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Thursday, February 2, 2006

Crafting The Hard Sell

One of my most recent writing jobs was to co-author an ebook based on the content of two websites I had helped to develop. No problem. Then I was asked to write the sales letter to go with it. Panic! I'd never written a sales letter before. Feature articles, yes. News articles, yes. Copy for print ads, yes. But never a sales letter. As usual, I said yes and then began to think about how I could do it. I did a web search and came up with an immensely helpful article by David Frey. Frey, author of the Small Business Marketing Bible describes seven 'the hurdles which lead to buying resistance'.

He then sets out a 12-step plan for overcoming these hurdles and crafting a foolproof sales letter. The 12 steps are:

  1. Get attention
  2. Identify the problem
  3. Provide the solution
  4. Present your credentials
  5. Show the benefits
  6. Give social proof
  7. Make your offer
  8. Inject scarcity
  9. Give a guarantee
  10. Call to action
  11. Give a warning
  12. Close with a reminder

He then goes into more detail on how to carry out each of the steps. The full article is worth a read. It is clearly set out and anyone can follow it. At the very least, following the plan will allow you to produce something credible to present to your clients. At best, you'll have done the job perfectly and impressed the heck out of them. What have you got to lose?

PS. In case you're interested, here's the sales letter I wrote after reading Frey's advice. I'm sure it's not perfect, but I was pretty pleased with it, considering I'd never written one before. If you think of any improvements, be sure to let me know. Thanks for reading.

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