Thursday, February 07, 2013

W06.04 You Can Solve Any Problem With A Sales Letter



Gary Halbert, known as the Prince of Print among copywriters the world over, once famously commented: “You can solve any problem with a Sales Letter.” My first biz teacher Brendan Nicholls, when he started to talk about Sales Letters, would get this misty look in his eye, staring off into the distance… “It’s like a miracle. Just a piece of paper, some words – almost nothing – can produce millions of dollars. Millions.” And then he’d crash back to earth and inspire us all by revealing: this is a core skill set of every successful business.

What Is A Sales Letter?
Every selling opportunity that has ever been, and will ever be, needs a Sales Letter of some kind. What is a Sales Letter – it’s words, that’s all. A video, an add in the paper, a seductive dinner, a politician on the stumps, a kid convincing his mum to buy ice-cream: these are all Sales Letter opportunities. The Sales Letter (SL) is a work of art built on engineering principles. It is the Sydney Opera House – done properly it is a thing of great beauty with tremendously well researched and innovative solutions contained within it. Of course, there are very few SL that reach these heights, but when they do – as Brendan remarked – they can make millions of dollars.

How To Write A Sales Letter
The classic book to read on this subject is by Dan Kennedy “The Ultimate Sales Letter” now in it’s 4th Edition. It’s worth buying and following all 29 steps that Dan proposes to craft your SL. For an Alexander Technique teacher starting out – who knows their niche and USP in that niche – do this before you make your website, before you find your studio, before you print your name cards or flyers or blog, before you register your business name, before you get a phone on, before you network, before anything else. If you don’t know your USP, attempting to write your SL may lead you to finding it.

When you have written your definitive Sales Letter, you are ready to do business, not before. Of course you can, but you will most likely flay about like a fish on the river bank, trying to inhale money, wasting energy, and slowly dyeing until you sink back into your old job, and teaching becomes your weekend hobby. You have heard that story enough times to know I am speaking the truth.

Is that the fate that awaits you?

Why This Is Important To Do For Alexander Technique Teachers
Especially as an Alexander Technique teacher, you must write a brilliant SL, because what we are selling is so dam hard to sell. The SL is not just for your website, it is your talking script at conferences, parties, talks and with partners and students in your chosen niche. As I have written previously, you are selling something that no-one knows they need, knowing full well that when you finally sell it, your students will marvel at how they managed without it. They will thank you for leading them through the confused psychological journey necessary to come to a decision to study Alexander's discoveries – this is what a good SL will achieve. It educates, it leads, it influences, it scolds, it reassures, it inspires – it breaks down every resistance any one in your niche would ever have to take lessons with you.

It convinces people logically and emotionally. You need to do both, so the art is marshalling arguments that make sense, while appealing to the aspirations and fears that govern most people’s decision making. Right now I am not telling you how to write a SL, I am selling you on the idea of writing one!

Are you convinced yet?

Websites Are Useless Without A Good Sales Letter
A website without a sales letter is like inviting people to your beautiful apartment for dinner, then serving no meal! The “meat” of your business is not a beautiful looking website, it is the sales letter(s) it contains. Ugly websites with great SL content will outperform beautiful websites filled with pithy nonsense every time. Even more fascinating are the split testing results of the copywriting geniuses – showing time and time again that ugly looking Sales Letters – even with the same words - outperform beautiful ones.

Amazing isn’t it?

If you look at BodyChance’s current website – it is an ugly mess, but we are doing quite well thank you very much. At the start of my long biz journey, based on Brendan’s advice, I made a clear, conscious decision that I did not care how ugly our website became, I only cared that the content sold well. I received lots of criticism for this approach – always from people who either had never run their own business, or had no experience with direct selling. I ignored them all, and kept listening to my teachers who were making millions of dollars following these same strategies. Looking at my bank account these days – I have no regrets about that decision. You would do well to do the same.

So…

A Simple Plan To Get Started
First, buy Dan’s book and write a great sales letter engineered on your niche strategy; Second, throw it up on an instant WordPress website that can literally created from nothing in about 20 minutes (but AT teacher Imogen can also help here); Third, start pumping traffic to your SL from people in your niche. Do this and your business will work. When you are following the strategies I have been so tirelessly advocating here, I guarantee you will be busier than the person who spent a fortune and months building some beautiful website that lots of people go to and no-one buys anything.

Get your priorities right – people waste time on things that don’t matter. Yes, you want to create rich content but a great SL is educational: make sure all content is focused directly or indirectly on selling your Service Product! That’s why I keep emphasizing that you must have making money as one of your two top success drivers. It will keep you focused on what matters. And what matters is that you write a great sales letter for your niche.

Have I convinced you yet?

TOMORROW: Véronique Druesne is next in the growing line of courageous teachers willing to expose their careers for public analysis using my 12 Steps That Lead To Financial Success.

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