In the ABDO (Attention-Based Direct Outreach) Marketing process there are five main components:
1. Getting your list of prospective clients together.
2. Getting attention via email or other marketing activity.
3. Getting a meeting and initial conversation with your prospective client.
4. Directing your prospect to online information about your services (what I call a Sales Letter).
5. Having a selling conversation with your prospect (what I call a Strategy Session).
The most challenging of these steps, in my opinion, is getting the attention of a prospect so they are willing to speak with you about your professional services.
But the most neglected part of this process is that durn* sales letter.
Why a sales letter is absolutely essential
OK, you’ve reached out to someone and gotten their attention. They reply to you and let you know they are willing to speak with you. Big win!
Then you have that brief initial conversation to see if they need what you have to offer and if you can help them. The next step is to set up a more in-depth selling conversation.
So why do they need to read your sales letter before you have that selling conversation? Let me count the reasons…
1. They may be interested in what you have to offer, but they really don’t know a lot about what you actually do. They only have a vague sense of how your services work and the value that you offer. So they’ll go into that selling conversation with some hesitancy.
2. People like to know more before they buy. When you buy a car, you go online and do research. You already know what you want before you step inside the showroom. Same goes for buyers of professional services.
3. If someone doesn’t know much about what you do, then you’ll need to spend valuable time in the selling conversation explaining everything about your services. And that is NOT the purpose of a selling conversation.
4. The sales letter informs and educates your prospective clients about how you can help them. It increases your credibility and answers their questions. They understand the value you offer before that selling conversation.
5. It saves you time and speeds up the selling conversation. After they read the sales letter they may realize your service is not for them and save you time by not engaging in a selling conversation. But on the other hand, the letter will usually increase their interest in your services and speed up both the selling conversation and decision-making process.
Get it? It’s simply not optional. However…
What should go into your sales letter?
I’ve worked on the content and structure of my sales letters for years. But the following is a format I’ve settled on because it’s easy for the prospect to read and gives them the information they need.
1. State Your Clients’ Core Question
I state this as a bold headline. It’s a question about a challenge your prospect is trying to solve.
“How can I get my employees to be more engaged and productive?”
2. State Your Value Proposition
This tells your prospect the results or objectives that your services deliver.
“We work with high-tech companies to dramatically increase employee engagement and productivity by 25% or more.”
3. Dear Client Letter
Written like an actual letter that’s very conversational.
In a letter of about 200 words, you want to outline the challenge your clients face and talk about what they want to accomplish but are having difficulty doing so.
Then you want to tell them that you have a service/program that addresses this challenge directly and gets them the results they want.
You tell just a little bit about this program and the kind of results it gets for your clients.
4. Client Results or Testimonials
Share the actual results your clients have accomplished
This might be in the form of brief case studies or actual client testimonials. They need to clearly communicate about the results they’ve achieved as a result of your services.
5. What are you saying to yourself?
List three to five things your prospects have probably said to themselves about this challenge. Yes, we all talk to ourselves about our problems!
6. What would they like to see instead?
List a number of specific results they would like to see in their company that would be preferable to how things are now – and that address these things they’re saying to themselves.
7. Overview of your service or program
In this section, you’ll talk about what this actual service or program consists of, what it accomplishes and how it accomplishes it. After reading this they should have a clear idea of what you are offering and the value it delivers.
8. The Structure of your program
Every service or program has a structure. What happens and when? Does your service include consulting, coaching or training – or a combination of these? How long does it take? (But don’t say what it costs at this point.)
9. Some additional important point or differentiation
Perhaps you do something special and different. Explain what that is and why it’s important.
10. Guarantee or promise of some kind
Not every professional service should have a guarantee, but you want to communicate your commitment to producing results for your clients.
11. Call to action
The next step for your prospective client is to meet with you for a selling conversation, so let them know what that will entail, what you’ll cover, how long it will take, etc.
Of course, depending on your service and your clients, your sales letter will be customized to the situation. But virtually all sales letters should cover these 11 essential sections.
Over the years I’ve used this process to write many, many sales letters that have helped me close a whole lot of business faster and easier.
Isn’t it time you also wrote a great sales letter for your business?
P.S. See an actual sales letter for a professional business service from a client at this link that follows these guidelines (more or less).
*Durn – Dialect form of darn. Polite form of damn.