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Sales Letters – How to Write Highly Responsive Sales Letters

By Jeffrey Dobkin

Everyone has their own sales letters templates for increasing response. The sales letter format we recommend is very different: don’t sell your products in the letter. Show your biggest benefits, then ask the reader call – several times. When someone calls, YOU sell your product. That’s our formula for a perfect sales letter template. Here’s how to write a perfect sales letter to get the highest response possible.

Sales Letters: How to Write Letters that are Highly Responsive

Sales letters are easy to write. G-R-E-A-T sales letters are hard to write. Highly responsive G-R-E-A-T sales letters are the most difficult to write… unless you use the correct copywriting strategy.

With 30 years of direct mail experience, we believe our sales letter template strategy brings the most phone calls. If it doesn’t, we’ll give you all your money back you spent on this article. Wait… you did pay for this article on direct mail, didn’t you?

Here’s why our direct mail formula – not selling your product directly from the page but setting your goal to generating a phone call – brings in more response.  And more phone calls:

Sales Letters Written by Jeffrey Dbbkin

Sales Letters written by Jeffrey Dobkin

· It’s much easier to generate a phone call from a sheet of paper than to hard-sell a product off the page.
· No money is at risk for the caller, they are not being asked to buy anything. So…
· There is no sales resistance.
· Since they’re aren’t being asked to purchase anything, cost is irrelevant and
· Price is not a factor.
· In fact: it’s free (no cost) to the reader, simply pick up the phone and call…
· No credit card is needed.
· A phone call offers instant answers to readers questions.
· No friction.
· It’s immediate, and offers instant gratification!
· Builds trust because you are not asking for money.
· Fast and easy: Just requesting a simple phone call.

The specific sales letter format offering the highest response is:
Mention your company, show your product’s best features,
Highlight all your product benefits in a bullet list,
then: sell the phone call hard.  This is where you drive customers to call.
When people call, you then have the opportunity to sell your products.

10 Tips: How to write the perfect sales letter.

Creating highly responsive sales letter templates is easy if you follow these guidelines:

10. Make it look like a letter.

A letter is the most effective sheet of paper in all of direct mail.
Sending a sales letter without a brochure can be way more effective than sending a brochure without a sales letter.

Every piece of mail you send should have a letter in it.  There are No Exceptions.

But is it really a letter? No, it isn’t. It’s a highly stylized ad designed to look like a letter.

So although it’s really an advertisement, for clarity we’ll still call it a sales letter.

Make your sales letter look like a traditional business letter, with a traditional business letter format:

· Use a letterhead at the top.
· Place a single selling line, flush right.
· Introduce the letter with a salutation.
· The body copy follows and
· Close with your signature
· Include a strong P.S.

Letter Design:
The optimal type for the letter is set in Courier style type in 10, 11 or 12 point, set flush-left rag-right.
Never justify the body of your letter copy.
Indent the first line of each paragraph 4 or 5 spaces.  This starts the readers eye flow.
Keep paragraphs short – never more than 5 lines.
Make it look easy to read, even if it isn’t, by showing lots of white space.

9. Make the first paragraph short: Only one line. Two at most.

Like this.

A single line of very few words commands attention and increases readership. Your first line must be the most interest-arousing line in the entire letter – to draw the reader into the rest of the letter text. Use the Jeff Dobkin 100-to-1 Rule – write 100 opening lines then go back and pick out your best one. Yes, it’s that important.

8. Show the Benefits in your letter.

People look at the features of your products or company, but they respond because of the benefits those features offer the reader. A feature is what the product has, the benefit is the value of what the person receives from the product’s feature. A teacup has a handle – that’s a feature. The benefit is it’s easier to pick the cup up, and you don’t burn your hands while drinking hot tea from it.

7. Create a bullet list in the center of your letter.

Show your top 3 or 4 benefits in a brief bullet format. Each benefit in just one or two lines at most. Perfect for skimming and fast reading.

6. Give your phone number several times throughout the letter.  And ask people to call.

If the reader doesn’t call, your letter fails. Make your call to action strong and frequent: ask the reader to call several times throughout the letter.

This is the single biggest mistake I see in the sales letters I review:  The writer only asked the reader to call once.  In some of my sales letters I ask the reader to call half a dozen times.  And give the phone number 3 or 4 times.  Yes, its repetitive.  Yes it works – to make more people call!  Want to see how I asked readers to call 16 times in one letter? 16-Call Letter.

Did I mention we offer a free sales letter review?
Email me your final letter for analysis (not an early draft, I’m not your secretary), then we’ll chat!  Free.

Or if you’re really struggling, I write letters for clients all the time. Please call for FREE sample letter examples and costs.

5. DON’T sell your products in your sales letter!

That’s right!  Don’t sell your products, sell the benefits and the phone call. When people call, YOU sell your product.

It’s much easier to generate a phone call from a sheet of paper than to sell a product. Once people call, the letter worked perfectly and it was 100% successful. Then you put your magic powers in the queue and you sell your products.  In fact:

4. Make this slight difference in sales letter strategy – and make a huge difference in response!

By writing your sales letter to generate maximum phone calls from the start you’ll get so many more opportunities – better opportunities – to sell your products when they call. HUGE difference in response!

When your entire letter is drafted around the specific goal of “to generate phone calls!” you can generate many many more phone calls.  Each phone call is a great sales opportunity for you!  Compare each line you write in your marketing letter to the goal of “does this line make the reader call? Or does this line push the reader away?”

3. Sign legibly.

You know that squiggle you use for your signature? Yea, don’t use that. Your signature is a visual hook – make it readable. While you can use “Sincerely” or “Yours Truly” I always sign-off with “Kindest regards,” in closing.  Sounds kind of nice, don’t you think?

2. Include a strong P.S.

The Post Script should restate your biggest benefit followed by asking for a phone call and repeating your phone number. Include urgency: “Sale ends on Saturday!” if you can. If you have a guarantee, the PS is a pretty good place to show it off or at least mention it.  It’s the final sales pitch for generating a phone call.

Do you include a brochure?
My choice is YES!  Include a brochure! My actual first choice is to include an “informational booklet” in your direct mail package. Not because people will read it.  People look at the pictures.  But they READ the letter.

A great brochure does have value: it builds credibility. The brochure can be photo-rich, hard-hitting and sales-oriented: readers know you printed millions of them. But the letter – if written and designed correctly – is perceived as personal: me to you, one to one, mono-a-mono. You only printed a few of these, right?  It’s a personal medium.

1. Mail to the right mailing list.

Here are the influencing factors in your sales letter success: The letter, your market, your offer, the creative style & design, last but very definitely not least: your mailing list. Lousy list = lousy response. Great list = great response. Get it?  Read about choosing the right mailing list here.

For the highest response to any direct mail, always, always include a sales letter in every direct mailing package you send. If your letter is created correctly it’s the hardest working part of the mailing package and will compel more people to read your material… and if written correctly, to call.  It has the highest readership in your direct mail package and is the most responsible for the quantity and quality of the response

For 2018, here’s my newest recommendation. I know you want to but DON’T:

Bonus Tip:  Don’t feature your website. Yes, DO NOT.

I have lots of clients who ask me to feature their website in the letter I write for them, and to direct readers to go there instead of asking readers to call. I have one word for this: Arrrrggg.  No, don’t do it.

Sending people to a website is just an additional step standing in the way of a sale.

Your website is another place potential sales (and customers)  fall off. It’s one more interfering step where you can easily lose sales. For the best possible chance of a sale, would you rather send someone off to your website or speak with them directly on the phone.

Sales is a personal contact sport: the best way to sell your products is to speak with someone directly.

Personal contact is a place you can raise their level of confidence and trust in spending money with you. You can answer questions, overcome objections and assure them yes indeed it’s the product they need – and they can purchase it right now from a company they can trust.

Can you sell stuff on the web? Sure. If your website is 100% dedicated to online selling. E-bay, L.L. Bean, and online sellers like Amazon – all sites that are designed to sell from the ground up, without human intervention and with a great amount of trust. Is your site like that? Get serious. I don’t think so.

Sending people to your website is another way – in fact a very good way – to have them fall out of the sales cycle.

Do I think you should mention your website? Yes, I do.
Here’s how: Put your web address (URL) in your letter head. It’s very low-key, but it’s there. Savvy online buyers will be able to look you up and see your site, but it won’t detract your sales letter from fulfilling its primary mission: generating a phone call.

Thanks for reading this. If I can answer any questions, please call. 610-642-1000 rings on my desk.

If you’d like to see examples of the sales letters I write for clients, you can see them in our Creative Samples link by clicking here.

If you are in the insurance industry, are a financial advisor, or work in network marketing we’ve written a series of great marketing sales letters that put our sales letter knowledge to the test using our own strategies to make people call you.  We follow our own sales letter formula in our sale letter series.

Please check out our FREE sample insurance sales letter by clicking here. These sale letter solicitation templates are available in a awesome package of 26 sales letters.

Or look over our Financial Advisor Sales Letter series using this link.
Network marketer’s love our awesome Network marketing sales letter templates. Click here to see them.
For more articles on how to write sales letters, here are a few pages filled with in-depth letter writing articles and tips.

Click here to view our free direct marketing articles – in depth help to write and design your sales letter campaign.

Our Creative Sample pages contain samples of the sales letters we’ve written for clients. Please call us 610-642-1000 if you need any writing: web copy, reports, content, informational booklets, catalog copy and of course sales letters.

We also analyze advertising campaigns, copywriting, web strategy, and full campaign and marketing strategy and offer a Marketing Audit so you can see if you’re missing anything.  This link provides just a few of the questions Dobkin asks in a marketing audit…

And our FREE LETTER REVIEW SERVICE will let you know how effective your own writing is FREE. Just email your final letter to Jeff at

Hope you enjoyed this article and found it of great value. If you’d like Jeffrey Dobkin to review your sales letter, please email your final draft to him for his analysis. If you’d like to speak with Jeffrey about writing a sales letter – or any other writing or graphic design – for your firm, please call him directly: call 610-642-1000.

Jeffrey Dobkin

Jeffrey Dobkin

Jeffrey Dobkin has written 5 books on direct marketing and direct mail, and two on humor. Over 250 of his articles on direct marketing have been published in more than 300 magazines. He can be reached at the Danielle Adams Publishing Company, P.O. Box 100, Merion Station, PA 19066.  Call him with questions or comments: 610-642-1000.  Comments welcome.  Well, the good comments anyhow.