I recently got an email from the president of a fast growing IT company seeking some marketing counsel on business from me. He asked if I would evaluate the sales letter they have been using to schedule information meetings with contacts they meet at various networking events.
The letter I read was the typical “WWD” (what-we-do) type of letter, very lengthy, full of industry jargon and certainly comprehensive with all of his company’s service features.
At my first read I found 7 glaring fatal mistakes (ok, glaring to me, but not necessarily glaring to a non-expert). I am happy to share my marketing advice on tiny business with you, so you don’t make these same fatal errors. Here are 7 mistakes you and your sales team should avoid.
Mistake #1:You are firing the “sales gun” too soon.
Given the framework that you are using this letter to a person who has only met you in the context of a 30 second commercial your letter of sales is rushing the process to 3rd base when they have not followed you to 1st and 2nd base as of yet.
You’re charging straight in with your company’s features and sales pitch (your “WWD” pitch) when you have not brought the prospect to acknowledging their problem — you know, the problem that you solve. You need to first create greater awareness on their specific pain point and fuel desire and urgency in the prospect to want to get their problem solved.
Mistake #2: You are giving your sales presentation in the letter.
Here’s where I think the business community should all permanently strike that terminology right out of our vocabulary because it’s terribly misleading for business expansion managers, rainmakers, Entrepreneurs and small industry owners. Sending out a sales letter should not translate into you needing to do any “selling” at all.
Remember the objective of your first correspondence is to hook interest to build a relationship. In the process of doing that you can identify whether they have a need for what you offer.
In your letter you are throwing everything and the kitchen sink by your comprehensive description of every single thing you offer. While many other people also take this approach when trying to educate prospects on what you can do for them, I find that it diminishes and detracts from your ability to hone in on the 1 or 2 key hot buttons they would have had. My recommendation for you on marketing of your small trade is to spend the time in your early communications to ask the right discovery questions.
Mistake #3: You’re sending them too much information they haven’t asked for yet.
I would never recommend this much information in an email, particularly, in your very first email outreach. As you know information overload causes confusion, and confused mind just says no. This amount and scope of content is more appropriate for 2nd base stage in the form of marketing collateral after the prospect is actively soliciting the solution to their problem.
Mistake #4: Poor formatting and presentation of copy.
Even when you’ve got them at this point, (stage 2) avoid using long chunks of paragraphs to explain your features and benefits. Format your visual organization to make it easy for the prospect to follow, retain and be sold on the key hot buttons on how your company solves their problem as well as why you’re company is the obvious choice for them.
a. limit paragraphs to 2-3 lines
b. use bullets
c. sound bytes vs. essay
d. font sizes /bold to hit key points
Mistake #5: You’re making them feel too removed.
Here’s another great small commerce advice on marketing: Make a subtle change in words. Whenever you use words like “our clients” and “they/their” replace with “you” and your company”. It makes it more personal, more relevant and more direct. When they read about “other clients” it makes your message far more removed to them. Plus, for the number of times you use the word “you” it also helps the prospect to subconsciously visualize themselves as the recipient of your services.
Mistake #6: You’re focusing on the features
Always open and close with the key, specific benefits to the prospect in the areas that you already learned that person cares about the most.
a. What that does it grabs their attention immediately when you open with the translation of their specific benefits
b. It pulls you out of the perception of “pitching TO THEM” category to the prospect feeling that you are genuinely trying to do something “for” them.
c. It keeps the prospect focused on what is at stake. What will they now be able to do or have by choosing to move forward with (your company) that they currently cannot do or have right now?
Mistake #7: Your letter is missing the “WIIF”
aka what’s-in-it-for-me? So all that to lead to my final small business counsel on marketing is on writing effective letters of sales that at this beginning stage of 1st follow up from a 30 sec commercial / networking event I would recommend you change your focus instead to learning more about how you could best help them — whether their priorities are strategic introductions to potential prospects, referral partners, new talent, vendors etc.. It is in the context of this type of conversation that it is much easier to segway into asking discovery questions for you to learn about how they feel about their current IT solution and what is most important to them as far as their IT is concerned.
So, in closing I encourage you to get started today on implementing these 7 little business tips on marketing in your approach to writing result oriented sales letters to your networking contacts. I also invite you to let me know about the difference it has made for you as you shift your letter strategy. You can connect with me at my contact below.
Business Growth Expert, Yoon Cannon has helped hundreds of CEO’s, Entrepreneurs & small business owners gain dramatic results in your sales, marketing & strategic planning. Yoon’s mission is to encourage, equip and empower Entrepreneurs, so you can accelerate explosive business growth!
Having started, built (and sold) 3 other companies, Yoon offers a fresh, outside perspective from a seasoned entrepreneur. Yoon’s clients represent B2B, Direct Sales industry, Family-Run Businesses, Franchises, Healthcare/BioTech, Law Firms, Manufacturing & Small Business Owners.
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