Our friend Dave called last night, he’s started a small engine repair business and he asked us to review a sales letter he’d written. Dave’s letter was actually pretty good; the only problem was that it did not give a really good reason why anyone should do business with him! There was no incentive; no “special introductory offer”; no inducement for anyone to dash to the phone and call him. Of course we offered to rewrite the letter.

The number one objective for a sales letter is get the letter read. And the second is to persuade the reader to take an action and start a business relationship.

How do you do this? First, create a powerful headline with an immediate clear benefit for the reader, not some wishy-washy “Hi, here we are” statement. Ask a question that shows you understand their needs,

Are you still looking for someone who can guarantee your mower, tractor, trimmer, cultivator or compactor will be ready to work when you are?

This show’s you understand their needs and are not just jumping into a “rah rah” selling pitch.

Then tell them you have the solution,

Our 10 point small engine tune-up will keep you running strong all summer long-we absolutely guarantee it.

Give them your business credentials. Dave could say, “I’ve been repairing all makes of lawn and garden equipment for over 15 years and I love it!”

Now offer them something they can use, in other words: tell them what’s in it for them if they buy your product or use your service right away. Don’t be afraid to be bold. Use Capitals, underline, or bold type–let the offer leap off the page so that if they read nothing else, they’ll at least see the offer you’re making.

Take advantage of our FREE get-to-know-us offer!

Now add some credibility-people want to know what others say about you, so tell them-add two or three testimonials.

Be sure your letter has a high interest factor by adding some free advice or tips and tricks. Dave could tell how to make an engine run better by selecting proper fuel mixtures or how to keep a lawn mower blade sharp.

Clearly state what the next action should be and give them a reason why it’s important to act right away.

Be sure you’re ready for the growing season–call us NOW!

Use plain language and don’t use language that you would not normally use–be sure it sounds like you.

Thank the reader for reading your letter and sign it personally. If you know the reader, add a note at the bottom in your own handwriting.

Last, add a P.S. This is a great place to reiterate the offer and maybe even sweeten the deal.

Take advantage of our FREE “get-to-know-us” offer by April 30th and we’ll throw in a free tank of gas for your mower or tractor.

Of course you must have a good list to send this out to–one that is accurate and up-to-date. Sending a great letter to a non-existent person is a waste of time, so phone your contacts before you mail and make sure your list is up to date.

Do a test. Send out a few dozen per week, and follow up by phone. Vary the offer and see what happens.

Elizabeth Walker and Ken BurginElizabeth Walker and Ken Burgin

Ken Burgin and Elizabeth Walker are the Marketing Masters, a full-service marketing and advertising partnership that helps build busy businesses.