Why You Should Take A Tip From Zig Ziglar And Apply It To Your Sales Letters

In his seminars and tapes world-renowned motivational speaker Zig Ziglar always talks about the importance of having meaningful, specific goals. And, he’ll drive home his point with the rhetorical question, “What would you rather be in life, a meaningful specific or a wandering generality?”

As marketers and business owners if we want our direct mail efforts to produce profitable results we would do well to heed Zig’s advice. But too many sales letters are filled with platitudes, puffery and vague blather about quality and service. And then, not surprisingly, when a direct mail marketing professional approaches the company about doing a project the typical response is, “Direct mail? Nah, we tried that once, it doesn’t work for us.”

Nothing will hold the attention of your reader and advance your selling proposition as well as very specific and very relevant features and benefits. This is true in a face-to-face sales presentation and even more true when you’re selling on paper.

So, if you’re a commercial real estate broker with a large, national organization don’t expect me to be in a big rush to respond to your letter because: a. You’re with a big firm; b. Your company works with some prominent local companies.

Instead, give me specific, relevant and meaningful features and benefits. Because the fact that you’re with a national organization who does business with some large local companies in and of itself is “ho-hum,” “so-what?” information. But if you offer me meaningful, specific and relevant details that translate these facts into “reasons why” benefit-oriented copy…then your letter has a fighting chance of success. Then, I just may take your follow-up phone call.

Now, let’s take a look at, among other things, how well the writer of the following letter uses the pulling power of meaningful specifics.

Key: Standard text = Original letter (Parentheses) = Ernest’s critique and commentary [Brackets] = Ernest’s suggested text NOTE: All personal and corporate names have been changed to preserve privacy.

Mr. Frank FarmerSoft
Tools Inc.
1389 NE Fourth St., Ste. 1600
Bellevue, WA 98004

Dear Mr. Farmer,

Few decisions are as important to your company’s future success as where you choose to locate your company and under what parameters.

(A low-gear, generalized opening. Make sure you open your letter in high gear and grab the attention of your reader. Make it intriguing. Make it interesting. And quickly get to a benefit. For example, if you or I had written that letter, our opening might have looked something like this:) [Ouch! Negotiating your property lease in today’s market can be a painful and costly experience. Can be — but it doesn’t have to be.] (In defense of the original opening the writer did start off with an immediate focus on the prospect with 2 “yours” and a “you” in the opening line. Good move.)

Fewer decisions still are as difficult to make and feel secure that you made the right choice. And yet few (try another word) business decisions you will make can be made (passive voice, seldom a good choice in a sales letter) with as much confidence as relocation with the help of BKP Commercial Tenant Advisory Services. That is because with BKP as your exclusive representative, you can be assured you are not only seeing all your options, you are entering into the most economically favorable transaction.

(All puffery. NOTHING in this paragraph explains — specifically — what it is that’s supposed to give me such confidence in BKP. How can I…why can I be assured that I’m seeing all my options? Does your firm maintain a national up-to-the-minute database of available space that you can query and search by 187 different parameters? Then tell me. The broker should tell the prospect, specifically, how he does what he does and how the prospect benefits. Also, economically favorable transaction sounds like the words of an economist. The writer should use more conversational language and replace the phrase with something like,) [best possible deal.]

After salaries and wages, rent typically is your second largest cost of doing business. That is one reason why last year TCI West, Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Puget Power and many other Eastside companies turned to BKP Commercial Tenant Advisory Services as their exclusive representatives. (I’m pretty sure I know the point the writer is trying to make with these two sentences but he doesn’t succeed. He needs to insert the following sentence between them in order to make it a logical, cohesive thought sequence that also clearly communicates a benefit.) [So it just makes good sense — as well as dollars and cents — to have savvy, experienced negotiators working on your behalf.] We not only negotiate to the bottom line, (Specifically what does negotiate to the bottom line mean?) we saved them time and helped them make good strategic decisions.

(What exactly does the writer mean by good strategic decisions. Give me an example, share a success story with me, insert a testimonial. Summary: This paragraph would benefit from tighter writing and a more logical flow and — you guessed it — specific details.)

We are proud of our track record as the Eastside’s and the nation’s number one commercial real estate brokerage firm.

(You are? Great. But what is the benefit — to me — of your pride and boasting? Tell me, what’s in it for me? Remember, when your prospect is reading your letter he or she is tuned into WIIFM.)

Enclosed please find (Stilted formal language that reads like a legal document. I suggest) [I’ve enclosed an informative] a one page synopsis (instead of synopsis call it a) [report or special report.] of the Eastside Office Market. If you are in need of advice about your office facilities, please call us or file this information for the time when you are. (If you are going to send a sales letter always make some sort of meaningful offer. “Please call us” and “file this information” is not an offer. For more information on crafting response-producing offers see my article, How To Craft Stronger, More Compelling Offers That Will Boost Response Rates.)

(This letter limps to the finish line with a very weak, almost non-existent call to action. Suggestion: After the first sentence) [So, if you’ve got a lease coming due take a moment right now to look over this insightful report. Better yet, pick up the phone and give me a call at 425-453-6292. Let’s set up a meeting to discuss what it is you want and need in your next property lease transaction and what BKP and I can do to help you get it. Why not give me a call right now? I promise you, you’ll be glad you did.] (No, this isn’t a great close, great offer or call to action either. But it’s better than what the writer of this letter currently has.)


Ed Smith
BKP Commercial Real Estate Group, Inc.

© 2006 Ernest Nicastro

Austin’s East Side

Known for its eclectic patio bars, authentic taco stands, and abundance of bicycles, East Austin is a hip hodgepodge of culture.  This vibrant community is home to many types of people from artists and musicians to business owners and families. 

Eastsiders have plenty of options when it comes to great entertainment.  East Austin is filled with many outdoor spaces where live music and community events take place throughout the year.  The East Side Drive-In, a large outdoor music venue, is a top spot for big-name concerts, while Pine Street Station hosts a weekly farmers market and many music and art shows.

When it comes to late night entertainment, East Austin offers plenty of unique hangout spots.  Whether you’re in the mood for jazz and a classic cocktail at the East Side Showroom, or a 1960s themed dance party at the ND at 501 Studios, you are sure to have a great time exploring the East Side after dark. 

In addition to a bustling nightlife, East Austin also has a great food culture.  It has one of the highest concentrations of mobile food eateries in the city and plenty of food options from vegan chili to genuine Texas barbecue.  Eastside restaurants and cafés also serve up some of the best coffee, pizza, and Tex-Mex food in town. 

Many people prefer zipping around the neighborhood on bicycles, and local businesses have started to offer incentives for doing so.  Some East Side businesses offer discounts for customers who arrive on a bicycle while others regularly host social events for cyclists like bike-in movie nights. 

If you’re looking for a great neighborhood with great culture and lots of entertainment options, the East Side is an ideal place to live.

Own and Invest in a Bellevue Real Estate

Bellevue, which is French for Beautiful View, is located in Washington and is minutes away from Seattle. It is a suburb of Seattle and is across Lake Washington. It is the 15th wealthiest of all 522 communities in the whole of Washington State. It is the 5th largest city in the state with an estimated population of 117, 000. No doubt about it, owning a real estate in Bellevue is worth your while and money. There is a lot of real estate to be found in Bellevue. About 56 % of Bellevue is either owned or for sale. There are also about 8% vacant and available lands, while 36% are owned and being leased by owners. Buying and investing on Bellevue real estate would be a good move because it has developed rapidly industrially as well as residentially over the years and it will surely continue growing. The money magazine, CNN.Money.com, in one of its articles has proclaimed Bellevue as “The Best Place to Live and Launch a Business”. That speaks a lot for the kind of investment a Bellevue real estate would be.

Bellevue is aptly named for the beautiful view that it offers. On a good weather, scenic views of the Olympic Mountains and Cascade Mountains can be seen from the top of a hill or from a high-rise building. The lush greenery surrounding of Bellevue is really relaxing that makes it an ideal place also for people to retire in. However, Bellevue is also famous for various cultural and social entertainments; and a thriving commercial district. Bellevue is also home to many small and large corporations. Bellevue definitely makes it possible for people to live in the suburb, close to nature and still be near the bustle of a city. Downtown Bellevue is as entertaining and as full of life as any city in the country. Recently, Bellevue won the Smart Communities Award for Red-Bel Plan. The Bel-Red Plan aimed to transform Bel-Red area into a vibrant corridor that links transportation, jobs, communities and housing. That is why Bellevue is considered a prime land and purchasing a Bellevue real estate would be the finest decision you’ll ever make. Bellevue is perfect not only for young couples and families, but also for young professionals and businessmen. It offers both a comfortable home nestled in a verdant environment as well as ways and means for homeowners to earn a living.

Transportation in Bellevue is not a problem. The local government ensures that public transportation is available to residents and business owners. The roads and highways leading to and from Bellevue are also in the best condition. Travelling to Bellevue’s neighbouring cities would never be a problem. The main Eastside hub of King County Metro and Sound Transit, the regional transit system is located in Bellevue. The Bellevue Transit Center is located right in the heart of the city. Living in a community such as Bellevue and staying connected to the rest of the world has never been this easy.

Now is the time to invest in a house or a land in Bellevue. There are a lot of for sale Bellevue real estate in Bellevue and with a good agent, you’ll be able to find a perfect home for your family, your dream home or simply a good investment that will surely pay off in the future.