In this issue: Five new posts from Sales Source on Inc.com followed by one of my sales message rewrites. Remember: as a newsletter member, you can send me your sales messages and I'll critique them for free!
New Sales Source Posts
Sales Message Rewrite
One of the most common problems in sales messages is selling too soon. Here's a letter intended for mass mailing that does exactly this. My comments are in brackets and my rewrite is provided afterwards:
I found your contact information on your website. I am writing to begin a business relationship between ABC Co. and TheOzone.net. [ You are asking for a relationship before you've proven that you're worth having a relationship with. This is the equivalent of asking a woman to sleep with you two seconds after you've met.]
Here is some quick info about TheOzone.net, which is the premier Ohio State sports-fan site on the Web. Established in 1996, the site averages nearly 7.5 million page views and 400,000 unique visitors monthly. [What the customer wants to know about is the economic value of advertising, not your traffic metrics.]
Our content is completely brand-safe and 100% of our digital ads serve above-the-fold. [I think I know what you mean by "brand safe" but it frankly sound scary… like there are conditions that would make it unsafe. "Above the fold" is old ad talk and best avoided.]
What's unique about our approach is our site's passionate commitment to content. In fact, when asked "Where do you go first for Buckeye coverage," TheOzone.net ranked No. 1 in this survey. The majority of our audience is middle-aged (56% in the age range 35-54), well educated (80% are college grads or have done at least some post-graduate work) and affluent (78% report a household income over $50,000 a year and 42% report a household income of $100,000 a year or more). [All good information, but it's buried in the middle and lacks context.]
By serving your ad campaigns on TheOzone.net, you can beat your competitors in the race to get your message to this receptive, prosperous audience. [This is just a definition of advertising; presumably the prospective advertiser already realizes why they advertise.]
I have attached our 2012 media kit with more details and pricing info. [Never give a prospect an action item or more information unless they request it. ]
I am confident that TheOzone.net will be considered for your 2012 ad campaigns. Please let me know if you would be interested in meeting or if there is anything I can do for you. [Actually, you're not confident, which is why you're sending this to me. Another big mistake: putting the ball in the prospect's court; better that you take the next step. "Anything I can do for you" sounds desperate, like you're offering to wash his car or something.]
The way to make this message more effective is to shorten it and simplify it by getting at the heart of the matter, and asking for the next step. Here's my rewrite:
We can help you develop customer relationships with the 400,000 most well-educated and affluent people in the Ohio area.
According to an independent survey, our website, TheOzone.net, is where these people go for local and regional sports coverage.
Ads placed on TheOzone.net capture the attention of these highly-desirable consumers, right when they're the most receptive.
If this interests you, I'd like to schedule a five minute call to estimate how much new business advertising on TheOzone.net will generate.
Simply respond to this email and I will call to set up the meeting.
Notice that the rewrite immediately gets to the point and then asks for the next step. The likelihood that somebody will read this message all the way through, and hit Respond is much higher than the likelihood that somebody will wade through the original message (much less the brochure).
BTW, this message was sent by a reader of How to Say It: Business to Business Selling rather than a newsletter reader. I've sent him my rewrites by email though.