The Biggest Sales Letter Mistakes…And How to Avoid Them

As a buyer, I threw many sales letters from printing companies straight into the bin
The last thing you want to happen is for your sales letter to work against you. If I throw away a sales letter, it doesn’t just mean that I am ignoring a company. In many cases, I have noted the company’s name. I have made a conscious decision not to deal with them. And that will influence me next time I come into contact with them.
In my last article, I highlighted traits of successful sales letters that will help you achieve the best possible results. However, even if you carry out all the strategies in the article, you can derail all your efforts through a few simple mistakes.
Here are three ways to inadvertently create the wrong impression with buyers. Ironically, the first mistake is actually something that many sales people think will get good results!
DO NOT mention service or quality

98% of the printing companies that approached me over my buying career talked a lot about their service or their quality. The trouble is that every buyer expects good service and good quality as standard. If your sales letter is acting as an introduction to you and your company, these issues are hardly going to make you stand out in their mind.
In fact, I’d go as far as saying that selling on service and quality is lazy. As a buyer, talking about these issues makes me feel that this is a company that cannot be bothered to think of a valid reason as to why someone should use them. Work out what makes you stand out from the competition. Here’s another mistake that makes you look the same as everyone else.
Avoid pictures of presses or your factory
Many printing companies think customers will be excited by seeing pictures of printing presses in a sales letter. A few prospects are already well aware of what a printing press looks like. The rest simply do not care.
Prospects are much more likely to be interested in pictures of some of your best printed projects. Better still, include some samples. Rather than telling them about your factory, include a testimonial from another customer. This social proof is a far more effective endorsement.
However, these endorsements can be wasted if you include this third mistake in your sales letter.
Ban mentions of cheap prices and discounts
Many printing companies tell me that talking about these subjects gets results. I won’t deny this. But it encourages prospects and customers to look at you as a cheap printer. A commodity supplier. Their focus will now always be on price.
If you sell on price, many customers will leave you as soon as they find a cheaper supplier. They will also expect you to keep to your sale prices at all times, or they may wait until the next special offer before ordering again.
If you want to have an offer in your sales letter, make it a value-added offer. Don’t cut your prices: offer something extra instead. It may be some free business cards, or a higher-quality substrate or maybe some added data reporting. Now your prospect is thinking about value rather than cheap price.
These three strategies can be summarized in one sentence:
Focus on your customer’s world. These three errors all happen because you are talking about your company and not thinking about the customer. If you focus on the customer, they are far less likely to put your sales letter in the bin.
PS If you’d like more practical ideas on how to engage with today’s buyers, download my free e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them” right now at You’ll also receive my regular “Views from the print buyer” bulletin, full of ideas on how to sell print effectively.

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