically, the South and North Central regions of the country have the largest and most frequent fresh water sport fishing activity followed by the Western and Northeastern areas of the country.
The objectives are to select the media which prove to be the most cost efficient and to design hard-hitting advertising to assure the message will reach the target audiences with sufficient frequency to provide memorability. Further objectives include selecting media which will synergistically support the creative strategy and create a media mix which will allow each medium to exercise its full potential to generate sales and deliver the sales message in a stimulating manner.
According to our experience and thorough research, we will evaluate radio as a primary medium. It is a semi-intrusive medium offering very distinct advantages, one of which is to sharply define a demographic target without excessive spillover. By carefully researching station formats and audience analysis figures, we can reach predetermined age and income levels of potential purchasers.
We will also evaluate print because this medium will strategically support radio and can offer the opportunity to effectively segment the market both demographically and psycho-graphically at reasonable costs. The use of magazines that focus on trade and consumer, and local newspapers will maximize the print effort.
Television, too, will be considered as it is a medium that works effectively at the highest level of intrusion and emotional stimulation. This medium has an enviable track record for launching new products and is universally used to introduce broad consumption products and services.
Weekly progress reports will be submitted to the individual appointed as our key contact, and a final presentation given to senior management at the conclusion of the project.
A thorough analysis of your market and of the media to reach that market will help to properly allocate your promotional budget to get the fullest utilization of your marketing dollars. This planned marketing approach will synergistically result in the fullest coverage and deepest penetration possible with your current budget. Also, since we are one of the largest and oldest marketing firms specializing in the fishing industry, we have contracts with some of the popular magazines, radio and television stations. This enables us to negotiate the best media rates for our customers.
We are pleased to offer the following quotations for the necessary work to be done. The costs for running on radio and television will be supplied once frequency and choice of broadcast stations is finalized. The costs to produce a series of six radio spots, 60 seconds in length will be $30,000 which includes scripting, narration, talent fees, music rights, production and post production. These spots can be completed within six days of final script approval.
The costs to produce two full-color, full-page ads to run in Fisherman Today and Sports Fishing magazine, a combined circulation of over 2.8 million readers, will be $7,958.00 including photography, copy, layout, and finished film to be shipped to the publication. The time to complete the production of the print ads will be 4 weeks from approval of layout, copy and photography. The cost of running the ads in both publications, six times will be $93,448.00 which is commissionable at the rate of 15%.
We will produce a series of six 30 second spots for television. The cost will be $120,000 and will include concept, scripting, talent, narration, music rights, location sele
Production can be started within seven days after receiving a signed purchase order and a check for payment of one third of the costs for each item included.
We have been in the marketing and advertising industry for sixty-one years. We have been successful at promoting products for Sea Witch Power Boats, Bensons Buoys, Daiwa Fishing Reels and Strarkweather Fishing Rods in Australia. We know the industry as well as the market and are ready to help you get your market share.
We want to thank you for your consideration as well as your cooperation in assembling the information needed to do a thorough study of your company’s objectives and goals. If you have any questions, whatsoever, please feel free to call me at (555)555-1000.
CREATING A CONCEPT PAPER [top]
You may come across a situation where a full-blown proposal is not needed but a contact still must be made. It is in these situations that a concept paper can be used. Concept papers are an excellent marketing tool since they are relatively easy to prepare, inexpensive and well received by prospective clients. They lie somewhere between a full-blown proposal and an informal discussion yet with the same objective — to get the client’s business.
The concept paper should define what you see as the prospect’s problem and offer an approach which will provide an effective solution. If it is favorably received, it could lead to either an order or a request for a more formal proposal. This paper is usually between three and five pages in length, preceded by a one-page cover letter. It should convey that these are your initial thoughts after spending some time on the problem.
Like the proposal, the concept paper should show that you understand and have the expertise needed in handling the client’s problem. Unlike the proposal, the concept paper does not go into the full details for each of the key sections — concept papers utilize a significant amount of bulleted lists while proposals contain tables and lots of explanation text. But make no mistake. The concept paper is an end-product in itself and is not intended to be modified, reworked or revised.
There is an accepted five-part approach to concept papers.
When prepared correctly, a concept paper can get you the business you are going after without the cost and intense work of preparing a full blown proposal. A sample concept paper for the XYZ Sports Fishing Tackle Company follows:
Dear Mr. Weldon:
As you know, we have been in the sports fishing and marine industry for over sixty years. The company was started by my grandfather in 1934 in Australia. He moved the business to the United States in 1948.
We know the industry, and we appreciate your problems and the need to garner more of a market share. The purpose of this paper is to provide an opportunity for us to examine closely our perception of your needs and present recommendations which can be easily implemented.
I would like to thank you for giving J. Livingstone Segal a forum to discuss what your needs are and to help you solve them. If you have any questions, whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact me.
J. Livingstone Segal III
Statement of the Problem
Over the past ten years, XYZ Fishing Tackle Company has felt increased pressures and loss of market share from foreign competition and the advent of nationwide super-stores entering the fishing tackle industries. Another problem which has emerged is the diminishing recognition of XYZ as a premier company which produces all of its products in the U.S.A.
There has been a lapse of effective marketing and advertising strategies which further exacerbates the problems. Many dollars have been wasted on Direct Response advertising often not being targeted to the proper audience.
We feel that an organized and thorough approach as outlined in this concept paper would enable your company to achieve an increase in market share as well as a return to national and international recognition. J. Livingstone Segal, Inc. is ready to serve you.
Persuasive Business Proposals: Writing to Win Customers, Clients, and Contracts by Tom Sant. (AMACOM, 1992).
Winning Proposals: Writing to Get Results, 2nd ed. by H.Y. Tammemagi. (Self-Counsel, 1999).
Consultant’s Guide to Proposal Writing: How to Satisfy Your Clients and Double Your Income, 3rd ed. by Herman Holtz. (Wiley, 1998).
Professional Trade Associations
American Management Association
American Marketing Association
Local offices of the U. S. Small Business Association (SBA)
Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
About the writer — Felice Philip Verrecchia is an award-winning freelance writer/producer/director living in Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. In addition to a busy writing schedule, he is completing the requirements for a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology.
All rights reserved. The text of this publication, or any part thereof, may not be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher.
Use these tips to write B2B sales emails and letters that will not only get By avoiding busy stationary and marketing templates, your letter will give the . Expert knowledge of your lead's business, the service you're providing.
A primary and widely-used form of communication, a sales letter is a marketing tool that can build your client base and increase your sales. This guide will take you step-by-step through the process of writing an effective sales letter, from deciding what your objective is, through editing your final draftu
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GETTING STARTED [top]
A primary and widely-used form of communication, a sales letter is a marketing tool that can build your client base and increase your sales. A results-oriented sales letter requires careful planning and must encompass the principles of effective sales writing.
Sales Letter and Direct Mail Letter Comparison
A sales letter is similar to a direct mail letter. Both seek to accomplish the following:
Despite similarities, a sales letter is different from a direct mail letter in these important ways:
Businesses That Use Sales Letters
If you are selling a relatively inexpensive product or service, such as a magazine subscription or a carpet cleaning service, a direct mail letter is an appropriate marketing tool. With relatively inexpensive products you can motivate your customers to take immediate action, such as use a coupon or fill out an order form.
The more expensive your product or service however, the more personalized your sales efforts need to be to overcome a prospect’s sense of risk. If you’re selling costly medical products to a hospital for example, you will have to convince the administrators to invest a considerable amount of money in your company. Plus, you may need to establish purchase and payment plans and will have to become actively involved in solving any problems that may arise from use of your products. A sales letter would begin this process for you, not generate an immediate sale.
PROCESS OF DEVELOPING A SALES LETTER [top]
The process of developing your sales letter will follow these major stages:
Understand your prospect.
Think about your potential customers. What do they care about? How can your product or service fill a need for them? These are two of the most critical questions you must answer before you begin writing because the content of your sales letter will be driven by them.
Write down your prospect’s wants and needs:
Suppose you are a long distance phone company and have had great success in reaching the general consumer market. Now, you’re looking to grow your business by providing long distance telephone services to small companies who generate sales through 800 telephone orders. One of the companies you’re targeting is a clothing wholesaler. Like most small businesses, cost will be a major factor in whether or not you can sell your service. Dependable products and services will be another major factor because if the phone lines go down, no business can be generated. Cost and quality are the most obvious product attributes your potential customers are looking for.
Understanding other specifics about how your target market operates their business is important as well. For example, when are their peak times of business during the day, seasonally? How much of their sales occur over the phone? Where are their customers located? The better you know them, the better you will be able to meet their specific needs.
Understand the difference between your product’s features and benefits. After you have a solid working knowledge of your potential customer’s wants and needs, you must communicate how your product or service will meet them.
It’s important for you to distinguish your product’s or service’s features from its benefits. While features are valuable and can certainly enhance your product, benefits are what motivate people to buy. Keep in mind it’s benefits, not features, that appeal to people’s emotions.
Many new sales writers tend to confuse features and benefits. What’s the difference? A feature is a characteristic of a product or service that automatically comes with it.
For example, the telephone company may offer an automatic switching line to reroute calls to another location in the case of a power failure. That’s a feature. The benefit to your customer is that sales won’t be lost. (Features become benefits when you tell the reader in your letter what it will do for them.)
For example: You’re the manufacturer of an anti-theft car device. Your product is a steering wheel lock made of a new steel alloy that cannot be cut. That’s a feature. The benefit to the buyer is added security in knowing that a thief can’t saw through the device to remove it.
In one column, list the features of your product or service. In the other, list the benefits each feature yields to the buyer.
Your letter needs to communicate how your product’s or service’s benefits will meet at least one basic business or human need. Saving time and money, and enhancing customer service are benefits businesses look for when purchasing products and services. Safety, good health, financial security, the desire for love, status, and success, and appearing attractive to others — are all examples of needs consumers have.
When you write your sales letter, you must communicate what your product or service can do for the buyer that no other product or service can do. Identifying what is most unique, different, and helpful about your product will help you write and direct the flow of your copy.
Now, from your features/benefits list above, isolate the most unique feature(s) and benefit(s):
This benefit will become the driving theme of your lead paragraph, discussed later in this Business Builder.
Anticipate your prospect’s major objections and counter them in your sales letter. The best sales people know in advance, mostly from experience, exactly what obstacles they might encounter when trying to close a sale. The best sales
letters follow suit.
The long distance telephone company, for example, might anticipate that businesses are reluctant to employ a long distance telephone carrier they’ve never heard of.Objection: “How come I never heard of you?”
Counter: “We don’t spend millions of dollars in advertising like AT&T and MCI. We choose to pass the savings along to our customers.”
Sales Letter: Like many of our valued business accounts, you’re probably wondering why you haven’t heard our name before. The answer is simple. We don’t spend millions of dollars in national advertising like AT&T. We prefer to pass the savings along to growing companies like yours.
Objection: “There are many anti-theft car devices on the market. Why should I spend $100 more for yours?”
Counter: “Every other anti-theft car device can easily be sawed through by a thief. Ours can’t. Isn’t peace of mind worth another hundred dollars?”
Sales Letter: You may think $100 is a lot more to pay for an anti-theft device. But the truth is this $100 buys you peace of mind. Your car cannot be stolen when you use Theft-A-Way. No other anti-theft device guarantees that.
If you leave your prospect with serious questions and objections after reading your letter, it will be much harder or even impossible, to get them to send for more information, call you for more information, or grant you an appointment.
Write down any objections you think your potential customer might have about your product or service, then counter them:
Decide what your immediate objective in writing your sales letter is. Ask yourself this question: “What do I want the prospect to do after reading my letter?” Send for a sample and sales brochure, call me to schedule a meeting, be interested enough to take my telephone call and schedule an appointment with me? You need to determine this before you begin writing because you will need to decide what you’re prepared to offer in order to provide the reader with an incentive to act.
For example, if you distribute a line of hair care products to beauty salons and you want the owner of twelve salons to meet with you, you might offer to supply him with enough of your product to use on customers free for a month. Or, you could offer a special 10% introductory discount if he agrees to distribute your line of products. Whatever incentive you offer, limit the time frame you will offer it. You would let the salon owner know that the special introductory discount is only available until August 1. This will create a sense of urgency in his mind.
Make sure the person you’re writing your letter to is the person who makes the decision to buy. If you’re going to the effort of trying to establish a relationship, you want it to be with the person with the authority to make decisions. With small companies, it’s usually the owner and president. But with larger companies, you may have to do some research. You can call the company and try to get the information from the receptionist: “Can you tell me the name of the person in charge of buying long distance phone services?”
If you feel the receptionist doesn’t know, you might ask to speak with the person you think is the buyer for your product. Or, you can try to get information from her assistant or secretary. “I’m going to be sending Ms. Smythe some information in the mail. Can you please tell me her title. Is she the person in charge of buying long distance services?”
Do Your Homework. Study other businesses’ effective sales and direct mail letters. You probably receive sales letters at your office on a regular basis. Or, think about the vendors whose products or services you use now or in the past. You’ve probably saved their correspondence in a file.
Find all the sample letters you can and as you study them ask yourself the following questions:
Outlines are useful tools for organizing ideas. Experienced writers almost always use them before they begin writing. If you’re writing a sales letter for the first time, your outline should be extensive before you attempt to write your letter. Once you have more experience, you can adopt a less formal approach, such as simply writing down key ideas in the order they will appear. To construct your outline, take a piece of paper and write a few sentences for each of the following major points.
Direct mail letters commonly include headlines because they help grab a reader’s attention. Should your sales letter employ one? It depends. If your letter is addressed to someone you’ve met at a trade show or have already made contact with over the telephone, a headline isn’t appropriate.
Remember, a sales letter endeavors to establish a relationship. A headline will make your letter appear more like an advertisement than a highly personal form of business communication. People are highly likely to read a letter from a person they know or have already met. But if you haven’t made any personal contact with your prospect, you should consider a headline. You need to grab your prospect’s attention and induce them into reading your letter.
If you feel a headline is appropriate, here’s some basic principles to follow when creating one:
A headline is a short statement, one or two lines at the most, that appears at the top of the page between the address and salutation. A headline should do one of the following:
Immediately tell the prospect what potential benefit they will receive:
You Can Cut Your Long Distance Expenses by Half.
Or, the headline should imply the benefit:
Were You Shocked by Your Last Long Distance Phone Bill?
Ask your prospect a question they will find compelling:
Are You Sure Your Car’s Anti-Theft Device Really Works?
What Would Happen to Your Sales If Your Phone Lines Went Down?
Tell your prospect important information they might not know:
Your Long Distance Phone Company Will Raise Their Rates By 20% This Year!
Most Anti-Theft Car Devices Can Be Cut Using A Tool From Your Local Hardware Store!
If you use a headline, it should appear in a larger font, with all the words CAPITALIZED and in bold.
Instead of a headline you may choose to use a supporting statement such as a testimonial, product review, or an endorsement. Whether you choose to use one in your headline or not, you should use a supporting statement in your sales letter. It’s especially important to do so if your product or service is expensive. Supporting statements help eliminate risk in a prospect’s mind.
Testimonials are statements from satisfied customers:
“Island Long Distance has cut our long distance phone bills by 30%!”
— Ellen Walker, President, Peacock Fashions
“I’ll never forget the hurricane that downed our phone lines for one week. And I’ll never forget how quickly Island Long Distance rerouted our calls to our New York branch. They saved us during our busiest sales season!”
— Alan Fisher, Sales Director, Candy-By-Mail
Product reviews appear in newspapers or magazines:
“If you have a car, you should have Theft-A-Way protecting it.”
— Car and Driver Magazine
“Smart salon owners should check out Natural Beauty’s line of terrific products.”
— Hair Salon Magazine
Write your headline:
Endorsements are statements from experts:
< BLOCKQUOTE>”Recommended for Use By The American Medical Association.”
“Theft-A-Way Is Good News For Car Owners and Bad News For Car Thieves.” — Officer John Montgomery, Bellevue, Washington Police Department.
Testimonials, reviews, and endorsements should appear as quotations. Text should be in a slightly smaller font and in italics. Underneath the quote, you should indicate who said it or what newspaper it appeared in.
Watch Out For…Don’t crowd the top of your letter with a headline and too many quotations because it will appear as an advertisement and not a personal form of communication. You can use quotations in the body of your letter or at the end.
Write your lead paragraph.
Your first, or lead paragraph represents the most important sentences of your letter because if you don’t compel the reader to read, your letter will have no impact. Your first sentence should logically flow from the idea you created with your headline. Professional writers often refer to the headline and connecting lead paragraph as establishing the “hook.” It’s called a hook because you must interest your reader right away with the headline then keep them reading after the first paragraph.The hook of your sales letter must:
If your headline was: Do You Know How Many Long Distance Companies Overcharge Their Customers? Your lead paragraph would answer the question: “A recent survey by the American Marketing Association indicates that the big three long distance phone companies overcharge their customers…”
The benefit of your offering is the heart of your sales appeal; remember that your prospect is interested in what’s in it for him. Reveal the main benefit of your product or service in your lead paragraph.
For Example: “We’re not one of the big three. That’s why we can save you money on your monthly long distance phone service.”
If you’re not using a headline because you’ve already had some personal contact with the prospect, here is how you should write your lead paragraph:
Acknowledge that you’ve met or spoken recently.
For example: When we met at the Direct Marketing Trade Show last week, Julie, I promised to get back to you with some more information on how Island Long Distance can save your company as much as 30% a month.
Get to your hook quickly.
…Let me begin by telling you something that will probably shock you. A recent survey released by the American Marketing Association indicates that the big three long distance carriers all overcharge their customers!
Watch Out For…Don’t wait long after your first meeting or telephone contact to write your sales letter. You want to remain fresh in your prospect’s mind.
Write a few sentences that describe additional benefits to the reader.
For Example: Not only is our long distance service 25% less expensive than our competitor’s, we offer a rerouting system that will direct your calls to another location in case of a power failure. This means you’ll never lose sales!
From your planning stage, write down any objections to your product and how you will overcome them.
If you are going to state a product or service’s price in your letter, remember this important point. Expenses should be expressed over short periods of time and profits over the long term.
For Example: “This service costs you only $50 a week” is better than writing “this service will cost you $200 a month or $2400 a year.”
For Example: “This service will increase your profits by 25% over the next four years” is better than writing “this service will increase your profits by $600 month.”
If you are offering a special discount or bonus to the reader, refer to it after your lead paragraph. Don’t spell out all the details of your offer yet. You want to build excitement and intrigue. But it’s important to refer to it early on in your letter, especially if you don’t mention it in the headline because it will keep your reader’s interest high.
For Example: If you purchase before July 1st, not only can you take advantage of our special discount, you’ll also be eligible for free freight!
Support your product claims with testimonials, examples, or statistics. These statements will add credibility to your benefit claims. Remember, businesses and consumers like to have risk eliminated before they buy a product.
Spell out the specific details of any special offer or a discount.
Close. Write a statement or two for each of the following points:
Ask the prospect to act, or let them know what course of action you’ll be taking such as, telephoning next week to schedule an appointment. If you want to schedule an appointment with your prospect, don’t leave it up to them to telephone you. Indicate when you’ll be contacting them, and then make sure you follow through.
Add a post-script. You can use a P.S. to reinforce your offer or benefit.
Example: P.S. Don’t forget, our free freight offer is good only through July 1st!
Thanks to your extensive outline, the process of actually writing your letter should be fairly simple.
Here are some general guidelines for your letter’s format:
Underline, bold, or italicize key points and words, such as “no cost to you,” “free,” “new,” “a special offer.” This will help them stand out and be noticed.
Set up your letter properly. A standard business letter consists of six basic parts:
|Specific Individual:||Dear Mr. Jones:||Dear Ms. Brown:|
|Nonspecific Individual:||Dear Sir:||Dear Madam:|
After writing the name of your addressee in your salutation, Dear Mr. Jones: always use a colon. Some people use commas or semi-colons after the name of their addressees, but only the colon is proper in a business letter.
If you don’t know whether your addressee is a man or a woman, try to find out. If you c
an’t, then use a gender-neutral salutation such as “Dear Patron,” or “Dear President.”
Here are some guidelines to follow as you begin expanding upon your outline:
Use these key words in your sales letter:
New: People love novelty.
Save: People love to save money and time or anything with perceived value.
Guarantee and Proven: Help eliminate feelings of risk.
Results: People want to know what the outcome will be before they buy.
But the most important words in any sales letter are YOU and YOUR. Remember that your sales letter is a highly personal form of communication between you and the buyer. Keep the attention focused on their wants and needs.
You can save your company 25% a month on your long distance bills.
Use action verbs such as save, evaluate, accomplish, improve, and discover.
Use the active voice. Use “you spend” rather than “you are spending.” The active voice is more powerful and keeps the pace of your letter moving quickly.
Edit your letter. Effective sales writing requires thorough editing.
Once you’ve edited your letter, give it to at least one other person to edit. It’s often difficult to catch your own mistakes. Typos and spelling mistakes will reduce the effectiveness of your letter and will make you appear unprofessional in the eyes of your prospect. Be open to criticism and suggestions for improvements.
When you read your sales letter, ask yourself the following questions:
Only when you can answer “yes” to each of these questions is your sales letter finished. Don’t be discouraged if you have to rewrite your sales letter. Do what it takes to create an effective sales tool. And remember, the more sales letters you write, the easier the writing process will become.
As you write additional sales letters, keep careful track of which ones are effective in generating sales or helping you establish a relationship with your prospect. Incorporate the elements of the more successful ones into each new sales letter you create.
SAMPLE OF A SALES LETTER [top]
The following sample letter will give you an idea of how to bring all the elements of a good sales letter together:
PHONE EXPENSES BY 30%!
Dear Ms. Smythe:
It’s true! Island Long Distance saves direct mail retailers just like you as much as 30% off their monthly long distance phone bills.
We offer the same fiber optic telephone lines that your current service now offers, except we charge a lot less for our high quality service. And, with Island Long Distance, you never have to worry about lost sales due to a power or systems failure. In the event of an emergency, our computer will automatically reroute the calls from your 800 system to another location of your choosing.
Maybe you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of us. That’s because unlike AT&T and MCI, we don’t spend millions of dollars on expensive advertising campaigns. We choose to pass this savings on to you. In fact, most of our new business is generated the old fashioned way: our customers recommend us to their colleagues.
But that’s not all. Island Long Distance offers:
But please don’t just take Island’s word on it. Here’s what some of customers think about us:
“Island Long Distance has cut our long distance phone bills by 30%!”
— Ellen Walker, President, Peacock Fashions
“I’ll never forget the hurricane that downed our phone lines for one week. And I’ll never forget how quickly Island Long Distance rerouted our calls to our New York branch. They saved us during our busiest sales season!”
— Alan Fisher, Sales Director, Candy-By-Mail
I’ve enclosed a brochure that further details our state-of-the-art rerouting system and delayed payment options. Please be advised the free month of long distance is available only to new customers who sign with us by July 1. You must act quickly to take advantage of this exceptional savings opportunity.
I’d like to meet with you to discuss how Island Long Distance can immediately begin saving you up to 30% on your monthly long distance expense. I’ll be contacting you next week to schedule an appointment. I look forward to meeting with you soon.
P.S. Don’t forget, you must sign with Island Long Distance by July 1, 200x for your free month of long distance service!
Even if your sales letter is well-written and effective, you will often need to follow-up with your prospect directly or with an additional sales letter. If you’ve sent 100 sales letters, construct a follow-up plan based on your best chances to generate results.
Make a list of all the prospects you’ve met or have had contact with and telephone them directly.
Next, send another letter reminding your other prospects of your initial letter and any deadlines for special offers.
___ Understand your prospect. What do they care about? How can your product or service fulfill a need for them?
___ Understand the difference between features and benefits.
___ Anticipate your prospect’s objections and be prepared to counter them.
___ Decide what the main objective of your letter is, and develop an offer to help meet that objective.
___ Make sure the person you’re writing to is the buyer.
___ Study other samples of sales letters.
___ Write a headline or use a testimonial, review, or endorsement.
___ Write down your lead paragraph that states your product’s primary benefit.
___ Write down additional benefits.
___ Outline objections and counter them.
___ State price and profit potential.
___ Mention special offers or discounts.
___ Use supporting statements such as testimonials and statistics.
___ Write out the details of any offers or discounts.
___ Write your closing paragraph.
___ Use the proper format.
___ Use key words.
___ Use the active voice.
___ Edit and rewrite.
Complete Sales Letter Book: Model Letters for Every Selling Situation by Rhonda Harris and Ann McIntyre. (Sharpe Professional, 1998).
Sales Letters that Sell by Laura Brill. (AMACOM. 1998).
About the writer — Susan MaGee, formerly Publicity and Book Club Sales Director for Running Press Book Publishers, now operates her own Philadelphia-based business specializing in public relations and business writing.
All rights reserved. The text of this publication, or any part thereof, may not be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher.
Writing an excellent advertising proposal letter may mean a difference between having a good client base and having zero response rate for all the letters that you sent. For this reason, advertising agencies and media outlets hire a pool of excellent writers who can persuade clients and know the elements needed to write an attractive and outstanding proposal letter.
Our sample letters for advertising proposals cover different fields with which users will be guided accordingly in writing their own drafts for a proposal letter. These are all free for downloading and printing.
An advertising proposal is a formal letter the agency submits asking the management of an organization to provide funds for the agency’s project or event. It may also be a funding request that the agency may ask from a client in return for an advertisement slot on their media outlet.
In writing the proposal, the writer must have a clear comprehension of the whole breadth of the aim of the agency in order to determine the budget needed plus all the items and other services that is being offered. This is intended to have a clear overview of how much money is needed in writing the proposal. The elements of writing a good advertisement proposal hinge on how well the proposal letter is being written and how convincing it is for the client to be persuaded on such a proposal. Writing an effective advertising proposal letter should be done formally and properly. The following elements in the proposal have to be considered:
1. Write the full name of the person and the company you are sending the proposal to including full contact information of the recipient like phone numbers and e-mail address. For more than one recipient, list all their complete names and full contact information.You may also see marketing proposal letters.
2. Cite the specific budget in the proposal. Don’t forget to cite how you appreciate the ongoing business relationship you have with the person that you are submitting the proposal to and that you intend to continue with the relationship.You may also see catering proposal letters.
3. Give an overview of whatever project or event the agency is undertaking and explain why funding is necessary. Make a brief but worthwhile overview and write it in such a way that the recipient is convinced the proposal is worth considering.You may also see business proposal letters.
4. Attach a detailed budget proposal for consideration and include your statement on contacting you anytime should there be any questions, and don’t forget to thank the recipient for his time and consideration for the request you’ve submitted.You may also see proposal request letters.
5. Write your closing statement by again expressing your appreciation followed by your full name and full contact information of the agency you’re representing.You may also see partnership proposal letters.
6. Create the detailed proposal overview, its cost, and project description in a new page with itemization and charts to give a full overview of the proposal and its overall purpose.You may also see event proposal letters.
7. Print your cover letter and proposal and sign the cover letter before submitting everything to the recipient.
For more advertising proposal letters, please check on more of our website’s sample proposal letters that you can download for free and edit or modify for your own use.
Please note that proposal letters are limited to the purpose of an agency’s intent and should not be used to ask funding for personal purposes. Even for nonprofit agency organizations, funding for advertising should be acknowledged with a receipt even if these may not be taxable. This is to ensure the proposal is legal and sanctioned by the organization. You may also see website proposals.
For other samples of proposal letters, please check on our website’s business proposal letters that are also all free to download, edit, and modify before printing.
If you are writing a sales letter, then your primary concern is going to be grabbing eyeballs for the product or service that you are selling. For this.
A sales letter is a piece of direct mail which plays a crucial role in convincing the reader to buy a particular product or service in cases when the person selling these products is not available. You may also see letter samples to get a better idea of how to create a sales letter for your company.
318+ Sales Templates in PDF, Word, Excel, PSD, Google Docs, PowerPoint, InDesign, Apple Pages, Google Sheets, Publisher, Apple Numbers, Illustrator, Apple Keynote, Google Slides, HTML5 - START DOWNLOADING
Thinking about the best way to influence prospective clients to buy your products or service? Follow these 7 steps and make a perfect sales letter to do so:
Imagine yourself as the customer who is reading the letter and write what exactly you want to know about the company. This way, you will omit out unnecessary details and put in information that is necessary for the sales of your product and services only. You customer’s main concern is to fulfil his/her needs and desires. So, that’s what you should help him/her to do.
Sales letters need an introduction, a body and a conclusion. In the introduction, tell why are you sending the letter to the recipient. The body is your selling pitch, where you should explain why your offer is tempting. The conclusion should bring all your points together and ask the customer to take advantage of the offer being provided by you.
Your sales letter should be simple to read. If it is too complicated to do so, then the client might as well just throw it away. Write in a conversational tone. Use short and sensible sentences. Keep your letters a mix of formal and informal letter writing styles. Write short paragraphs. As people like to have breaks in reading, the more natural and smooth you make the continuity, the better. Keep editing your letter till you’re completely happy with it.
Grab your reader’s eye, not literally though! Make sure your headlines are not just limited to advertisements. They can also be used in letters to tell readers something they want to know in a way that grabs their attention. Use longer headline (2-3 lines) to provide important information to your readers. Make your headlines compelling, so the reader will want to read the rest of the content.
Involve the reader in the printable sales letter by bringing it to life with a steady flow of interesting details. Use active voice. Build on your sentences and paragraphs so that the reader is inspired to continue reading. Every sentence needs to be entertaining; a reader can become bored quickly. Use a postscript (P.S) at the end, so that you can contain the reader’s attention until the very end of your letter.
The reader might have a question as to why and how will your product benefit him/her. People are attacked daily with countless billboards, commercials and direct mail as all are trying to sell something. People don’t buy products or services, they buy the benefits received from their purchases. Try different approaches to sell your product.
Customers won’t know what you want unless you tell them what to do next. If you want them to call you, say that in your letter and provide your contact details. It’s also important to push your readers to take action right away. If you’re giving a sales promotion, offer special discounts and rates for a limited time. This creates urgency to follow up on your letter.
Size: A4, US
Pressurized for producing a sales copy for your products or services on time? Use our advertising sales letter to come up with a sales letter to quickly use right after download. Insert, add, or edit any other data you wish to add or convey to your receiver.
Size: A4, US
An encouragement sales staff template helps you produce an elegant letter informing your sales staff of any job well done. This is professionally designed for companies to increase spirit and encourage teams who are fruitful to motivate them to perform better. Use this template to start encouraging your sales team to achieve greater targets and goals.
A sample sales letter template, like the one above which you can use to help you create your own sales letter. As these letters are personalized to each recipient, make sure you have the correct address of them. The name of your company should be mentioned.
An offer letter is a letter given by a company to a prospective employee that provides key terms of the potential employee’s employment. In such a letter, the job position offered to the employee, the name of the company, working hours, what is the compensation s/he will receive for the job, bonus, benefits, etc. should be clearly mentioned.
The above template is a letter template any company can use to promote a service or product to its recipients. This sales letter should consist of details of the product you are selling, the name of your company and a little history about it, the services you provide, email address, the point of contact, etc.
An advertising sales letter is a letter written to a company or a local sponsor, in which advertising agencies invite or request them to publish their ads in the company’s events or brochures so that the audience will know a little about their products and services as well.
A professional sales letter can be of many types like- asking an editor about submitting articles, about adding more subscribers to the newsletters, bribe letter, venture letter, etc. These letters are professionally linked to a certain company’s sales of its products and services and what would it like to sell more in detail to its recipients/clients.
In the above sales letter template, there are 12 steps to make a full foolproof sales letter for your company. You can follow them to make a very convincing letter for selling your products and services to your clients. Your sales letter should convince your clients as to why do they need to buy your product.
Your simple sales letter should be short and easily understandable to your clients. It should have a possible description as to why the client should choose your company to do his/her job and not the rest. You should show him/her what makes you different from others and what services do you provide that others do not.
The sales letter template format of the above template shows a pizza shop sample. In sales letters regarding food, make sure that you use pictures that make the customer’s mouth water and he’d want to come and try out the food you provide. Provide your contact details wherever necessary.
A basic sales letter can be of many types- offer letter, thanks letter, application letter, curriculum vitae, etc. These letters contain all details about your company and also all the services and products you provide to your clients.
To market services – be it event management, training, advertising- one needs to approach their clients personally. A way of doing this is by writing an effective.