The Target Advocate

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February 16, 2006

Vol. 1, Issue 11

Published the third or fourth week of every month.

Please forward this entire bulletin to marketing and sales-minded colleagues.

Note from Beth

Dear Friend,

Hello! How are you?

Since the holiday issue of The Target Advocate, My husband, Evan and I enjoying the birth of our son Miles on January 25, 2006. The outpouring of care and support we have received from those who read this newsletter has been amazing and I truly thank you!

This month, I have tried to create a different type of balance in the newsletter. We have the results of our 2nd annual reader survey, my article on how to write an effective sales letter and my featured network partner is my son, Miles Russell Pilchik.

On the business front, I have not met a professional who does not want to increase sales as the new year starts and on the personal front, what kind of mother would I be, if I did not show off my son, just a little bit. I hope you will all indulge me just this once.

See you in March!

- Beth

Beth Silver

Feature Article:
Writing an Effective Sales Letter

By Beth Silver

A sales letter is an important marketing tool that can build your client base and increase sales (and profits). However, admittedly, many professionals hate writing them because they are uncertain where to start and how to proceed once they do. When I help clients compose sales letters, I first suggest they return to basics.

Do Your Homework

  • Before writing, take time to think about the message of your letter.
    Ask yourself what you're trying to achieve. If the answer is to make a sale, you are jumping too far. What is your plan to go about making the sale? Your message should ask for step one. Is it a telephone call or in-person meeting?
  • Recognize the potential wants and needs of your customers.
    What is your potential customer looking for and how can you help them? Think about their "pain." Remember: they are only going to be interested in what you have to offer if they are looking for a solution.
  • Focus on the customer benefits:
    What will a potential customer benefit by using your products or services? Think about the sentence: "Use my products/services so you can . . . (fill in the blank)." Your products/services are the features and the results of using your products/services are the customer benefits. Without knowing the benefits of using your products or services, your letter and sales strategy will not be effective.
  • Focus on objections:
    No one likes to hear the words "no or not interested" but if you can think of potential objections about your product a prospective customer may raise you will be able to counter their reservations in a frank and non-confrontational manner. If someone does say "no," always remember, "no" means not at this time.
  • Whatís next?
    What do you want the reader to do after reading your letter? Should they call you for a brochure, take your call or meet with you? In the letter, include the manner in which you wish to follow up. Itís always better to explain what you are looking for from the start, therefore no one is left guessing.
  • Look around:
    See which sales letters have caused you to act and study them. It's good to know what you, personally, find effective and ineffective.

Organize and Outline

  • An outline helps you better organize your thoughts.
    When outlining your letter, don't begin to edit. Brainstorm all ideas so you can see where you are going. Writers never send out their first draft.
  • Headlines:
    Sales letters used for direct mail often use headlines. Headlines grab a readerís attention and keep them reading. If you are writing a letter that is not geared toward a specific person, consider using a key benefit as your headline.
  • Use the hook:
    The lead or first paragraph is the most important as it helps grab or "hooks" your reader to know more. This should flow from the idea/hook you created in your headline (if you used one) and entice the reader to learn more about how your product or service will help them. Remember—it's about how they can benefit.
  • Supporting Materials:
    Support your product claims with testimonials, examples and statistics. If you are offering any special details or discounts, spell them out.

Sharpen Your Pencils

The next step is to begin writing your first draft. You will be surprised how much information you will find about yourself, your business and your potential customer.

After writing your first, second, third or even tenth draft, be sure to evaluate each version with the following criteria:

  • Does the first paragraph grab your attention?
  • Does it relate to product features and company benefits?
  • Is it an easy letter to put down and ignore?
  • What do you like best about the letter?
  • How could you improve it?
  • From reading the letter, do you want to buy the product or service? Why or why not?

After you have read the version to yourself silently, read the letter out loud. Doing so will allow them to see which sentences are fluid and melodic and which feel abrupt and uncertain.

After writing a letter you feel good about, be sure to listen to reader feedback. You'll quickly notice where youíre on target and where youíre slightly off the mark. If you do notice an instance where you were slightly off the mark, don't stress over it. This information will help you make the next letter stronger and more effective.


Featured Partner:
Miles Russell Pilchik

Each month, I focus on introducing you to wonderful and talented entrepreneur who I hope you will enjoy learning more about and possibly networking with.

Well this month, I am very excited to introduce my son, Miles Russell Pilchik. Miles was born on January 25, 2006 at 8:04AM, weighing 7 pounds 15 ounces. He looks exactly like his father, but I have been told that a resemblance of me may creep up in the future. Right now, he is a very cute and sweet baby who likes to eat, sleep and of course poop. Evan and I along with the rest of our family are as excited as can be.

As I write this edition of The Target Advocate, I can't help but think that when someone will Google him in the future, this newsletter will appear with his mother announcing his birth. It may not be the best thing for him at the time, but I think it's quite funny now and the picture shown is not too embarrassing. I hope you all agree.

Thank you again to all who called to check in and were as excited as Evan and I were on the newest member of family.

Miles Russell Pilchik

Reader Survey

Thanks to all who participated in our Reader Survey. The response was wonderful! The good news is, the topics I plan on covering this year are what you are still what you are looking for. If you have a specific topic or question answered, please do let me know.


About Doubet

At Doubet Consulting, we help our clients acquire new clients, retain the good ones, become more profitable and move their business forward. We identify, create, and implement effective marketing and business strategies for entrepreneurs and small to mid-sized companies. As Target Advocates we take a comprehensive look at your overall business, ensuring that you effectively meet the needs of your target customers. Businesses often refer to themselves as a piece of a pipeline and we look for and fix gaps in that pipe, making it whole so that it works more efficiently.


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