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*A Book Review*

The Ultimate Sales Letter

By Dan S. Kennedy

by Michael C. Gray

September 28, 2001

With the cost of making personal sales calls constantly increasing, businesses have to seek other ways to cost-effectively get their messages to their customers.

The work horse of the marketing world is the sales letter. With a sales letter, a "clone" of the best salesperson in the organization, often the business owner, can visit many customers and targeted prospective customers.

When a sales letter works, it can be effectively adapted and used as a space ad, an infomercial, or a web page. The sales letter can be a relatively inexpensive way of testing advertising ideas.

A sales letter can be used as a one-step approach, such as the Wall Street Journal subscription sales letter, or a multiple-step approach, enticing the reader to request additional information or to call for an appointment.

The multiple-step approach is called "lead generation advertising." The goal is to get interested customers to raise their hands (identify themselves). Then more detailed and expensive marketing and sales efforts can be directed to them, with less wasted time, effort and money.

The art of writing effective sales letters isn't typically taught as part of a business school education. (I didn't even know what they were until just a few years ago.) Dan Kennedy, who has written hundreds of sales letters for fees of $5,000 plus royalties, has shared his step-by-step system in The Ultimate Sales Letter.

According to Dan Kennedy, his approach to writing sales letters is to avoid being an "unwelcome pest" the prospective customer wants to get rid of and to become a "welcome guest" who can help the customer solve his or her problems.

Contrary to the typical business practice of sending one-page business letters, Kennedy writes very long sales letters, some exceeding ten pages. Why? If a customer is interested in investigating buying a product or service, he or she wants all of the emotional reasons and facts required to make an informed decision, including reassurance that the company he or she is dealing with is legitimate and ethical. Since the customer isn't meeting with the writer in person, all of the customer's questions and objections should be anticipated and addressed in the sales letter. That can take a lot thought, time and space.

The Ultimate Sales Letter has just been updated in a second edition. My favorite item that Kennedy has included in the new edition is the Georgio series of letters for an Italian restaurant. Kennedy has used this series for years as an example of sequenced sales letters in his presentations on marketing at Peter Lowe's Success seminars. I only regret he didn't include the last letter in the sequence, "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" These two letters, alone, are well worth the price of the book.

Actually, The Ultimate Sales Letter is worth closely studying as a marketing piece. In a sense, the book is The Ultimate Sales Letter for Dan Kennedy's own business. Many people have found their way to Dan Kennedy by buying this book. It is a lead-generation piece for him.

I'm glad I found Dan Kennedy by initially seeing him present the Georgio letters at a Peter Lowe Success seminar. I have found his marketing methods to be tremendously practical, effective, and fairly simple to implement. They have made a real difference in my business and my life.

I heartily recommend that you study and implement the ideas in The Ultimate Sales Letter so you can have an equally rewarding experience.

Buy it on Amazon: The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost your Sales..

For our new reviews of business and self-improvement books, subscribe to our newsletter, Michael Gray, CPA's Tax & Business Insight!

The Ultimate Sales Letter, by Dan Kennedy, explains his highly successful sales letter writing techniques.

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Michael Gray, CPA
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