Our authorized agents, the — Hardware Company, will be pleased to show you samples and quote you prices, and we trust you will call on them.
This letter went to a contractor whose duty it was to know about all kinds of locks. It shows good sales manship in its restraint.
4. Vivid expression.—It is often necessary, how ever, to make use of less subtle principles of salesman ship, such as concrete and vivid expression. For in stance, here is a letter to merchants from a whole sale house whose sales correspondents take advantage of up-to-date information concerning the needs of their addressees, furnished by the traveling salesmen of the firm. If a merchant happens to be weak on show-window salesmanship, for example, he might get a letter which starts out like this: A good tip ought to be passed along. Therefore I want to tell you how Jones, who has a store like yours in Smith ville, in your State, worked up a big business in stock pat terns of high-grade dinner china.
We know that few people can afford to buy a complete set of good dinner ware all at one time; yet there's not a woman in town but wants to own a fine set, and Jones makes it pos sible for them to buy one piece at a time and yet take ad vantage of his free offer to replace broken pieces, as may be necessary, to the extent of five dollars' worth.
One day each week Jones uses both his windows for a big display of these stock patterns. Each piece bears a separate price ticket. The entire set of 100 pieces amounts to $55.40. A large placard announces that five dollars' worth will be given free when an entire set is purchased—and that a set can be purchased piece by piece, or as many pieces can be bought at one time as may be desired. He gives a small red purchase ticket with each sale, with the amount of the sale stamped upon it. As soon as the customer has these checks amounting to $55.40, she can redeem them all by an additional free selection of the dinner ware amounting alto gether to five dollars.
Jones is having big success with this plan. Of course, occasionally, when a customer wants to pay cash for an en tire set, he lets the set go at $50.40. But that is the only
advantage that those who purchase an entire set at one time get over the women who purchase their sets piece by piece. One gets five dollars ; the other five dollars' worth of dishes free.
This letter runs two full pages, single space. It tells why the plan it mentions is good, and gives defi nite figures on the number of sets Jones sold in a cer tain period of time, his profits, and so on. It is a good example of a concrete appeal that stimulates both wholesale and retail sales at one stroke. It is differ ent from the type of vivid expression that is made mechanically vivid for the obvious purpose of coercing the reader's attention, as for example, letters that be gin somewhat like this : That watch in your pocket—what kind is it? "A good one," you say. All right, I believe you. Oh, "no good"? All right, I believe you. It is your watch; you ought to know.
Mr. Hobson is a big man in advertising in your city. He is advertising manager of one of your biggest department stores. No doubt you know him. Well, he says the machine cut his printing expense in half last year.
Now, why should you not believe him just as you expect to be believed when you tell me what kind of a watch you own? In order to realize the lack in a letter like this, im agine a salesman walking briskly up to a prospective customer and saying, "What kind of a watch is that in your pocket? Is it any good?" "Yes?" "All right. I believe you," and so on.
Illustrations are occasionally good, however, when they are closely and logically connected with the main purpose of the letter. For example, the following letter to "dead accounts" on the records of a retail mail-order house was successful.
Dear Customer: When Lincoln was running for President he met an old time friend, a former neighbor. The man said: "Abe, I'd like mighty well to vote for you, but I can't.
You voted wrong on the Mexican War question when you were in Congress." Lincoln said, "John, if your old rifle flashed in the pan once you wouldn't throw it away, would you ?" "No," was the answer.