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Closing the Sale

Getting the customer to take action in typical sales situation is known as "closing the sale."  Salesmen are taught many forms of closing techniques, such as the "assumptive close".  Many of the methods that are used face to face are tough to do in writing.  But ultimately, for the letter to be effective, you need something to get the customer to do something now.   Otherwise, you will soon be out of business.

One effective formula for a good close consists of 5 major elements:

  1. Scarcity Or the Take-Away
  2. Action
  3. Warning
  4. Take Action Now
  5. P.S.

1.  Scarcity

Tell your prospect that this offer is scarce. The purpose is to create a sense of urgency - to act now- instead of "I will get back to this later" and then forgetting.

Here are some examples you can adapt for your salesletters:

  • Is available only for a limited time
  • Bonus is available for the first ____ to respond
  • Is available only for the next ___ days
  • Is available only till _______
  • Is available at the discount price for a limited time
  • Is available with the Free Bonuses for a limited time
  • Is almost out of stock..."We only have 50 left!"
  • You will be out by the end of the week

The keys are to (1) make your prospects take action now or lose out on something to create a fear of loss and (2) do it in a way that is honest and believable.  For example, a close out of a physical item that will not be manufactured again is believable.  A shortage of an electronic newsletter is not.  A special offer during the early days of a business to get satisfied customers from whom you want endorsements is believable.  A limited number of expensive giveaways is believable.

Many direct marketers believe the best option is "this offer is good until ____."  (Especially if the date really has some meaning.) The disadvantage of using this option is that you must be sure to have enough time between the point the recipient receives the offer and the deadline.  This may be more difficult using hard copy direct mail than e-mail messages.  Just plan ahead and expect some delays with the printer, the mail processor or snail mail for hard copy direct mail campaigns!

2.  Action

Tell them exactly what to do to order. Tell them every option for ordering in detail.

"In order for you to start getting ____________(List 2 or three of your benefits here separated by commas), pick up the phone and dial : 1-800-000-0000"

"Or Simply fill out the Enclosed Trial Certificate to begin your 90 day evaluation of __________________(Name the product here)"

Tell them what to do. Make it easy. Keep it as simple as possible.

3.  Warn

Step number 2 mentioned the "gain" benefits, i.e., the satisfactions they would gain if they do what you want them to do. But many people are "maintainers".  (See Why People Buy for the full discussion of Human Motivation and the difference between "gainers" and "maintainers".)  While the gain benefits may be sufficient for the gainers, you must create the feeling that by acting now they will maintain the satisfaction of their needs, and that the risk of loss will be greater than the risk of acting now.

Warn them what their life will be like if they don't act now. Warn them what it is like to stay in the status quo. How will their life be in 10 years if they don't get your product? What will happen to their business if they don't get your product? What are they giving up if they ignore your salesletter?

Give them plenty of "maintain" benefits in plain, simple terms. Use fear of loss to help your customers choose action rather than the status quo.

4.  Take Action Now!

Tell them again to ____ (the instructions on ordering) now while the limited time offer is still good to get _______ (the "gain" benefits"  and avoid _____ (the "maintain" benefits). Let them know this is their only chance to get the ______ ("gain" benefits).

Conclude with a closing and your signature.

5.  P.S.

Studies have shown that a P.S. to a letter is one of the most read pieces of any salesletter. It is often one of the first things your customer will look at (with a hard copy, anyway).   Consequently, including a P.S. in every salesletter you create is vital.

You are not limited to one P.S.  You could use the first P.S. to repeat the offer and the deadline for ordering, then state an overview of the free Bonuses they get for ordering in a P.P.S.

Or, using 3 P.S.'s, name the #1 benefit of your product and maybe the warning in the P.S., include the offer and deadline i n the P.P.S., and include the Free Bonuses or mention the most powerful of the Free Bonuses in the P.P.P.S.

At a minimum, repeat the offer and deadline in at least one of the P.S.

Key:  include both gain and maintain benefits.  People do things for their reasons, not ours.  They buy how they imagine buying the product will make them feel, not the product itself. Make sure you have translated the features into human benefits.