Written by Chris Lambrinides
CHAPTER 16 - DIRECT SALES LETTERS
Direct Sales Letters
I used to love direct sales letters. They are simple, cost-effective, and affordable. I find that they work best on past customers or someone you’re trying to get back on the schedule for another service. They will also work for attracting new customers. I believe they are most effective when you already have some existing rapport with the person.
When to Use
In the beginning of my business, I had more time than money. I used sales letters more often. As my business grew, I stepped away from them because they weren’t as affordable to distribute. Other mass-mailing methods allowed us to reach farther for a lower price.
In the beginning, I would use them to attract new clients. Then, I started using them to remind existing customers to get back on the schedule. I remember first deciding to use direct sales letters to get into an exclusive gated community. I wanted to get in there and flyer-bomb the high-income pocket, but I couldn’t get past the gate. I could, however, look up the community on a map and record their addresses. I did this and fired off a letter to each homeowner. I was eventually allowed in.
Sales Letters for New-Customer Acquisition
Here is a direct sales letter I used with great success over the years. Before you read this, do know I think this letter is completely absurd. But it does work, and it does get results. This is it:
Sparta, NJ—Prepare yourself for this. A survey conducted by a London agency and published in Forbes Magazine revealed a foul truth. Here’s what they discovered.
One in every ten British men wears his underwear for up to three days. One in every one hundred goes a full week. What is going on over there? As bizarre as that seems, there’s more. They obsess over their windows. One in every ten Brit- ish homeowners gets their windows cleaned once a month. That’s not all. Only one in every twenty New Jersey and New York homeowners gets their windows cleaned twice per year. Maybe the Brits are using their spare laundry money to keep their windows shiny, who knows?
What I do know is that you would like to have your windows cleaned without breaking into the underwear fund. Because August and September are typically slow for us, we can offer you a great deal.
The Clean Underwear Relief Package
The Supreme Clean:
• Detailed cleaning of standard windows—in and out—INCLUDED
• Hand-cleaned screens—INCLUDED
• Sill cleaning—INCLUDED
• Frames wiped down—INCLUDED
• Total satisfaction guaranteed—INCLUDED
All this is yours for only $279 for a limited time.
Up to twenty windows—excludes storm windows
“Neat & clean. They left everything as they found it. Very pleased & you come highly recommended! You will hear from me again real soon! Thank you!”—Steve Monmouth, Boonton NJ
With more than a million clean windows under our belt, you benefit from the experience.
Insured $1 million for your protection.
You are guaranteed to love your amazing, clean windows. This offer ends September 30, 2016, so don’t delay…
Call NOW for an appointment or FREE quote.
(Sign the letter with your name.)
What makes this sales letter work? It includes a set of key elements that all great sales letters have:
1) It has an attention-capturing headline.
2) It talks more about “them,” the customer, than you.
3) Even when talking about my company, it’s really talking about them (“Your Safety”).
4) It has a good story and a little humor.
5) It has bullet points and bold font in select areas. This caters to the skimmers and helps make your point clear.
6) It’s short; it fits on one page.
7) It’s personal. Even though I don’t use their names, I reference their town and state.
Make the seven points a priority in any sales letter you write. Your letters will be more effective and profitable because of them.
Sales Letters for Repeat Clients
A direct sales letter to a repeat client is way easier to write and put together. It’s also much easier to personalize because you already have their name and information.
A letter to a client already in your system can be as simple as this:
It’s that time of year again! Spring is right around the corner. Because you are one of our favorite customers, I wanted to drop you a note early.
Our schedule is filling up fast, and I want to be sure you can get your most preferred appointment time.
Also, we are implementing a small price increase this year. But if you schedule your appointment before the first day of spring, we can waive that for you.
Give me a call today at 862-266-0677, and we can pick out a good time for your spring appointment.
Thoughts on Sales Letters
For repeat clients, I eventually dropped sales letters for 4 × 6 postcards. We had an active client base of over twenty-five thousand customers, and it was no longer affordable for us. But if I had a repeat client base of five hundred or fewer customers, I would likely still be using direct sales letters. I would use them to invite past clients back on the schedule and to introduce new services.
I can’t stress enough how useful direct sales letters can be for getting a higher-than-usual response rate and how superb they are for getting access to private communities.
Test your response rates on hand-addressed envelopes versus printed-on text. You may find the uptick in open rates worth the time of hand addressing some of them. After all, it doesn’t have to be your handwriting. Consider a project like this for when the office or phone staff have gaps in their schedule.