What Is A Sales Letter?

Salesmen in print

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Some years ago a top guru in advertising was asked to define what a sales letter was (I believe it was Claude Hopkins, but I could be wrong) his reply was “it is salesmanship in print”

Admittedly he was referring to direct mail but I believe it applies to all printed material that hopes to persuade people to buy the products they are selling.

And it applies especially to door drop leaflets.

What is a sales letter?

A door drop leaflet does not enjoy the advantages the salesman enjoys. A salesman has time to interact with his prospective client.

A good salesman can tell by a person’s body language how the prospect in responding to his sales message, and can change the message accordingly, and he is on the spot to overcome any objections that may arise during the meeting.

A door drop leaflet does not enjoy these advantages. It will only have a few seconds to grab the prospect’s attention and interest.

This is why it is vital to the success of the campaign, the leaflet must be well designed and carry an eye-catching headline that will engage the reader immediately.

Use words effectively

People who are experienced in door drop campaigns will be aware that as long as the budget will allow, it is best to have a leaflet printed in full colour using bright eye-catching colours.

However bright alone colours will not do the trick alone, a door drop leaflet will require some good copy to get the sales message across.

Those writers, who compose sales letter for the direct mail business, often advise that long copy will result in higher response rates. This may be true for the direct mail industry, but a door drop leaflet does not have the luxury of unlimited space.

This lack of space means that words must be used sparingly but used effectively. A leaflet will only have a matter of seconds to capture the prospect’s attention.

A good headline, a description of what the company does, if the company name also describes what the business is about, will save space.

“The Lawn Care Company “is self-explanatory, failing that a short subheading telling the prospect what you do will be required, then a brief but concise list of the benefits of using the company, then the call to action.

“Double” your word count
They say a picture paints a thousand words. If that is true, then a good picture should more than double the length of the “copy”.

Back up your “salesman”
Like flesh and blood salesmen, a door drop leaflet requires support from its company.

No sensible company would send their salesmen out to face prospects with little or no information for them to make a sale.

The leaflet will require the same back up as a salesman would. A well-designed leaflet containing a good sales message will do the job of a salesman.

If all the right boxes are ticked, good design with a well-written headline and a call to action, the door drop leaflet will be as effective as a salesman in obtaining valuable customers or hot leads.

A good door drop leaflet will prove the adage that a leaflet is salesmanship in print.

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