If you want to improve your sales letters, read movie reviews. One of the most common criticisms brought against new movies is that the characters are wooden and one-dimensional. Their actions are predictable. Their speech is predictable.
Remember this when you decide to include a testimonial in your direct mail advertising letter. Putting a testimonial in your sales letter will only help your case and persuade prospects to respond if the testimonial sounds authentic.
So listen hard when you're listening for good testimonials. Listen for the phrase that is ungrammatical, the thought expressed in the vernacular. Listen for the observations from satisfied customers that sound real.
Then quote those testimonials verbatim, keeping the grammatical mistakes if possible. Your testimonials need to have an authentic sound to them, a sound that you cannot reproduce with your own pen. So let your customers speak for you by letting them speak for themselves. You'll sound more convincing precisely because they do.
Here's an example of what I mean. One of my clients, who makes commercial earth moving equipment, wanted to persuade owners of competing graders to take a test drive in my client's grader. The problem is, many prospective customers own Caterpillar graders and have a loyalty to the Caterpillar brand that borders on religious fanaticism.
My client wanted to persuade these tough prospects that blade hands who operate my client's grader are more comfortable and productive than those who operate competing machines.
Problem was, my client couldn't exactly say that in their own words. They would sound like they were boasting. Besides, they are biased, right?
I decided to make this proposition by way of a testimonial. I searched the company's sales literature and dealer newsletters, and found a pearl that came out of the mouth of a blade hand who works for an earth moving company in Frisco, Texas. I quoted him by quoting how his company president quoted him:
"All of our guys were Cat hands, but after we put a 772 into the hands one of our number-one blade hands, when he started running that blade, about a week later he said, ‘Don't go bringing that Caterpillar back. '"
I couldn't have said that any better if I'd tried. So I didn't.
About the author
Alan Sharpe is a direct mail copywriter who helps business owners and marketing managers generate leads, close sales and retain customers using direct mail and email marketing . Learn more about his creative direct mail writing services and sign up for free weekly tips like this at www.sharpecopy.com
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