Defending yourself against the sales lead killers

sales lead killersA couple of years ago, I was at a party where the host challenged guests to remove a cork from the inside of a wine bottle. It was quite a challenge, the host proclaimed.

One by one, people tried and failed to remove the cork. Then the host began explaining the tricky and complex solution, and people were impressed. However, the host was unable to remove the cork after 15 minutes of fiddling.

Growing impatient, I grabbed the bottle and asked the host if he really wanted the cork out of the bottle. He said yes. So I broke the bottle and handed him the cork. He wasn’t happy with that solution and said I “cheated.” Apparently it just wasn’t clever enough, even though it worked instantly.

Too often, this is the way it is with sales lead generation. Generating leads isn’t really that difficult, but people seem to be forever looking for complex solutions to simple problems. I call these the “lead killers,” because that’s exactly what they do — they kill leads.

The best defense against these killers is to just do what works. The simpler, the better. Here are a few examples.

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Using a coin trick to get your mail opened

direct mail coin trickRemember when people used to send direct mail packages with lots of stuff packed inside?

That was back in the good old days, before the economy went bust and everyone panicked and started mailing little postcards, invoice mailers, and fliers that all look alike.

One of my favorite old-fashioned direct mail package techniques was the “coin trick.” You attach a penny or nickel to an insert and use a window envelope to let recipients see the coin inside.

It’s irresistible. Very few people can bring themselves to throw away a real coin.

I guess no one told The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society about the “new” economy because they just sent me a package with a coin trick. Specifically, they use a 3-window envelope, showing the mailing address, return address, and a shiny nickel.

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Write the perfect sales letter in 14 proven steps

write sales lettersFairfax Cone once said, “Advertising is what you do when you can’t go see somebody. That’s all it is.”

He was so right.

There is no better way to sell something than in-person. Talking to someone face-to-face lets you have a personal conversation and get a feel for what someone wants and what it will take to make a deal.

However, since it’s not possible to have a personal chat with the billions of potential consumers out there, we use advertising media as a stand-in. And of all the traditional formats, sales letters come closest to the personal conversation you want to have.

A well-written sales letter remains one of the most effective means of speaking to people, sparking an emotional response, and motivating them to buy. It’s simple, personal, easy-to-read, and effective.

It’s hard to explain what makes a good sales letter. It’s sort of like good art: you just know it when you see it.

However, there are some basic steps for writing a sales letter. Here are 14 of them.

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Are there simple ways to reduce your direct mail costs?

Smart direct mailers should always look for ways to cut costs. But in today’s economic climate, cutting costs is a must.

Paper, postage, and printing are all on the rise. Prospects have become more choosy about responding to offers. And marketing departments are being asked to tighten their belts and stretch their dollars.

Here are three simple tips for trimming costs.

Talk to your printer. You may have a well-designed direct mail piece, but is it efficiently produced? Can you make small changes in the layout that will allow you to use more of the paper stock and create less waste? Are you using an odd shape that is making production or postage more expensive? Is the piece printed on unnecessarily expensive stock or stock that requires a special order and extra freight charges?

Consider the following video from my friends at Ballantine Corporation.

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