Intro Letter – a Lost Art

It used to be that the prospecting process began with an introductory letter. Sales people would collect their thoughts and try to make a good first impression, followed by a phone call or two to secure an appointment. Ah, the good old days.

E-mail drastically reduced the amount of mail in the system, making it difficult for the Postal Service to figure out an effective way to lose money (though they somehow overcame that issue). Armed with a correct e-mail address, a sales rep can now be ignored by prospects electronically, saving thousands of man-hours along the way. Ah, progress.

I often wonder where this is all headed. Will we be Tweeting our prospects? It’d be interesting to fit everything you need to say in only 140 words:

“G’day! Like 2 meet w u. Have ideas to share. Will call soon to set up appt. Thx. Bill F”

Geesch, you’d have a distinct advantage if you have a short name.

But with all of this electronic-ness filling the airwaves, guess what is left empty: The mailbox! Yup, the customer is now open to a new old way of putting your best foot forward. Writing an introductory letter is an excellent, if old school, way of making first contact. It also makes sense, given that we are PRINTERS and, therefore, should be using our own technology!

The challenge, then, is to remember how to craft an effective introductory letter. The don’ts are:

• Don’t tell the I, me, my story.
• Don’t make it an equipment dump.
• Don’t brag about your other customers.
• And DON’T send samples (see previous blog entry for an explanation).

In the “do” category, we have:

• Do keep it to one page.
• Do remember to get the customers name and title right.
• Do spell check.
• And do remember to include a P.S. (Everyone reads the P.S.)

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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