Secret To Successful Business Letter Essay, Research Paper
How to write a successful business letter.
Name: Nguyen The Hoang
Part I. Introduction.
Letter-writing is an essential part of business. On the other hand, going to be a graduate of English, I intend to use my English in business. I, therefore, tried to learn to write business letter. Firstly, I found it so easy.
One day, i read an article saying that the ?U.S. Post Office handles 300 million pieces of mail every day? but ?a two percent response rate is exceptionally high? and ?a manufacturer mailing 1,000 sales letters expects that fewer than 20 people will respond to the pitch?. Then i knew that what I have learnt was just a simple theory. Real success in writing business letter is lying somewhere else. Thus, I started to find that ?somewhere else?.
The study to find secrets in writing a good business letter is not only do good for myself, but also for many of my college-mates, who have the same intention as mine. That?s the motivation that urges me to do this assignment.
2. Objectives of the study
Choosing this topic, I aim at the following objectives:
- To discover what lies under a sucsessful business letter
- To find out the way to create an effective letter.
- To suggest a good way to succeed in writing business letter.
3. Scope of the study
I found that secrets of an effective business letter are plentiful. They lie both in the style and the content of the letter, both abstractly and concretely . . . .
Due to the limitation of time; and I know that there have been so many assignments as well as books, articles saying about the form of business letter, therefore, it is referred to a little in this assignment. The focus is on the factors leading to the success of a business letter.
4. Method of the study.
Collecting and extracting articles from guide books and reference books, esp. in the Internet, concerning the studied issue.
5. Design of the study:
Part II. Development.
I. Theoretical Preliminaries.
Letter is a kind of communication through which the writer and the recipient exchange information in the form of paper-writing. In the angle of receiving information, it is different from oral communication in the way that oral communicators receive response immediately; but that to a letter is not known until the answer is received. In terms of form, a letter is different form the other kinds of composition. It is simpler and more straight-forward. Beside, the feelings of the write are stated freely.
Objectives of writing a letter: People write letters anytime they want to exchange or send information to another person. Just a short message or a long confidence to a another one are called letter.
Kinds of letters, therefore, plentiful. Examples are: letter to relatives/friends/lovers, thanksgiving/invitation letter, letter of congratulation, letter of recommendation, business letter, etc.
2. Business letter and business letter writing.
Business letters are those used in business. The writers use them to exchange information with the recipients in order to do their business. Some types of business letters are: Circular letter, letters of complaint, letter of adjustment, letters of application for jobs, etc.
?A letter in business is what medicine is to a patient?. Good letters are ambassadors that traverse every nook and corner of commercial world. They constitute the biggest source of active liaison that is necessary for finding business.
?A good letter is a master key that opens looked doors. It opens markets, opens the way for your goods and services?.
Letter-writing is an essential part of business. A well crafted sales letter is the engine that pushes your product to success.
The letter is often evidence of an arrangement or a contract, and must therefore be written with care; even the shortest and most usual of letters may have this importance. The need for thought in writing is clear when you realise that in speaking ?either in face-to-face or by telephone ? the reaction to the spoken word can be seen or heard immediately, but that to a letter is not known until the answer is received.
Today the importance of the written word is increasing. The ?invention? of the paperless office does nothing to diminish the power of the written word. E-mail, the Internet and the World Wide Web have only added to the power of the written word.
Ever day I see the importance of writing in the business world. Many businesses lack the ability to generate internally a well-written letter. Not having this ability puts these businesses at a competitive disadvantage. Business writing has become more than a nice thing to have -it has become a business necessity.
II. Writing an Effective Business Letter.
As I said, this assignment gives more concentration on the ?secret? factors in writing successful business letters.
1. Steps to write effectively:
Writing an effective business letter is an important skill for every manager and business owner. Here are the main steps in creating an effective business letter.
1. Identifying your Aims:
Clearly establish what you want to achieve from the letter- whether it is to win back a dissatisfied customer or to reprimand an employee. Whatever the aim, create your letter from these goals.
2. Establishing the facts:
Make sure you have the relevant accurate facts available. For a late payer, this might include relevant invoices, complaint forms, talks with your sales department and any previous correspondence from the customer.
3. Knowing the recipient of the letter:
Write in the language of your recipient. Try to put yourself in the position of the recipient. Read it from his point of view. Is the letter clear or open to misinterpretation.
If you know the recipient, use this knowledge to phrase the letter to generate your desired response.
Having established your aims, collected the relevant facts with a conscious view of the recipient- write down the main points of your letter. But, before, you should consider the layout of your letter.
4. Deciding on the layout and format of the letter.
(See 2: ?The layout of a business letter? )
5. Concentrating on the language and style of the letter.
(See 3: ?A letter?s style?)
6. Starting writing
(Steps of writing are in Session 4: ?Writing?)
2. The layout of a business letter:
2.1. Format samples:
There are three main formats: blocked, semi-blocked and indented.
a) The Blocked Format: has all entries tight against the left -hand margin. Single spacing is used for the body of the letter within paragraphs and double spacing is used between paragraphs. Block format is easy to learn and easy to arrange. It is widely used for both business and personal letters, in fact, is very similar to a personal business letter.
(3) Inside Address
5 Hill Street
Madison, WI 53700
15 March 1993
Ms. Helen Jones, President
Jones, Jones, & Jones
123 International Lane
Boston, MA 01234
Attention: Head of Sales Dept.
Dear Ms. Jones,
Subject: New products of Cadrell?s
When you use the block form to write a business letter, all the information is typed flush left, with one-inch margins all around. First provide your own address and the date, then skip a line and provide the inside address of the party to whom the letter is addressed. Skip another line before the salutation. Then write the body of your letter as illustrated here, with no indentation at the beginning of paragraphs. Skip lines between paragraphs.
If you are using letterhead that already provides your address, begin with the date. After writing the body of the letter, type the closing, leave 3-4 blank lines, then type your name and title (if applicable), all flush left. Sign the letter in the blank space above your typed name. Now doesn’t that look professional?!
Cc : 5 to five departments
b) The semi-blocked format sets the references and the date to the right margin for filing and retrieval purposes, with the remaining entries placed against the left margin.
5 Hill Street
Madison, WI 53700
15 March 1993
Ms. Helen Jones, President
Jones, Jones, & Jones
123 International Lane
Boston, MA 01234
Dear Ms. Jones:
This is the semi-blocked form. Its layout is nearly the same as the block one. However, the address and the date are written in the top-right corner. Skip one one to the date. In the body, indent the beginning of paragraphs.
One more thing to be considered, the Complimentary Close and Signature is centred-indented. It?s clear to see ?
c) The indented format follows the same layout as either of the above, but indents each paragraph by five or six spaces.
If you are using the indented form, place your address and the date on the top right-hand side of the page. Type the inside address and salutation flush left. Indent the first line of each paragraph one-half inch. Skip lines between paragraphs.
Instead of placing the closing and signature lines flush left, type them at the right, even with the address and date above, as illustrated below. Now doesn’t that look professional?
Most personal business letters and business letters use a 1 inch right, left, and bottom margins. The top margin is generally 2 or 2 1/4 inches depending on the exercise or letter. There are generally 6 lines (vertical) per inch.
The 12 elements of a letter (and their arrangement) have been shown above. I only note some further information about some of them.
(2) Date: It should never been abbreviated (as January to Jan. 31). Open punctuation is common, otherwise, use comma (,).
(4) Attetion: appear right bellow the recipient?s address when the address is a company abd you don?t know the name of the reader.
(5) Salutation: Words used as a salutation are: Sir, Dear Sir, Sirs, Madam, Gentlement, Dear Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms ___. They depend on your relationship with the recipient. Always try to personalise letter thus avoiding the dear sir/madam situation. (Further is in the next session).
A salutation is traditionally followed by a comma (,), but now many companies in American use colon(:) or no punctuation. (see 2.2. How to address a non-sexist business letter)
(6) Subject matter: optional, but its inclusion can help the recipient in dealing successfully with the aims of your letter. Normally the subject sentence is preceded with the word ?Re:?/?Subject:?. It should be placed one line below the greeting.
(7) Body: It should be divided into paragraphs. Each subject should be dealt within a separate one.
The first paragraph should introduce the subject matter (reason for writing); it could be very short.
The second paragraph (or paragraphs) explains the exact situation and provides details that support the reason for writing. Here might go dates, names, and facts like cost and times. You will be asking the company to take some action in the last paragraph, and this middle paragraph (or these middle paragraphs) should provide the necessary evidence to persuade the company to take the action you request.
The final paragraph tells the company what action you would like it to take. If you wrote a letter of complaint, you’ll ask for repair or replacement of the offending item. If it is a letter of praise, you’ll ask them to count you among their most loyal customers–or something like that. This last paragraph should be very clear and precise.
Marginate paragraphs to the left, leave a blank line in a single spaced letter to indicate a new paragraph
(8) Signature: The signature should be clear and legible-showing you are interested in the letter and consequently the recipient.
(12) Enclosures: indicates that something other than the letter is included in the envelope. If have, put ‘Enclosure’, “Enclosures” or ?Enc?, or’ Encs’ before the attachment, two lines below the last entry.
2.3. How to address a non-sexist business letter.
Let us look at the standard opening phrase of a standard business letter:
This is clearly sexist as it precludes the possibility that a woman is reading the letter. We can try to fix this, however, by writing:
This was suggested in a recent posting in a few of the gender-issue related news groups. However, someone pointed out that by putting the masculine title before the feminine one, unacceptable dominance was demonstrated, making this non-PC. So, let?s consider:
This is no good since we’re showing dominance in the other direction. Of course, since Men are Oppressors and Women are Oppressees, which may not be so bad. But it’s not really PC, is it? Thus, another way:
That solves the problem of who goes first. Of course, the Sir is on top now, which is completely unacceptable. Missionary style het-sexist imagery abounds. It?s bad, probably worse than the original. Reverse it:
Making women do all the work is sexist. Besides, there is still one on top of the other showing dominance. We may not sure who’s doing what, but somebody is being oppressed here.
What about putting the Sir inside the Madam – neither is going first and neither is above the other one? This is so unacceptable. The Sir has inserted himself inside the Madam! Practically splitting her in two with himself. A man writing a letter addressed like this to a woman is obviously making an (unwanted) sexual advance.
Now we put the Madam inside the Sir. Oh, now the Sir has enveloped the Madam! Horrors, she has lost her identity, her sense of self! This is imprisonment! (Oh, how could I have even thought of this one?)
Thus, there’s only one answer left:
To Whom it May Concern
There. Simple, no reference to sex or sexuality, no problems. Not very friendly, but then again unwanted intimacy is a sin. And getting rid of friendliness is a small price to pay to make sure that absolutely no-one is ever, ever offended.
The above is just what I have made up. In fact, Dear Sir/Madam is commonly used , becomes even formulaic when you are not sure about the recipient; or uses Dear + Job Tittle (Personnel Director)
If you know the recipient is male or female, the salutation must be Dear Sir (for man), Dear Madam (for woman).
In the case that you write to a person you have close relationship, Dear + Surname is better.
Sir: This has become very formal nowadays and is not generally used except by government officers.
Dear Sir: By far the most accepted form. However this is used only when a relationship between the correspondences already exists.
Dear Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms: use if the writer knows the recipient well, and wants to give a personal (friendly)( touch rather than being formal as usual. Very important: use Ms for women unless asked to use Mrs or Miss.
3. A letter’s style:
Previously we created the main points of our letter, now we must transform this into a final version. To do this, 3 main considerations are necessary.
Always try to personalise your letters; try to be civil and friendly even if the subject matter is stern and sensitive. Give the impression to the recipient that some effort and thought has gone into the letter.
Once the final version of the letter has been created, polish it off with a final spelling and punctuation check.
Open Punctuation: When no punctuation follows the opening (salutation or greeting) or the complimentary close of a letter (except one that may end in an abbreviation), open punctuation has been used. Open punctuation is compatible with block format because both save time and reduce errors.
q Simple, direct, and concise language will be the most easily understood by reader, and therefore is most appropriate.
Clarity of communication is the primary goal. Don’t use technical jargon if the recipient is unlikely to understand it. Short sentences are less likely to be misunderstood or misinterpreted. Be precise; don’t ramble; avoid abbreviation (especially date). Check each sentence to see if it is relevant. Does it add to the point ?
This is not to say that all the words and expressions should be simple or monosyllabic. A limited vocabulary always makes dull reading. But current cliches, such as at this moment in time, and pompous expressions, or any words which are unlikely to be understood should be avoided.
q The following suggestions help you to avoid the use of jargon.
1. Use active, not passive forms of verbs. Passive voice is weak and confusing. ?A decision has been reached by the committee? is inferior to ?The committee has reached a decision? Also, readers can sense your evasiveness if you write: ?Your order has been misplaced? instead of ?I misplaced your order.?
2. Avoid circumlocution, in other words always prefer the shorter, simpler expression. Use for example: for not for the purpose of
about not with regard to?
3. Choose the more common, shorter words.
For example: send not forward
end not terminate
go not proceed
q One of the ways to make your paragraphs coherent, read smoothly, and achieve a sense of unity is to use transitional words and phrases. These words serve as road signs which tell your reader here is a conclusion, a contrast, a comparison, an example, a beginning, etc.:
On the other hand
The followings are standard phrases. They make the letter a professional tone.
The Start (see 2.2. How to address a non-sexist business letter)
With reference to your advertisement in the Times, ?
your letter of 23rd March, ?
your phone call today, ?
Thank you for your letter of March 5th.
The Reason for Writing
I am writing to enquire about ? apologise for ? confirm ?
Could you possibly ? ?
I would be grateful if you could ?
Agreeing to Requests
I would be delighted to ?
Giving Bad News
I am afraid that ?
I am enclosing ?
Enclosed you will find ?
Thank you for your help
Please contact us again if we can help in any way.
there are any problems.
you have any questions.
The Finish, Reference to Future Contact
I/We look forward to hearing from you soon.
meeting/ seeing you next Tuesday.
receiving your instructions/reply
Please tell us if we can give you any further help
I hope this information will be of use to you
Name and address Salutation Complimentary Close
Southern Airways Ltd. Dear Sirs,
To Whom It may Concern Yours faithfully,
The Marketing Manager Dear Sir,
Sir, Yours faithfully,
Your obedient servant
Ms J.Smith Dear Ms Smith, Yours sincerely,
3.2. Style and tone.
The style we choose will be a compromise between several different elements.
First, it will to some extent reflect our own personalities. This is not to say that we should use too idiosyncratic a style, for we are seeking to project an image not only of ourselves but also of the organisation on whose behalf we may be writing. But an element of originality is desirable. Originality means that the letter will avoid the use of jargon and both impress the reader, and try to meet the reader?s particular needs.
Second, our style, in the choice of vocabulary, sentence structure?., will seek primarily to be comprehensible to the reader. A letter to ratepayers, explaining the need to increase rates, will be phrased in very different terms from a report on the same circulated within the Treasure?s Department.
Third, the style must be suitable to the subject. Formal circumstances, such as debt collection or complaint letters, requires a formal, though not threatening tone. When one is asking a favour, the style will be much more informal, though it should never be allowed to to slip into colloquialisms.
So our style in writing letters will reflect ourselves, our reader?s needs and the demands of the subject matter. But the final aim will be to write well. This does not mean the use of literary flourishes bur of accuracy, brevity and a touch of elegance.
III. What makes a successful business letter.
1. How to write business letters that get results
Failure to get to the point, technical jargon, pompous language, misreading the reader–these are the poor stylistic habits that cause others to ignore the letters we send. Part of the problem is that writers do not know how to write persuasively.
The solution is ?AIDA?, a simple formula lets you cut through jargon and messy language to create straightforward writing that works. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Demand, and Action–a sequence of psychological reactions that happen in the mind of the reader as he is sold on your idea. Briefly, here’s how it works.
First, the letter gets the reader’s attention with a hard-hitting lead paragraph that goes straight to the point or offers an element of intrigue.
Then, the letter hooks the reader’s interest. The hook is often a clear statement of the reader’s problems, needs, or wants. For example, if you are writing to a customer who received damaged goods, acknowledge the problem and then offer a solution.
Next, create demand. Your letter is an offer of something–a service, a product, goodwill, an agreement, a contract, a compromise, a consultation. Tell the reader how he or she will benefit from your offering. That creates a demand for your product.
Finally, call for action. Ask for the order, the signature, the donation, the assignment. What follows are actual examples of how each of these steps has been used in business letters.
1.1. Getting attention.
Getting the reader’s attention is a tough job. If your letter is boring, pompous, or says nothing of interest, you’ll lose the reader.
One attention-getting technique used by successful writers is to open with an intriguing question or statement–a “teaser” that grabs the reader’s attention and compels him to read on. Here’s an opening teaser from a letter written by a freelance public-relations writer to the head of a large PR firm:
Is freelance a dirty word to you?
Even if you feel negatively about freelancers, you can’t help but be curious about what follows. And what follows is a convincing argument to hire the writer:
It really shouldn’t be, because in public relations, with its crisis-lull-crisis rhythm, really good freelancers can save you money and headaches. Use them when you need them. When you don’t, they don’t cost you a cent.
Use me. I am a public-relations specialist with more than 20 years’ experience in all phases of the profession. MY SERVICES ARE AVAIL- ABLE TO YOU ON A FREELANCE BASIS….
Another freelance writer succeeded with a more straightforward approach:
Dear Mr. Mann:
Congratulations on your new business. May you have great success and pleasure from it.
I offer my services as a freelance public relations writer specializing in medical and technical subjects….
Here, the writer gets attention by opening with a subject that has a built-in appeal to the reader–namely, the reader’s own business. Most of us like to read about ourselves. And just about everybody would react favorably to the good wishes expressed in the second sentence.
1.2. Hooking interest.
Once having got the reader’s attention, the letter has got to provide a “hook” to create real interest in its subject and keep him reading. This hook is a promise–a promise to solve problems, answer questions, or satisfy needs. The hook is often written in a two- paragraph format: The first paragraph is a clear statement of the reader’s needs, while the second shows how the writer can satisfy these needs. Here’s the hook from a letter written by a job seeker to the vice president of one of the television networks.
To stay ahead, you need aggressive people–willing to take chances. People who are confident, flexible, dedicated. People who want to learn–who are not afraid to ask questions.
I am one of those people–one of the people you should have on your staff. Let me prove it. Start by reading my resume. It shows I can take any challenge and succeed.
What better way to hold someone’s interest than to promise to solve his problems for him?
A principal rule of persuasive writing is: Remember that the reader isn’t interested in you. The reader is interested in the reader. And because we want to hear about ourselves, the following letter was particularly effective in gaining and holding interest:
As you may already know, we have been doing some work for people who have the same last name as you do. Finally, after months of work, my new book, THE AMAZING STORY OF THE BLYS IN AMERICA, is ready for printing and you are in it!
The Bly name is very rare and our research has shown that less than two one-thousandths of one percent of the people in America share the Bly name….
1.3. Creating desire.
Get attention. Hook the reader’s interest. Then create the desire to buy what you’re selling. This is the step where many businesspeople falter. Their corporate backgrounds condition them to write business letters in “corporatese,” so they fill paragraphs with pompous phrases, jargon, cliches, and windy sentences. Here’s a real life example from a major investment firm:
All of the bonds in the above-described account having been heretofore disposed of, we are this day terminating same. We accordingly enclose herein a check in the amount of $22,000, same being your share realised therein, as per statement attached. Notwithstanding the distribution to you of the described amount, you shall remain liable for your proportionate share….
Don’t write to impress–write to express. State the facts, the features, the benefits of your offer in plain, simple English. Give the reader reasons why he or she should buy your product, give you the job, sign the contract, or approve the budget. Create a desire for what you’re offering. Here’s how the manager in charge of manufacturing persuaded the president to sign a purchase order for a $20,000 machine.
I’ve enclosed a copy of my report, which includes an executive summary.
As you can see, even at the low levels of production we’ve experienced recently, the T-1000 Automatic Wire-Wrap Machine can cut production time by 15 percent. At this rate, the machine will pay for itself within 14 months–including its purchase price plus the cost of training operators.
We’ve already discussed the employees’ resistance to automation in the plant. As you know, we’ve held discussion groups on this subject over the past three months. And, an informal survey shows that 80 percent of our technicians dislike manual wire-wrap and would welcome automation in that area.
Benefits are spelled out. Anxieties are eliminated. The reader is given the reasons why the company should buy a T-1000. (And the president signed the order.)
1.4. Calling for action.
Interest has been turned into desire, the reader wants what you’re selling, or at least has been persuaded to see your point of view. Now comes the last step–asking for action.
If you’re selling consulting services, ask for a contract. If you want an interview, ask for it. If you’re writing a fund-raising letter, include a reply envelope and ask for a donation. In short, if you want your letter to get results, you have to ask for them. Here’s a letter from a customer who purchased a defective can of spray paint. Instead of just complaining or venting anger, she explains the problem and asks for a response:
Recently, I purchased a can of your Permaspray spray paint. But when I tried using it, the nozzle broke off. I cannot reattach this nozzle, and the can, though full, will have to be thrown away.
I am sure your product is generally well-packaged; my can was probably a one-in-a-million defect. Would you please send a replacement can of white Permaspray? I would greatly appreciate it.
An exchange of business letters is usually an action-reaction situation. To move things along, determine the action you want your letter to generate and tell the reader about it.
Formulas have their limitations, and you can’t force-fit every letter or memo into the AIDA framework. Short interoffice memos, for example, seldom require this degree of persuasiveness. But when you’re faced with more sophisticated writing tasks–a memo to mot vate the sales force, a mailer to bring in orders, a letter to collect bad debts–AIDA can help. Get attention. Hook the reader’s interest. Create a desire. Ask for action. And your letters will get better results.
2. Secrets of effective business letter.
2.1. Abstract points.
1- A conversation
Think of a sales letter as a conversation with your customer. The most important ingredient in a successful letter is to write it like you?re writing to a friend. Your honesty, enthusiasm, and willingness to help will overcome almost all the other things that can go wrong.
2- Leave your EGO at the door.
Remember, no one really cares about anything, but that which is self-serving to themselves. In other words ?People only care about themselves!?. And it?s human nature so you better understand it if you want to write successful sales letters. If you write a letter that talks about how wonderful YOU are to have created such a great products, the reader will get bored and throw the letter away.
The consumer only wants to know ?What is it going to do for ME!? Thus, if you describe how wonderful their life will be because of their BRILLIANT decision to use your product, positive result is a certain.
3- Be Human
Your letter should read like a conversation. Address the reader by name: ?Dear Ms. Hartman.? And if you can fit it in naturally, use Ms. Hartman?s name in the body. You want her to know the letter is personal. Whenever you can, use pronouns like I, we, and you.
4- Never Write in Anger
Anger will evaporate; a letter won?t. Devise a way to handle problems in an upbeat manner. Your chances of success will multiply tenfold.
A sales letter can not be too simple – the reader will look down on you. Nor can it be too complicated. People are busy. If they have to work hard to figure out what you have to say, they will just blow you off.
6- Don?t use padding, Clear the Deadwood.
Is has been said that 30 % of the content of business letters is ?deadwood?. Sir William Churchill quoted the following example of padding, of which he strongly disapproved.
Consideration would be given to the possibility of carrying into effect.
Cut words, sentences, and even paragraphs that don?t contribute. Work hard to simplify reader?s job. Be especially careful with adjectives, which can sap strength from your words.
2.2. Concrete points
1- Start From the End
Decide what the result of the letter ought to be. List things you?d like to say, and review them. Remove those not supporting the main idea. Good letters have a strong sense of purpose.
2- Get to the Point Early
Don?t delay. The main cause should be stated in the first paragraph.
3- Put Yourself in the Reader?s Place
If the letter came to you, how would you respond? Be pleasant; try to turn negative statements into positive ones.
4- Say it Plainly
Phrases like ?in compliance with your request? and ?enclosed herewith? are stilted. Write as you talk?naturally. Include just one idea. Sentences longer than two typed lines are suspect.
5- Be Professional
The most well-written letters can?t survive bad presentation. Use a clean, logical format for your letter. A crowded or over-designed page distracts from your message.
6- Care about headline
95% of all sales letters are NOT read, because they lack an effective headline, that promises a benefit important to its reader
7- Don’t forget PS:
Surveys show that the PS: at the end is read *Second* after the headline.
8- Remember to sign your signature in BLUE ink.
9- Promise the benefit.
Tell them about it, give them examples of others who are benefiting, show them how to get it, ask them to order it, and make it easy for them to get it
Stress benefits rather than features. How do the features of your service or product improve the customer’s life, work, or pocketbook. The benefits of your offer may be obvious to you, but don’t leave it up to the reader to figure them out, no matter how obvious they may seem. Stress benefits. Link them to the features your offer.
Sales letters can be a wonderfully personal way to introduce people to your product, service, organization, or idea. By using some of the ideas and formulas I’ve mentioned above, you can produce sizzling sales letters that produce results.
10- End With an Action Step
The end of a letter should suggest the reader?s next move, or your own. Don?t write distracting closings like: ?Again, thank you for . . .? or ?If you have problems, please don?t hesitate to call.? Close with a simple ?Sincerely,? and your signature; it may be a perfect ending.
3. More for sales letters.
1. Tell a story. It’s hard to resist reading a story, especially if it sounds like someone who has a situation similar to our own. People love success stories when they tell us how to get success ourselves. “Six months ago my company was downsized and I found myself out of a job. I expected the worst. Then I heard about the XXX Company. Now I’m an independent agent making three times what I did on my old job. And I’ll never be downsized again!”
2. A message from the president. People respect a note from the head of the company. It lends authority to the message and makes the reader feel important.
3. Offer something free. Maybe it’s a free or discounted visit to your store or office. A doctor who lives down the street from me built his patient list by sending out several hundred postcards offering “10% off your first visit.” The prospect who is interested in your product or service will appreciate more information.
4. Ask a question. “Are your days hectic and frustrating?” This is good old-fashioned psychology. When you ask a question, the reader is enticed to answer it. It mentally involves the reader in your sales letter and offer. Some experts say to ask a series of questions, each likely being answered with “yes.” The final question has the reader saying “yes” to a sale.
5. Point out a problem that the prospect has. This is the adverting classic. Watch for it in marketing and commercials everywhere. Direct the reader’s attention to a problem, then make the problem seem worse. Once you’ve established the problem as a major impediment in the reader’s life, introduce your service or product as the solution.
6. Write a headline to grab attention!
Most sales letters begin with a headline that quickly presents the major points. It can be typed in all capitals like a newspaper headline:
THE NEW WIDGET 2000 WILL SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE–AND IT’S 40% OFF THIS MONTH ONLY!
You can also write the headline in paragraph fashion just above the salutation:
The new widget 2000 will simplify your life!
And it’s 40% off this month only!
Dear Computer Enthusiast,
And that brings us to another point. When you’re sending out lots of sales letters, a salutation to the general jobs or interests of your readers works just as well as typing in each reader’s name. Instead of “Dear Friend,” use “Dear Parent,” “Dear Basketball Fan,” “Dear Auto Owner.”
All things considered. It?s time to write now. Follow these four steps and you succeed.
1. Decide on a topic, a reason for writing
2. Be aware of the type of letter.
3. Gather all the facts and details needed.
4. Organise ideas and facts into a general outline.
1. Write honestly and naturally, but keep the style somewhat formal
2. Follow the topic outline.
3. Write short paragraphs. This does not mean paragraphs should be one or two sentences.
1. Make sure the necessary facts and details have been included.
2. Make sure the letter has been written honestly and sincerely.
3. Make sure the letter is easy to read.
4. Make sure having followed the appropriate style of the business letter.
1. Check for punctuation, capitalisation, and usage. (Pay special attention to the capitalisation and punctuation of the heading, inside address, and salutation.)
2. Make sure the letter is neatly typed.
· Center the letter and keep the margins even.
· Use consistent and even spacing. (Check the number of lines skipped between the heading and inside address.)
A good business letter is clear, interesting, and informative. It sparkles with crisp writing, good grammar, and correct spelling. It has an appealing layout, simple format, and professional look to it. Because of all these things, a good business letter gets a positive response from the reader. That response sets the stage for you to get an order, close a sale, rectify an error, or accomplish some other worthy goal.
Unfortunately, most business letters don?t accomplish what they should. While it?s true perfection isn?t a realistic goal, many business letter writers seemingly aim for the other end of the scale. The typical business letter lacks content, focus, and clarity?which means it has little of the impact its writer desires. I have shown you how to avoid such a situation.
Suggestions seem to be too many for you ? To meke sure that you have perceived the way to write an effective business letter, check the following list.
1. Business letter evaluation form
Clear and concise
2. Checklist for creating sales letters that sell.
· Can the reader get the main point quickly?
· Are the sentences and paragraphs short? Is the text easy to understand?
· Have you included all the information a prospect needs to respond favorably?
· Is your copy full of prospect benefits?
· Did you reduce the risk for the prospect to try you out?
· Is it easy for the prospect to respond?
· Is there a liberal use of the word ?you??
· Have you made a clear offer?
· Did you ask for action and tell them exactly how?
· Did you include a reason to act now?
· Did you give them several ways to reach you (phone, fax number, mailing address,)?
Remember, the most important ingredient in a successful letter is to write it like you?re writing to a friend. There?s no magic to letter writing. Practice, practice and more practice will make you a copy writer.
Just learning the theories is not adequare. To succeed in writing business letter, you should practise regularly. Here are what you should follow:
1. Read. Reading can improve your writing. The more you read the more you understand what good writing is.
2. Practice. Get in the habit of writing letters.
3. Find a mentor or ?fellow student? that does not mind editing your writing.
4. Work on your weaknesses. Make certain that the meaning you are intending is the meaning expressed.
5. Try to write something well even if it is short. This will reinforce the positive nature of your writing. Some business people get so frustrated by the negatives they give up trying to write.
6. Use writing as a tool to help you learn and understand new things. If you write about something new you can ?own? it. Writing also helps you organize your thoughts. For this reason writing is being used in various therapies.
7. Examine your competitor?s writings. The first thing I do on a ?spy? mission is gather printed material. They not only contain data and information but strategy as well. Printed materials are a good indication of a business? sophistication.
8. Avoid interruptions. Cut off the phone and shut the door when you write. Good writing requires focus and concentration.
Look in the mirror when you come up with excuses for poor writing. Excuses such as lack of formal education do not matter in the marketplace. Some with little or no education have great writing skills while many university graduates cannot write a simple sentence correctly.
Now, all have come into your mind. I hope you will succeed in writing, which help you so much in doing business.
My assignment finishes here. I hope it is good food for your thought, or becomes a basis for further study.
The assignment may have deficiencies due to the limitation of knowledge, experience and time. Thus, I would be happy if having feedback from you all to make it better in the next time, and make myself know better about writing business letters.
I?d like to give my faithful thank to Mr. Hoang Tat Truong, who guided and gave me great help to complete the assignment.