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Why Letters Fail 1

sales, letter, plan, selling, demand, salesmanship and supply

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WHY LETTERS FAIL 1. Lack of good salesmanship.—When sales letters fail to sell it is generally for the reason that they lack good salesmanship. In case the letter is designed to serve merely as one step in the selling process the most frequent evidence of poor salesmanship is the failure to consider certain circumstances or conditions which are the cause of the buyer's disinclination to make the purchase, or to do something else that the writer wants him to do.

These neglected circumstances or conditions af fecting the addressee, in most cases, either are known to the sales correspondent or can be ascertained. For example, the writer of a sales letter often forgets that his addressee receives numerous other letters besides his, many of which hold little interest for him: and that therefore he seldom reads thru any selling letter unless it does interest him from the beginning.

2. Meaning of the word "plan."—Another com mon cause of failure is lack, of good salesmanship in the "plan" of the letter. The plan is the outline of the letter; it should consist of all the important/points to be included in the letter itself. It naturally fol lows, then, that in the plan special emphasis should be placed upon those phases of the offer which make it as easy as possible for the addressee to respondfavor ably, and as difficult as possible for him to respond un favorably. The plan of sale or the plan of payment should also be given proininence.

In the case of form letters, it is especially important that the addressees be selected carefully, in order that the letter may be sent where it will have the pest possi ble opportunity to make good. This chdice of ad dressees is really a part of the plan. When letters are sent to persons who cannot or will not respond favorably, no matter how excellent the letter may be, the plan of the letter is fundamentally wrong. Such practice is directly contrary to the "service" idea in modern salesmanship.

3. Function of a selling letter.—This selling prin ciple of offering a genuine service at the right time is of particular significance in the art of writing success ful selling letters. It is part of the plan behind the letter. The initiative that is responsible for its be ing put into practice often originates in the factory, as in this case, where the inventor of the Copper Clad wire was the real creator of the plan behind the letter quoted in Section 5. The correspond

ent wisely took advantage of a good opportunity to bring together supply and demand. This is the main function of a sales correspondent. He often creates his opportunity, but usually it is his duty to be able to recognize real opportunities created by conditions of demand, and to the relation of that demand to what he has to supply.

4. Addressee wants day of cautious buying is here. In a majority of industries supply has caught up with demand, and competition is keen among sellers. Therefore buyers are encour aged to compare the offers of various sellers. In other words, they are less easily satisfied than form erly. They are also more cautious in their buying for another reason which has important bearing on sales correspondence. In the earlier stages of the present situation, when rapidly increasing supply in many lines was just beginning to cause strong com petitive effort among sellers, the salesmen, in their ef forts to make sales, were inclined to make extravagant claims. Exaggeration was characteristic of sales manship. Strong-arm methods were the rule rather than the exception. Sales letters as well as sales talks were full of emotional appeal designed to rush the buyer into a purchase. But now there is a tendency in the opposite direction, which is revealed in sales correspondence, as well as in other methods of sell ing, chiefly in the increasing use of facts. A bet ter business basis is being established for sales let ters.

"Give him facts. Give him the facts that will com pel him to conclude for himself that it is best for him to accept your offer. Don't argue with him. Let him persuade himself in the light of the facts in the case." That is the substance of all the advice that one well-known manufacturer gives his sales corre spondents. It embodies a principle of good sales manship that is based on a knowledge of human na ture, for it is a familiar fact that nearly all people are more cautious in acting upon conclusions of other people than they are in acting upon conclusions of their own.

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