Book Summary: The Ultimate Sales Letter

The concept of creating a sales letter is, in fact, somewhat of a myth. It entails sitting down with a clean, blank sheet of paper and conjuring up some words. In reality, putting together a sales letter is more like putting together any other piece of machinery.

Dan S. Kennedy lays out 29 stages in his book The Ultimate Sales Letter. He gives advice on building a revenues masterpiece that will attract new customers and increase sales.

These processes have been broken down into six phases that must be completed to make an effective and profitable sales letter. In ten minutes, you can go through six stages? Let's get this party started!

The IdeaCode is a shorthand method that helps you remember key concepts to use them quickly in any context. KERCET is the IdeaCode for "The Ultimate Sales Letter."

  • K: Knowledge - Learn everything you can about your client, product, and offer.
  • E: Envision - Visualize and anticipate the real letter opening and reaction.
  • R: Write, Review, and Refine
  • C: Checklist - now is your last chance to improve it.
  • E: Edit for Emotion - Cater to the reader's senses.
  • T: Test before Transmit - Try a small group of them before sending them out to all recipients.

Phase 1: Get the Knowledge

A female getting all the knowledge she can get about the offer.

You've probably seen the scooter-riding, clipboard-reading taxi driver trainees obtaining "the knowledge" if you've already visited London.

They don't get to be full-fledged cab drivers until they know London's backstreets like the back of their hands. Likewise, you won't be able to write the most efficient sales letter unless you've learned everything there is to know about the offer.

Get "Into" the Customer

Understanding is the objective. To convince, encourage, or sell someone, you must first have a thorough understanding of them. The more connected you are, the more likely you are to succeed.

Here are some details about your customer that you should learn.

  • What keeps people up in the middle of the night?
  • What are the top three everyday annoyances for them?
  • What are the current and future trends in their enterprises or lives?
  • What is it that they secretly, fervently desire?
  • Who else is selling a product comparable to theirs, and how are they doing it?

Visualize your letter's receivers as live, breathing, reasoning, feeling, walking, and talking human beings to illustrate these realities. To predict the thoughts and feelings of your letter's receivers, try to become one with them.

Get "Into" the Offer

You must completely comprehend your product or service, just as you must endeavor to get into the head and heart of the letter receiver.

If you're writing a promotional letter for a product, play with it, test it, disassemble it and reassemble it, and even display it to others as a salesperson would.

If you're writing a letter to advertise a service, if feasible, write it yourself. Go talk to some of the people who do use it. Speak with folks who have used a similar service.

The aim is to list every possible feature and benefit, then prioritize them based on how important they are to the client.

Acknowledge and Address Flaws Openly

This may appear unusual at first, but recognizing the defects in your product, service, or offer is an important step toward closing the deal.

You compel yourself to answer your letter recipient's questions, complaints, and worries by identifying the shortcomings. You improve your trustworthiness as well.

Each product, service, and offer has its set of flaws. Nothing in this world is flawless. Your "credibility stock" climbs far up on most of your letter recipients' charts by admitting and honestly outlining the disadvantages to your offer. Instead of seeing them as stumbling hurdles to a sale, consider their components of a clear, compelling, and powerful message.

Phase 2: Envisage the Moment

A letter being sent to the individual who can reply early on in the process.

As with other athletes, visioning the action can prepare you for actual life and anticipate what you'll need to do to attain success.

Get Your Sales Letter Delivered

You should think about getting the final letter into the hands of individuals who can reply early in the process of putting together your sales letter.

And this is an important part of the useful knowledge you need to collect. If it screams "junk mail," recipients are more likely to throw it away without giving it a second consideration. It's less likely to end up in the recycle bin unopened if it looks to be significant or valuable.

Similarly, you must consider the viewpoints of gatekeepers or those who you must rely on to get your messages into the hands of the target recipient.

There might be one or several people standing — and sifting — between your letter and its target reader in B2B. Your letter must also be appealing to them. It's more likely to arrive if it appears valuable or as though the receiver would expect delivery.

Get Your Sales Letter Looked At

Imagine the individual to whom you've written your sales letter holding a stack of mail and going through it while standing next to a trash can. How do you persuade people to read your sales letter?

Use the envelope's exterior to pique the reader's interest in what's inside, but keep in mind that unmet envelope promises smear the credibility of everything you've enclosed and all you've spoken. Your credibility will be enhanced with a filled envelope.

Get Your Sales Letter Read

A small formula taught almost universally in person-to-person selling: AIDA, which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.

This is how a sale is conducted systematically. As a result, after you've piqued the letter recipient's interest, you must work to maintain it.

Nobody is sitting around desperately hoping that your sales letter will reach him. It will almost certainly be an unpleasant nuisance when it arrives. How can you earn the right to be welcomed as a visitor? By stating something that the receiver recognizes as essential and useful right away.

Declare it with a headline for general public mailings.

  • They Didn't Believe I Was Capable of [fill in the blank], But I Was.
  • Who Else Is Interested in [fill in the blank]?
  • How Did [fill the blank] Make Me [fill the blank]?

You've seen them all before, and they're usually effective.

B2B? When creating mailings to CEOs and company owners, you must pay special attention to the appearance of your letter. Successful merchants are respected by these individuals, and they prefer to conduct business with them.

Here are a few suggestions. Use premium paper and envelopes, preferably with a texture or a watermark. Avoid cramming the envelope with too many advertising inserts. Include offers like alternative exclusive association individual membership and other prestige appeals in your sales letter.

How about selling professional services?

Credibility is crucial in this situation. Facts such as the number of years in operation, the number of clients served, sample client lists, and so on may be really useful. Facts and credibility simply serve to reinforce persuasion.

Therefore, "believability" is even more crucial than "credibility." Consider providing a free initial consultation or a free bundle of educational materials to overcome skepticism and mistrust.

Motivate Action

So, your communication has been viewed by the intended recipient. How can you persuade them to make a purchase?

Limit the amount of products/services you provide. By limiting availability, the product/service may be positioned as a luxury, enticing the reader to act quickly – or risk missing out.

Imply the trends. By implying that a massive trend has emerged and everyone is participating, you may infer that anybody who ignores it is, quite simply, an idiot. And no one wants to be an idiot. Promises smear the legitimacy of everything enclosed and everything you have to say. Your credibility will be enhanced with a filled envelope.

Infer a picky shopper. Create the impression that appreciating the worth requires a very special person, and your reader is just such a person. As a variation, you may infer exclusivity, implying that the reader was chosen for the offer based on a certain attribute.

Make a firm promise or indicate a particular deal. The reader would have a sense of rationality, conservatism, and objectivity. It is soothing. A guarantee increases reaction - the stronger the promise, the better the response.

Tell a story. Develop your storytelling skills to take your sales letters to the next level. All excellent products and services have a backstory that helps them sell. It allows customers to connect with your product and service emotionally, starting with the heart, not the head.

Phase 3: Black Pen, Red Pen

Writing the first draft of the sales letter and just letting your imagination go wild. Then, later on rewriting for strategy and style.

Write the First Draft

The system's phases have put you through a lot of preparation work up to this point. Now you can get back to doing what you intended to do all along—writing. There's no need to second-guess yourself or read back; just write. Allow your imagination to go wild.

Now Rewrite for Strategy

You've finished your first draft, which is likely too long. Now it's time to rewrite. You must whittle away at the masterpiece you've built to ensure that it sends the clearest possible message in the shortest amount of time.

It's counterproductive to cut your material to a length that everyone will read. Instead, you should concentrate your efforts on the small percentage of letter receivers who will be interested in the message. Instead of writing for the non-buyer, write for the buyer.

And after that, Rewrite for Style

Readers should like reading sales letters. That is, the letter:

  • looks simple to read,
  • is pleasing to the eye,
  • employs common language, and
  • does not need you to be a Harvard graduate or a devout masochist to complete.

You should also use brief paragraphs as often as possible (ideally, those only three or four sentences long).

You sell the reader on reading your letter in the opening paragraph, and then you sell your offer in the body of the letter. After that, amuse yourself. Make an effort to appeal to the senses. Make your letter represent your or your company's "personal style" using large impact words and phrases.

Answer Questions and Objections

Sales letters are sabotaged by unanswered inquiries and unsolved worries! You create the ideal sales presentation by thoroughly refuting every potential question and argument.

The letter must address every conceivable complaint because you won't be present to answer.

A straightforward solution to the issue or objection, a confirming testimonial comment, case history, or narrative, and a repeat of or reference to any guarantee/free trial offer provided should be included in most responses to objections or queries.

Phase 4: Check the Checklists

A female ticking of her checklist and making sure she's covered all the bases of the sales letter.

It's time to start over and make sure you've covered all of your bases.

  • Are you writing to your reader about what matters most to them (rather than yourself)?
  • Did you make a list of all of your product's/features offers?
  • Have you identified the drawbacks of your offer and product flaws? Did you come up with any "damaging admission copy" to go along with those flaws?
  • Did you come up with a list of reasons why you shouldn't respond? Did you bring up and address the causes for not responding?
  • Did you consider how your letter will be delivered and/or routed to its intended recipient via gatekeepers?
  • Did you tell a compelling personal story?
  • Is the letter written in an entertaining tone?... Is it pleasurable to read the letter?

Phase 5: Rewrite for Passion! Edit for Clarity!

It makes no difference what company you're in or who your prospects or clients are; people buy based on emotion and then rationalize their decision. When the simple factual method is adopted, it nearly always fails.

A sales letter requires a passionate personality. It is written ink on paper rather than warm flesh and blood, so it must work harder to appear enthusiastic.

Remove any words or phrases that do not develop, strengthen, or support your primary sales narrative.

You aren't revising to make it shorter. Because you're modifying to explain, the letter will automatically become shorter.

Read the Letter Out Loud

Whether read quietly or aloud, the letter should "flow" easily and conversationally. Fix any nonsense syllables or hang-ups you discover.

The sales letter must be simple to read. Have your kid read the letter aloud to you. Any words or phrases that are difficult for your youngster should be altered.

Phase 6: Test before Transmit

A product tester testing out the product before mailing to the recipient.

Now is the time to put up the greatest replica of the full message you can, including all attachments, and then mail it to yourself.

Your goal here is to get it, see it, and deal with it as if it were a regular piece of mail. You should know whether your artwork is of a size that will be roughed up and destroyed by the post office.

If your item does not compare favorably to the other letters you receive on a typical day, you should be aware.

Happy? Then, using a sample of "friendly" clients, re-test. Inquire about their opinions. Did the letter pique their interest? Was the offer enough to persuade them? Is the letter memorable?

Checklists are useful here, and the same questions should be asked.

So there you have it: six steps for a single letter. Doesn't it seem a little excessive? Perhaps, but the end justifies the means.

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