Building the Letter 1

book, shoe, merchants, merchant, firm, information, town, impression and business

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6

A firm manufactures orthopedic specialties—foot arch supports, heel-pads, and so on. The sales are made thru the agency of retail shoe merchants mainly, and the firm wants these merchants to understand the human foot, its more common ailments and deformi ties, their cure and correction. Therefore, as the means of giving shoe merchants this information, which would cause them to give consumers of the products better service, the concern has published a book entitled "The Human Foot." Since the firm wishes not only to get this book into the hands of as many shoe merchants as possible, but also to have the merchants get its contents into their heads, they charge something for it. Possibly they could afford to give the book away, but the manage ment believes that the fact of the merchants' hav ing to pay for it will convince them that it is worth something, and that therefore they will read and appreciate it. The price, $3.00, compares favorably with that placed on other technical books of this sort.

The purpose of the letter, then, is to cause the shoe merchant to want this book so much that he will be willing to send $3.00 for it. It is the only work of its kind in existence and will therefore be of consider able interest to the men to whom it will go. The firm has been dealing with shoe merchants for many years and feels well acquainted with them. The merchants know that there is good profit in handling the line, and will naturally respect the suggestion that they should get the information which this book will give them. Therefore it will probably be possible to write a letter that will sell the book to them.

10. Impressions impressions will arouse in the merchant so strong a desire for in formation that he will send us $3.00 in order that he may obtain it? First, it might be well to awaken in him an ambition to make his business grow; next, to give him the impression that this book will help him realize his ambition. To make him really believe that the information will be the means of growth and greater profits—that is the most important purpose that the firm wishes to accomplish. How? What will be his resistances? What facts will overcome them? With these questions in mind the manage ment decides that it would be effective to give an example of what results will be secured by reading this book. They believe that this example would probably serve both to increase the merchant's ambi tion and to make him feel that possibly their letter of fers the means of growth and consequently of greater profits. The firm wishes also to give the merchant a definite idea of the contents of this book—to make it as real to him as they can—as well as to convey as vivid an impression as possible of the favorable results that he can obtain from reading it. They must avoid

arousing any possible prejudice that he may have in regard to purchasing any book of this kind, or con cerning a "book" knowledge of his business.

11. Beginning of the that the management, having done a great deal of thinking along the lines indicated, decides to cite the case of a merchant who bought and read this book a year or so ago, and to show what information he got from it. Such a case, they believe—and rightly—ought to make a good point of contact, if presented concretely. To secure vividness, they begin by quoting this man. (Put yourself in the place of a shoe merchant in a town of about 20,000 people, and imagine, as you read, the impression that each statement would make upon him.) Dear Sir: "I am considered the leading shoe merchant in my town. This was not so true a year ago. But during the past year I have succeeded in causing the people to feel that I know my business. My sales have jumped 24 per cent. My net profits are better by 30 per cent. My bank balance tells me this." A shoe merchant visiting in Chicago—his name will be given on request—told me this not long ago. I asked him how he did it, and he answered: "The information in your new book for shoe dealers helped me do it. I studied the human foot. I learned a lot about its ailments and deformities, and how to prevent or correct them. I made a talk before the high school students on the care of feet. The parents heard about this. They appre ciated it. I put in a little orthopedic department in my store, and did some advertising along the lines you sug gested. I used some of the ads you get out for dealers. And the first thing I knew, I found that people began to think that I knew my business exceptionally well—and I do. Of course I knew it pretty well before I read the book I got from you, but that book helped me make people in my town realize how well I know my business—and that is more im portant." Now what impression would these first three para graphs make on the reader? Would not the first paragraph cause him to speculate on his relative stand ing as a shoe merchant in his town? And could he so speculate without feeling a strong desire to be con sidered the leading shoe merchant? In other words the correspondent has made, at the very beginning, a concrete appeal to a strong personal desire. Fur thermore, this paragraph would be of considerable interest to the reader because it is a brother mer chant in another town telling his successful experience. The second paragraph immediately makes it plain who is doing the talking, before the reader's curiosity on that point could distract his attention. It is impor tant to remember that if there is an unanswered ques tion in the reader's mind, it is always a difficult task to hold his interest.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6