In … direct mail, you are unlikely to reach … at the very moment they are ready to buy. And even if you do, you are not likely to close the sale with just a sales letter. Th

In business-to-business direct mail, you are unlikely to reach prospects at the very moment they are ready to buy. And even if you do, you are not likely to close the sale with just a sales letter. That’s because business buying decisions rarely involve just one step (such as dropping a cheque in the mail or placing an order by phone).

Instead, the buying cycle typically involves a request for more information, either by way of literature or a visit from a sales rep, followed by a sales meeting, a product demonstration, maybe a trial, then a contract.

You do not usually know where cold prospects are in their buying cycle. So your direct mail should try to hook them wherever they are. The best way to generate a response is to present more than one offer.

Hard Offer
The hard offer asks for the order. “Call before June 18th to save 40% off your network installation.” “Book your commercial property tax audit now.” Use a hard offer when you want your mailing to generate immediate action–usually in the form of a sale. Prospects who respond to hard offers are usually able and willing to buy right now.

Soft Offer
The soft offer asks your prospects to raise their hands in a show of interest, but does not ask for an order or a commitment. An example of a soft offer: “Return the enclosed business reply card for your free copy of our special industry report.” Use a soft offer when you want to generate a sales lead rather than an immediate sale or sales appointment. Soft offers identify prospects who are able to buy, just not willing to buy right now. You follow up with them and close the sale later on.

Deferred Offer
The deferred offer asks prospects to let you know when you should contact them again. The wording of such an offer on a reply card might sound like this: “Not interested right now, but get back to me on [date]: ___________________.” The prospect fills in the date. The deferred offer isn’t really an offer, of course, since you are not offering anything. It’s more of a call to action. Use a deferred offer when you want to identify prospects who are neither able nor willing to buy right now, but might be in the future.

Negative Offer
The negative offer asks your readers to tell you that they are not interested in what you are selling. The wording of such an offer on a reply card might sound like this: “Not interested [please give reason]: ________________.” The reader gives the reason. The negative offer is like the deferred offer in that it’s not an offer as much as a call to action (you are not offering anything).
Use a deferred offer when you want to clean your mailing listFree Articles, removing business names who are not prospects and never will be. Also use a negative offer to learn why people won’t buy from you. Their answers are informative (even surprising!).

I recommend that your direct mail piece include either a hard offer or a soft offer. You want to generate either a sale (hard offer) or a sales lead (soft offer). Put the other offers on the reply device only. You don’t want multiple offers in your letter.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alan Sharpe is a business-to-business direct mail copywriter
and lead generation consultant who helps high-tech firms
attract new clients using creative, cost-effective direct mail.
Subscribe to “Sharpe & Direct,” his weekly newsletter, at
www.sharpecopy.com










Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alan Sharpe is a business-to-business direct mail copywriter
and lead generation consultant who helps high-tech firms
attract new clients using creative, cost-effective direct mail.
Subscribe to “Sharpe & Direct,” his weekly newsletter, at
www.sharpecopy.com