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The Most Important Thing About Writing A Persuasive Sales Letter
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So you want to write a persuasive letter. Let's discuss how to do this.
The most important thing you need to know doesn't have anything to do with writing though. Persuasion relies on understanding human nature, not eloquence.
Think of the most successful salespeople you know. Do they strike you as eloquent? Perhaps. But probably not.
A persuasive letter doesn't need to be a finely crafted literary masterpiece. But it does need to do something very important - - stir deep feelings within the person it's written to.
But how to do this?
Well ... first you need to do a little homework. Fact-finding homework!
Copywriter Gary Halbert gives a priceless tidbit in one of his newsletters every writer of sales copy needs to know. He says that when it comes to sales copy, most people pay attention to the writing part ... while neglecting to gather all the facts about what they're selling first.
A persuasive letter begins with fact-gathering. Gather all the facts you can. Big ones. Little ones. Obvious details. Not-so-obvious. Etc.
a) the person you're sending your letter to ...
b) the thing you're trying to sell.
To write a persuasive letter you have to know what the reader really cares about. The best way to do this is simply ASK them.
If not literally (although this is BEST), then figuratively. The following questions are a good place to start:
"What will make you happy - what can I offer you to put a smile on your face?"
"Do you actually want what I'm offering in this sales letter?"
"Can you afford what I'm offering? If it's pricey for you ... then can I structure a payment plan of some kind (to make it easy to pay for)?"
"Why are you afraid of purchasing from anybody, including me? How can I prove to you that I'm honest and reliable and will stand behind my product / service? What can I say to you (or show you) that will convince you I'm telling you the truth about this?"
"What kind of a guarantee can I give you that will make you 110% comfortable with trying out what I'm offering?"
These things cannot be over-stressed. You can only craft a persuasive letter if you know beforehand what the person you're writing to wants. Unless you personally know them, the reader of your letter doesn't care about you per se. They only care about what you can do for them. And the best way to find out what your potential buyer wants is to ask.
This is why having actual face-to-face sales experience helps copywriters. The art to writing a persuasive letter isn't so much in HOW you say something as much as knowing WHAT to say.
A persuasive letter is essentially selling in print. And if you know what a successful salesperson would "say" to an interested potential buyer then your job is 80% done.
Next comes fact-gathering about the actual product /service you're selling. Gather your facts, then separate the most important ... and most interesting facts ... from the others.
List them one by one ... and match each with at least one positive benefit your reader will experience if they acquire what you're selling.
For example, if I wanted to write a persuasive letter about a miniature, ventless, indoor propane heater (like the one I use in my home sometimes) I'd make a fact-benefit sheet like the following:
FACT: Heater is small (20 inches x 28 inches) -- BENEFIT: Compact; easy to fit in any room.
FACT: Is ventless -- BENEFIT: Don't need to cut any holes in walls or install expensive ducts.
FACT: Has 30,000 Btu capacity -- BENEFIT: Heats over 1,400 sq/ft easily and efficiently.
FACT: Has 3 temperature settings -- BENEFIT: Saves money heating as little or as much as you like.
FACT: Has its own Piezo Ignitor -- BENEFIT: Needs no matches or electricity to start.
FACT: Runs on propane -- BENEFIT: No electricity needed, can even heat your home even if the power is out during a winter storm.
The facts you gather before writing even one word of sales copy are the ingredients for a persuasive letter. You cannot craft a persuasive letter without knowing what your reader wants. And whatever you're selling won't have any appeal unless you tell them how they're going to benefit from it.
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