You’ve spent a lot of time and energy identifying sales leads and prospects. Now what?
Luck aside, experienced sales professionals and entrepreneurs know that all the leads in the world won’t amount to a single sale without making that all important first contact.
Of course, cold-calling can be effective in some situations, but for most businesses, the Introductory Sales Letter is the most common way to contact prospective buyers.
In drafting these letters, it is important to remember the following points:
* Tailor and personalize the letter for a particular lead or prospect. Form letters and boilerplate language will not help you stand out from competitors. Do your homework!
* Be upbeat and professional. After all, this is a communication that announces your presence in the market, and in-turn, will hopefully pique enough interest with the prospect to warrant a face-to-face meeting with you.
* Write your letter on high-quality letterhead, but refrain from including a lot of extraneous sales literature. Of course, if your letter is successful in selling the benefits of a face-to-face meeting, you will want to bring along background information, product and service descriptions, and any other materials a prospect may find informative and useful.
As you finalize your letter, keep the format simple and make sure you include the following four elements:
(1) Salutation – Use Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. or Dear Sir/Madam. If you have done your research, then you will know the proper address and spelling.
(2) Establish Credibility – Include some fact about the prospect’s business that you uncovered during your research. Also, broadly outline what you or your company can offer this prospect. If you have worked with similar clients, offer a few examples of your experience as testimonials to back up your credibility.
(3) Follow-up – Suggest what should happen next within a specific time frame. Be enthusiastic and express your willingness to provide more information, and your desire to set up a mutually convenient meeting.
(4) Sign-off – Include a contact number for yourself. Close with the simple and traditional “Sincerely” or “Respectfully Yours”. Above all, strive for brevity, clarity, and professionalism.
In addition to proper format, refrain from filing from filling up an Introductory Sales Letter with breezy language, phony familiarity and “free” sales inducements. Although this kind of content may seem clever and appropriate, be aware that it can be more of a turnoff than an enticement.
Additionally, consider the secretaries and administrative people who open mail. Most of these individuals are expected to selectively weed out anything that appears to be obvious junk mail. Thus said, the more you can do to enhance the tone and importance of your letter, the better the chance your letter has of actually being read by the addressee.
In the end, view an effective Introductory Sales Letter as the first step in forging a new business relationship.
But as a personal rapport with the prospect needs to be established, make sure your letter focuses on what you can do for the prospect first, and then what can do for his business. It’s a subtle distinction, but one, if properly made, can make all your prospecting work worthwhile.