Business Correspondence
Author: Anonymous
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[Sidenote: Clear and logical.]

Read the attached SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL ADVERTISING. They are short, but they are interesting and they are practical. Note the plain examples of the good and the bad. These talks will encourage advertisers to begin and will help those who come in to get the worth of their money. If you sent all of your customers and prospective customers a book on Advertising—even if a suitable one were available—it might insult some. Perhaps only a few would read it thoroughly. Besides, it would probably cost you a hundred dollars.

These short talks can be used on days when you are not pushed for space. You can see that they look readable. They can be read in a minute or two. The cost is insignificant, considering the results that are sure to come from this campaign of education. Suppose only two or three new patrons came in as the result; you would get back your little investment over and over. Who will educate your customers and prospective customers if you don't?

[Sidenote: An effective, confident close that commands respect and consideration.]

I do not urge you. Just read the articles. I know what you, as a progressive publisher, will think of them. Let me hear from you as soon as convenient, for if you do not want the service, I shall want to offer it elsewhere. You are the only publisher in your city to whom I am now offering the service. I enclose stamp for the return of the sheets in the event that you do not keep them.

Yours for more and better advertising. [Signature: M. B. Andrews]

* * * * *

The question of how to open your inquiry letter is a big one. Good beginnings are as varied as the proposition which the letter presents.

The straight question usually commands attention. "Do you get the best price for your goods?" "Are you securing all the advertising patronage to which you are entitled?" "Couldn't you use an extra pair of good trousers?" "Do you collect 98 per cent of your accounts?" Openings of this kind rivet attention.

With some letter-writers, the direct command style of opening is popular: "Get more advertising. How? This letter answers the question." "Wear tailor-made clothes at the price of ready-made." "Make your money earn you six per cent." If these openings are chosen with the care that the advertising man uses in selecting headings for advertisements, attention will be secured.


Your easiest profits are those you make by saving expense.

There is one way you can save rent; save wages; save damage to samples and still sell more goods.

Install a Patent Extension Display Rack in any department you like— picture, linen, notions, sporting goods, etc., and you will add 30 square feet of display for every foot you use. You will enable one salesman to do the work of two. You will save the time your salesmen now spend in getting out goods and putting them away. You will prevent the samples from becoming soiled.

Don't take the trouble to write us a letter, just pencil on the foot of this the name of the manager of the department you would like to begin with, and we will explain all about these display racks to him.

Yours very truly, [Signature: Smith and Deene]

P.S. Marshall Field & Co., of Chicago, bought the first Extension Display Rack we sold and they have been buying ever since. Their last order just received amounts to nearly a thousand dollars. Can you afford not to investigate?

* * * * *

The reference to easy profits at once interests every business man and the method of saving rent, saving wages and increasing sales is certain to be investigated. The third paragraph presents good argument—short and to the point. The letter is extremely easy to answer—just a few words with a pencil and that is all. Proof of the merit of the article in its satisfactory use by a large wholesale house is cleverly brought out in the postscript

* * * * *

Another good way to win the interest of the prospect is to offer to help him in his buying in some specific way. A firm selling diamonds by mail, for instance, does it in this fashion:

"Unless you are an experienced judge of precious stones, it is almost impossible to buy a diamond at random and be certain of getting value for your money. But you need not take chances. Our best expert has written a booklet telling just how to determine diamond value, how to detect flaws, and explaining the choicest cuttings. Whether or not you buy of us, this little book will be of inestimable value to you in buying stones. We will be glad to send you a copy for the asking."

* * * * *

Still other writers follow the declarative form of opening. "Allison Preferred has advanced to 106 in a week." "Yesterday we sold for $10,000 cash a property that was put in our hands only Tuesday." But inasmuch as the declarative form lacks a little of the inherent interest of the question or the command, it should deal with some point of particular "interest value" to the class addressed.

Style and interest value are just as important in the letter that is to draw an inquiry as in the letter designed to make a sale. Some think that just because a letter is fairly certain to reach a man if properly addressed, it is easy to get a reply. Far from it. Unless there is a good reason for a man answering a letter, he isn't going to do it.

Suppose that a furniture dealer, on receiving a new stock of furniture, writes a letter like this to a list of several hundred women:

"Our fall stock of furniture arrived on Saturday and is now on exhibition on our third floor. The showing is unsurpassed. Here you will find something to suit you, whether you wish oak, mahogany, walnut or birch. We invite you to pay us a call."

* * * * *

Some who would probably have come anyway may come in response to such a letter or may write for special information. But a letter of this kind is sure to bring results:

Dear Mrs. Brown:

I remember that when you purchased the mahogany bed last March you expressed a desire to buy a dresser that would match. In the new lot of furniture that we put on our floors only yesterday are several dressers that would match your piece perfectly. Come in and see them. I should like you to see also the dressing tables and chairs that match your dresser, even if you are not ready just now to get an entire set.

* * * * *

The first letter has little point to it. The second has personality and interest, and if signed by the salesman that sold the first piece of mahogany, is certain to bring the customer in if anything would.

A strong method of closing letters of this sort is to have final paragraphs of this style: "May we tell you more? This won't put you under the least obligation. If we can't show you that it is to your interest to take up this matter, it is our fault—not yours. Mail the card now and let us put all the facts before you."

A post card or a postal card should be enclosed in all inquiry- bringing letters. The request for further details should be printed, so that the prospect has only to sign his name and mail the card. In other words, make it easy for the prospect to answer. Another thing, don't print anything on the card that will make it appear that the prospect is committing himself. Paragraphs of this sort have proved effective: "Without committing myself, I give you permission to furnish me full information about the subject mentioned in your letter."

The card method is particularly good if the inquiry is to be followed up by a solicitor, for the card may be sent conveniently to the solicitor who will take it with him when he calls. It sometimes pays to have all the inquiries from a territory sent on cards addressed to a certain solicitor, though the inquirer may think at the time of inquiring that the one whose name appears on the card merely is the correspondent that wrote the letter. The advantage is that a prospect who sends in a card addressed to "Mr. H. E. Carrington, care of the Smith Publishing Company," has seen Mr. Carrington's name. When Mr. Carrington calls, the inquirer is sometimes flattered to think that the gentleman has been sent from the home office. As he has written a card to Mr. Carrington, he cannot with good grace deny an interview.

The man who writes and offers to do something without putting the least obligation on the inquirer who accepts the offer is hard to turn down. A writer of advertisements, after a courteous criticism on advertisements that he doesn't like, closes in this way: "I think I can show that it is to your interest to use some copy of my construction. If I can't, certainly it won't be your fault. May I show you what I think is a more profitable way of advertising these goods? If when you see my copy you are not more than satisfied to pay my bill, there won't be any ill-feeling on my part. The decision will rest with you."

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* * * * *

A townsite company, selling town lots by mail, uses a device that gets replies when ordinary requests would be disregarded. As the close of a three-page form letter this paragraph is used:

"We enclose letter that the railway company wrote us. Please return it in the enclosed stamped envelope, and tell us what you think of our plan."

* * * * *

The next sheet following is a facsimile letter from a prominent railway official commending the plan, so making it easy for the prospect to add a few words of commendation.

This is a clever scheme to coax a reply out of the prospect—and it is certain that he carefully reads the letter from the railroad company before he returns it. No matter what the nature of his letter it gives an opportunity for a personal reply.

A clothing manufacturer has an effective method of drawing out a fresh inquiry or indication of interest from his mailing list by inquiring what satisfaction the reader got out of the last suit ordered, asking a criticism of service if the buyer has any to make, saying that anything that was wrong will be made right.

Writers of investment letters have found that it pays to emphasize the fact that only a small lot of stock is available. If the letter leads the prospect to believe that barrels of the stock will be sold, the effect will be prejudicial. The "limited quantity" idea is effective in selling other things.

An investment letter that brought good results where the signer of the letter knew all those to whom the letter was sent made the statement that four or five shares of stock had been put aside for the prospect. Practically no more information was given in the letter, but full information was offered on receipt of request. The request gave opportunity for the salesman to call. This "putting aside" idea may be applied to clothing and other commodities. Its efficiency lies in the fact that it gives a definite point to the letter.

In the letter that angles for an inquiry, do not tell too much. Whet the appetite and arouse the curiosity. Make them hungry to learn all about it, make them come back like Oliver Twist and ask for more. But it is fatal to paint a proposition in such brilliant colors that there is a chance for disappointment when the prospect gets his additional information. Nor should an offer of a free booklet or free samples be made so alluring that the letter will be answered out of idle curiosity when the recipient is really not a prospect at all.

Schemes without number can be devised to get a reply and only enough should be put in such a letter to stimulate a reply, saving up the real arguments and the big talking points for the letter that aims on getting the actual order.

How To Close Sales By LETTER


Suppose that your most obstinate "prospect"—a man in the next block on whom your cleverest salesman had used every tactic and had been rewarded only by polite turn-downs until he had lost hope— should call up some afternoon and ask you to send over a salesman. Would you despatch the office boy? Or would you send your star salesman? Yet if that prospect lived a hundred miles away and sent in a letter of inquiry, one out of two firms would entrust the reply to a second or third-rate correspondent—entirely forgetful that an inquiry is merely a clue to a sale, and not a result in itself. This chapter shows how to GET THE ORDER by letter

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The man who inquires about your goods isn't "sold" by a long ways. He is simply giving you an opportunity to sell him. Inquiries aren't results, they're simply clues to possible sales, and if you are going to follow those clues up and make sales out of them, you need the best men you can find and the best letters those men can turn out to do it. Inquiries of good quality are costly, frequently several times as costly as the advertiser figures in advance that he can afford to pay. Yet, strange to say, many advertisers will employ $50 or $100-a-week ability to write advertisements that will produce inquiries and then expect $10 or $15 men to turn them into sales. As a matter of fact nine times out of ten the hardest part of the transaction is to close the sale.

An inquiry is merely an expression of interest. The reader of the advertisement says, in effect, "All right, I'm impressed. Go ahead and show me." Or, if he hasn't written in reply to an advertisement, he sends an inquiry and invites the manufacturer or dealer to tell what he has. To get the highest possible proportion of sales from each hundred inquiries, requires that the correspondent be as skillful in his written salesmanship as the successful man behind the counter is with his oral canvass and his showing of the goods.

If the truth were known, it is lack of appreciation of this point that discourages most concerns trying to sell by mail, and it is the real secret of a large percentage of failures.

A clock manufacturer notified the advertising manager of one of the big magazines that he had decided to discontinue his advertising. "The inquiries we get from your magazine," he wrote, "don't pan out." The advertising manager thought he saw the reason why and he made a trip down to the factory to investigate. Reports showed that in two months his magazine had pulled over 400 inquiries, yet out of that number just seven prospects had been sold.

"Will you let me see your follow-up letters?" he asked. They were brought out, and the advertising manager almost wept when he read them. Awkward, hackneyed, blundering notes of acknowledgment, they lacked even the merest suggestion of salesmanship. They would kill rather than nourish the interest of the average prospect. He sent the set of letters up to the service bureau of his magazine and a new series of strong convincing letters, such as the clock deserved, were prepared.

On the strength of these he got the advertiser back in and the next month out of 189 inquiries, forty-six clocks were sold. Think of the actual loss that manufacturer suffered simply because he did not really appreciate that inquiries aren't sales!

Get this firmly in mind and then get the proper attitude toward the inquirer. There is a big difference between the original sales letter and the answer to the inquiry. You haven't got to win his interest now. You've got that. But you have got to hold it and develop it to the buying point. Your man has asked you something; has given you the chance to state your case. Now state it in the most complete, convincing way you know how.

Dear Sir:

We are pleased to receive your request for "Wilson's Accounting Methods," and a copy goes forward by today's mail. Do not fail to notify us if it fails to reach you within a day of the receipt of this letter.

Your attention is particularly called to the descriptive matter on pages 3 to 9, inclusive. We are confident that among the forty stock record forms there illustrated and described you will find a number that will save time and labor in your office. You will see that our stock forms are carried in two sizes—3 by 6-1/4 inches and 5 by 8 inches, the smaller size being furnished at $2 a thousand and the larger size at $2.50 a thousand, assorted as you desire.

Should you desire special forms to meet your individual requirements, we can furnish them to order, printed from your copy, on one side of linen-bond stock—your choice of five colors—at $3.50 a thousand.

On pages 116 to 139 you will find complete descriptions and order blanks of our special introductory outfits, ranging in price from $1 to $22.

We make these attractive offers to enable our customers to select outfits that can be installed at a very small cost, and we ship any of our stock outfits with the distinct understanding that if they are not entirely satisfactory they may be returned to us at our expense.

Under the liberal conditions we make, you incur no risk in placing an order, and we trust that we may be favored with one from you right away. By purchasing direct from us—the manufacturers—you eliminate all middleman's profits and are sure to get proper service.

Let us hear from you.

Very truly yours, [Signature: Anderson & Anderson]

* * * * *

A letter that sums up well the principal features of the goods described in detail in the catalogue and the strong points of the manufacturer's plan of selling. The letter is closely linked with the catalogue. Such a letter as this is a strong support to the catalogue

* * * * *

A good way to get at this is to put yourself once more in the other man's place. What do you like to get when you answer an advertisement? And how do you like to get it? First of all you like a prompt answer.

"I have had some experiences lately," says one business man, "that have made me feel that promptness and careful attention to all of a correspondent's requests are fully as important as the literary part of business correspondence. I am interested in an enterprise in which material of various kinds will be used—sample jars, mailing cases, and so forth. I have been writing to manufacturers in the effort to get samples and prices.

"In several cases it really seemed to me as if the manufacturer was trying to test my patience by waiting from three days to a week before answering my letter. Several of them forgot to send the samples they referred to in their letters. In other cases the matter of samples was overlooked for a few days after the letter was written or the samples were ordered forwarded from a distant factory without any explanation to me that the samples would be a few days late in arriving. In still other instances references were made to prices and sizes that were not clear, thus necessitating another letter and a further delay of a week or ten days.

"As I had to have all the material before I could proceed with any of it, one man's delay tied up the whole job.

"Really when one has a chance to see the dowdy, indifferent way in which a great many business concerns take care of inquiries and prospective customers, the wonder is that there are so many successes and not more failures.

"How refreshing it is to get a reply by return mail from an enterprising man who is careful to label every sample and to give you all the necessary information in complete form and to write in such a way as to make you feel you are going to get prompt, careful service if your order is placed with him. It is a pleasure to send business his way, and we do it, too, whenever we can."

It is easy enough to look out for these things when a regular method is adopted. With a catalogue before him, the correspondent should dictate a memorandum, showing what samples or enclosures are to be sent and how each is to be marked. By referring to the memorandum, as he dictates, the references will be clear.

Cherish both carefulness and promptness. You don't know what you sometimes lose by being a day late. An inquirer often writes to several different concerns. Some other correspondent replies by return mail, and the order may be closed before your belated letter gets in its work, particularly if the inquirer is in a hurry—as inquirers sometimes are. You may never learn why you lost the order.

When you cannot give full attention to the request immediately, at least write the inquirer and tell how you will reply fully in a day or so or whenever you can. If you can truthfully say so, tell him that you have just what he wants and ask him to wait to get your full information before placing his order. In this way you may hold the matter open.

Dear Sir:

Replying to your esteemed favor of recent date would say that we have noted your request for a sample of Royal Mixture and that same has been forwarded.

This tobacco is absolutely without question the finest smoking tobacco on the market today. This statement will be substantiated by tens of thousands of smokers.

We hope to receive your valued order at an early date and remain

Truly yours, [Signature: Brown & Co.]

* * * * *

The first paragraph of this letter is so hackneyed that it takes away all personality, and there is nothing in the second paragraph to build up a picture in the reader's mind of an enjoyable tobacco

* * * * *

Now as to the style and contents of your letter, here's one thing that goes a long way. Be cheerful. Start your letter by acknowledging his inquiry as though you were glad to get it. "Yours of the 15th received and contents noted," doesn't mean anything. But how about this: "I was glad to find on my desk this morning your letter of the 15th inquiring about the new model Marlin." There's a personal touch and good will in that. A correspondence school answers a prospective student's inquiry like this: "I really believe that your letter of the 6th, which came to me this morning, will prove to be the most important letter that you ever wrote." An opening such as this clinches the man's interest again and carries him straight through to the end. Don't miss an opportunity to score on the start.

Dear Sir:

Your order for a sample pouch of Royal Mixture is greatly appreciated. The tobacco was mailed to-day.

To appreciate the difference between Royal Mixture and the "others," just put a little of it on a sheet of white paper by the side of a pinch from a package of any other smoking tobacco manufactured. You won't need a microscope to see the difference in quality. Smoke a pipeful and you will quickly notice how different in mellowness, richness and natural flavor Royal Mixture is from the store-bought kind.

If you are not enthusiastic over its excellence I shall feel greatly disappointed. So many discriminating pipe smokers in all sections are praising it that it makes me believe that in "The Aristocrat of Smoking Tobacco" I have produced an article that is in fact the best tobacco money can buy.

Royal Mixture is all pure tobacco, and the cleanest, best-cured and finest leaf that the famous Piedmont section of North Carolina can produce. The quality is there, and will be kept as long as it is offered for sale. Depend upon that.

The more you smoke Royal Mixture the better you'll like it. This is not true of the fancy-named mixtures which owe their short-lived popularity to pretty labels, fancy tin boxes and doctored flavors. I give you quality in the tobacco instead of making you pay for a gold label and tin box.

The only way to get it is by ordering from me. Royal Mixture goes right from factory to your pipe—you get it direct, and know you are getting it just right, moist and fresh.

Right now, TO-DAY, is the time to order. A supply of Royal Mixture costs so little and means so much in pipe satisfaction that every hour of delay is a loss to you. It's too good to do without. Money refunded promptly if you are not satisfied!

If it is not asking too much of you, I would like to hear within a day or two just how the tobacco suits you. Will you not write me about it? Be critical, as I desire your candid opinion.

Respectfully yours, [Signature: Wallace E. Lee]

* * * * *

The letter is here rewritten, making it interesting from the first line to the last. It makes one feel that Royal Mixture is something unusually good

* * * * *

Second, be sure you answer the inquiry—every point in it. You know how provoked you are when you ask a question and the correspondent in replying fails to answer. Be sure you answer all the questions of the inquiries you handle. Give letters a final reading, to be sure. It is often advisable to quote the inquirer's questions or to use side-heads so he will understand you refer to the questions he asked.

For example, suppose a real estate agent receives an inquiry about a farm. The inquiry can be clearly answered by adopting a style like this:

We are very glad to give you details about the Abbott farm in Prescott County.

LOCATION.—This farm is on the macadam road between Frederick and Whittsville, three miles from Frederick. There is a flag station on the D. & L. railroad one and a quarter miles from the farm gate on the macadam road.

TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES.—There are six trains a day on the D. & L. road that will stop at the flag station mentioned. These trains give a four-hour service to Baltimore.

* * * * *

This style of letter is a great aid to the writer in bringing related points together and thus strengthening description and argument.

If the inquiry involves the sending of a catalogue, hook the letter and the enclosure together by specific references. It adds immensely to the completeness of your letter. And don't be afraid to repeat. No matter what is in the catalogue or booklet that is sent along with the letter, the letter should review concisely some of the most important points. The average person will pay closer attention to what is said in the letter than to what appears in the catalogue. The letter looks more personal. For example:

On page 18 you will see described more fully the cedar chest that we advertise in the magazines. Pages 20 to 28 describe higher-priced chests. All these chests are of perfect workmanship and have the handsome dull egg-shell finish. The higher-priced models have the copper bands and the big-headed nails. Use the order blank that appears on page 32 of the catalogue, and be sure to read the directions for ordering that appear on page 30.

* * * * *

These descriptions and references tie the letters strongly to the enclosures and thus unify the entire canvass.

The woman who gets a letter telling her that the refrigerator she inquired about is described and illustrated on page 40 of the catalogue sent under separate cover, and then reads some quoted expressions from people in her town or state who have bought these refrigerators, is more likely to order than if a letter is sent, telling her merely that the catalogue has been mailed under separate cover; that it gives a complete description but that any special information will be given on request. The first method of replying makes it appear that the correspondent is enthusiastic about his refrigerators and really wants to sell the inquirer one. The second method is cold and indifferent. If your goods permit the sending of samples by all means enclose some with the letter. They permit the actual handling of the article, which is so great an advantage in selling over the counter. And then insure attention. No man, for example, will throw away a haberdasher's letter referring to spring shirts if samples are enclosed. The samples will get some attention, though the one who received them may not need shirts at the time.

Samples also give an opportunity to emphasize value. For instance, it is a good plan to say: "Take these samples of outings to your local store and see if you can get anything at $25 that is half as good as what we are offering you." The fact is, few people make such comparisons, but the invitation to compare is evidence of the advertiser's confidence. For that matter, few people ask for refund of money on honest merchandise, provided the refund is limited to a brief period; but the promise of instant refund when unsatisfactory goods are returned, is a great confidence-creator.

It is not always possible for one correspondent to handle the entire inquiry. In that case it is well to let the answer indicate the care exercised in preparing it.

A part of a letter may sometimes advantageously refer to some other correspondent who can deal more thoroughly with a technical matter under discussion. A large mail-order concern employs a man who can tell customers in a tactful way just how to make coffee and tea, and he makes satisfied customers out of many who otherwise would believe that they had received inferior goods. This same man is also an expert in adjusting by letter any troubles that may arise over the company's premium clocks, and so forth.

Unless such technical matters are extensive enough to require a separate letter, they can be introduced into other communications by merely saying:

"On reading what you have written about the engine, our expert has this to say:"

* * * * *

Dear Sir:

Your esteemed inquiry has been received, and we are sending you one of our booklets.

In case none of the samples suit you, let us know what colors you like and we will send more samples.

We can save you money on trousers. A great many of the best dressers of New York and Chicago are wearing trousers made by us.

You run no risk in ordering, for if the trousers are not as I represent them or do not fit you, we will correct the mistake or refund your money.

We urge you to order immediately, as we may not have in stock the patterns you prefer.

Trusting to receive your order at an early date.

Truly yours. [Signature: Edward Brown]

* * * * *

This letter starts out with a hackneyed opening and not enough emphasis is put on the samples. It is a mistake to make the suggestion that the samples sent may be unsuitable. The third paragraph starts out with an assertion unbacked by proof and the second sentence is a silly boast that no one believes. A man does not pay his tailor the full price until the trousers are completed. It is a weak selling plan to try to persuade a stranger to send the entire price to an advertiser whom he knows nothing about. The plea for an immediate order on the ground that the pattern may not be in stock later is a weak and unfortunate method of argument. The final paragraph is as hackneyed as the first, and fails to impress the reader

* * * * *

Dear Sir:

Here you are! This mail will bring you a sample book containing some of the neatest trousers patterns you have seen in a long time. Tear off a strand from any of them and hold a match to it; if it doesn't "burn wool" the laugh is on me.

You may wonder why I can undersell your local dealer and yet turn out trousers that "make good." Certain conditions, of which I shall tell you, make this possible.

In the first place, trousers are my specialty. Other tailors want suit orders above all, but I have built up my business by specializing on trousers alone.

I buy my fabrics from the manufacturers in large quantities at wholesale prices. The saving—the money that represents your retailer's profit—comes to you.

I don't need an uptown "diamond-front" store, with an exorbitant rental. Instead, I employ the best tailors I can find.

The trousers I make are built, not shaped, to fit you. We don't press them into shape with a "goose," either. All our fabrics are shrunk before we cut them at all. Sewn throughout with silk, the seams will not rip or give. And style—why, you will be surprised to see that trousers could have so much individuality.

I could not afford to sell just one pair of trousers to each man at these prices. It costs me something to reach you—to get your first order. You will order your second pair just as naturally as you would call for your favorite cigar.

I am enclosing three samples of $6 London woolens. These have just come in—too late to place in the sample book. Aren't they beauties?

Please don't forget that I guarantee to please you or to return your money cheerfully. I ask for the $1 with order only to protect myself against triflers.

May I look for an early order?

Yours, for high-grade trousers. [Signature: Chas R. Greene]

* * * * *

An interesting beginning, inviting proof of quality. Facts show why low prices can be quoted, followed by graphic description and logical argument. The samples give point to the letter and the plain, fair selling plan makes an effective ending

* * * * *

Then again, make your letter clear. Good descriptions are just as important in answers to inquiries as in letters that have the task of both developing interest and closing a sale. All that has been said in previous chapters as to the value of graphic descriptions and methods of writing them applies with full force to this chapter. The letter that is a reply to an inquiry can properly give more detailed and specialized description than a letter that is not a reply to an inquiry, for in writing to one who has inquired the correspondent knows that the reader of the letter is interested and will give attention to details if they are given clearly and attractively. Generally speaking, a sales letter that is in response to an inquiry should make it unnecessary for the reader to ask a second time for information before reaching a decision.

And this leads to one big important point: do your best to close the sale in this first reply. Don't leave loop holes and uncertainties that encourage further correspondence. Give your letter an air of finality. Lay down a definite buying proposition and then make it easy for your man to accept it.

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Guarantees, definite proposals, suggestions to use "the enclosed order blank," are important factors in effective closing paragraphs. Don't put too much stress on the fact that you want to give more information. Many correspondents actually encourage the inquirer to write again and ask for more information before ordering. Try to get the order—not a lot of new questions.

Experiments show that the interest of an inquirer wanes rapidly after the receipt of the first response. In replying to inquiries, the chance of securing a sale with a third letter is much less than the chance with the first, for after receiving the first letter, if it is unconvincing, the inquirer is likely to come to an adverse decision that cannot afterwards be easily changed. In this respect, answers to inquirers are much like unsolicited letters sent out to non-inquirers and planned to create and build up interest. In a number of lines of business the third letter sent out in response to an inquiry barely pays for itself. For this reason, it is usually poor policy in handling this class of business to withhold some strong argument from the first letter in order to save it for the second or the third. Better fire the 13-inch gun as soon as you have the range.

If the first answer fails to land the order, the advertiser may follow up with an easier plan of payment, a smaller lot of the goods, or make some other such inducement. Not all goods admit of offering small lots, but when this can be done, the argument may be made that there is no profit in such small orders, that the offer is only made to convince the inquirer of quality.

Some very successful correspondents close in the direct-command style: "Don't delay; send your order NOW." "Sit right down and let us have your order before you forget it." "It isn't necessary to write a letter; just write across the face of this letter 'I accept this trial offer', sign your name and send the sheet back to us in the enclosed envelope." Such closing sentences are strong, because the reader is influenced to act immediately, and the loss that usually comes about by reason of people putting things off and forgetting is reduced. The third example is particularly good because it eliminates letter-writing, which is a task to many and something that is often put off until the matter is forgotten.

Other correspondents, instead of using the direct command style, close in this way: "We are having a big sale on these porch chairs. If you order immediately we can supply you, but we cannot promise to do so if you wait." "We know that if you place your order you will be more than well pleased with your investment."

If prices are to be increased on the goods offered, the correspondent has a first-class opportunity to urge an immediate response: "There is just two weeks' time in which you can buy this machine at $25. So you can save $5 by acting immediately."

Experience shows that the increased-price argument is a good closer.

In the final sentences of the letter should be mentioned the premium or the discount that is given when the order is received before a certain date. These offers are effective closers in many cases. In making them it is well to say "provided your order is placed in the mails not later than the 10th," for such a date puts all on the same footing no matter how distant they are from the advertiser.

Finally, don't overlook the opportunity to make even the signature to your letter contribute something.

Firm signatures are rather lacking in personality. "Smith & Brown Clock Co." hasn't much "pull" to it. But when the pen-written name of Albert E. Brown appears under this signature the letter has much more of the personal appeal. For this reason, many concerns follow the practice of having some one put a personal signature under the firm name. It is not desirable, of course, to have mail come addressed to individuals connected with the firm, but this can be avoided by having return envelopes, addressed to the firm, in every letter. In fact, a little slip may be enclosed reading: "No matter to whom you address an order or letter always address the envelope to the firm. This insures prompt attention."

At least one large clothing concern has found it profitable to let its letters go out over such signatures as "Alice Farrar, for BROWN & CO." Those to whom Miss Farrar writes are informed that the inquiry has been turned over to her for personal attention—that she attends to all requests from that inquirer's section and will do her best to please, and so on.

When methods of this kind are followed and it becomes necessary—because of the absence of the correspondent addressed—for some one else to answer a letter, it is well to say. "In the absence of Miss Farrar, I am answering your letter." Never let an inquirer feel that the one he addresses is too busy to attend to his wants or is not interested enough to reply. When the busiest presidemt of a business concern turns over to some one else a letter intended for the president's personal reading, the correspondent should say, "President Parkins, after reading your letter, requests me to say for him," and so on.

These little touches of personality and courtesy are never lost. They create a cumulative business asset of enormous value.

What to ENCLOSE With Sales Letters


Sales have been made—and lost—by the printed matter enclosed with business correspondence. A mere mass of folders, cards and bric-a-brac is in itself not impressive to the "prospect'" unless each item backs up a statement in the letter and has a direct bearing on the sale

Enclosures may be classified thus: FIRST, catalogues, price lists and detailed descriptive matter—to inform the prospect of the goods; SECOND, testimonials and guarantees—to prove the claims made for the goods; THIRD, return postals, addressed envelopes and order blanks—to make it easy for the prospect to buy the goods

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The enclosure is to the letter what the supporting army is to the line of attack. It stands just behind the men at the front, ready to strengthen a point here, reinforce the line there, overwhelm opposition finally with strength and numbers.

A clever sales letter may make the proper impression, it may have all the elements necessary to close the sale, but it is asking too much to expect it to handle the whole situation alone.

The average prospect wants more than he finds in a letter before he will lay down his money. The very fact that a letter comes alone may arouse his suspicions. But if he finds it backed up by accompanying enclosures that take things up where the letter leaves off, answer his mental inquiries and pile up proof, the proposition is more certain to receive consideration.

The whole principle of right use of enclosures is a matter of foreseeing what your man will want to know about your proposition and then giving it to him in clear convincing form and liberal measure. But enclosures must be as carefully planned as the letter itself. They are calculated to play a definite part, accomplish a definite end and the study of their effect is just as vital as the study of step-by-step progress of letter salesmanship.

Some letter writers seem to think that the only essential in enclosures is numbers and they stuff the envelope full of miscellaneous folders, booklets and other printed matter that does little more than bewilder the man who gets it. Others make the mistake of not putting anything in with the letter to help the prospect buy. Neither mistake is excusable, if the writer will only analyze his proposition and his prospect, consider what the man at the other end will want to know—then give him that—and more.

And in order to live up to this cardinal rule of enclosures, simply confine your letter to one article. Seven of the best letter writers in the country have made exhaustive tests with descriptive folders. They have found that one descriptive circular, with one point, and one idea pulls where the multiplicity of enclosures simply bewilders and prejudices the reader. These men have conclusively proved that overloaded envelopes do not bring results.

In general the enclosure has three purposes: first, to give the prospect a more complete and detailed description of your goods; second to give him proof in plenty of their value; third, to make it easy for him to buy. On this basis let us classify the kinds of enclosures; that is, the mediums through which these three purposes may be accomplished.

The first, the detailed description, is usually given in catalogue, booklet or circular, complete in its explanation and, if possible, illustrated. Supplementing the catalogue or booklet, samples should be used whenever practicable for they help more than anything else can to visualize the goods in the prospect's eyes.

Proof is best supplied in two ways, through testimonials and guarantees; and the ways of preparing these for the prospect are endless in variety.

Third, you will make it easy to order through the use of order blanks, return cards, addressed envelopes, myriads of schemes that tempt the pen to the dotted line.

The exact form of each of these elements is not of moment here so long as it is clear to the man who receives it. The point to be made is that one enclosure representing each of these elements— description, proof, and easy ordering—should accompany the sales letter to back it up and make its attack effective.

And now to take these up one by one and see the part each plays.

When the prospect reads your letter, if it wins his interest, his first thought is "Well, this sounds good, but I want to know more about it." And right there the circular comes to his assistance—and to yours. And on this circular depends very largely whether his interest is going to grow or die a natural death. If it is to lead him toward an order it must picture to him clearly just what your proposition is and at the same time it must contain enough salesmanship to carry on the efforts of the letter.

And it is well to bear down hard on this: do not put material into your letter that properly belongs in the circular. Link your letter up with the enclosure and lead the reader to it, but do not go into lengthy descriptions in the letter. Concentrate there on getting your man interested. Do that and you may depend on his devouring the enclosures to get the details. A common mistake in this line is to place a table of prices in the body of the letter. It is simply putting the cart before the horse. Price in every sale should be mentioned last. It certainly should not be mentioned before you have convinced your prospect that he wants your article. Prices should be quoted at the erid of the descriptive folder or on a separate slip of paper.

This descriptive enclosure takes on many forms—a booklet, a circular, a folder, a simple sheet of specifications, a price list—but in all cases it is for the one purpose of reinforcing the argument made in the letter. When a proposition requires a booklet, the mistake is often made of making it so large and bulky that it cannot be enclosed with the letter. The booklet comes trailing along after the letter has been read and forgotten. Sometimes the booklet never arrives. Where possible it is much better to make the booklet of such a size that it may be enclosed in the same envelope with the letter. Then you catch the prospect when his interest is at the highest point. It is embarrassing and ineffective to refer to "our booklet, mailed to you under separate cover." Put the book with the letter. Or, if you must send the booklet under separate cover, send it first and the letter later, so that each will arrive at about the same time.

And now that you have put in a circular to help the letter, put in something to help the circular—a sample. Here you have description visualized. In more ways than one the sample is by all odds the most valuable enclosure you can use. In reality, it does more—much more than help the circular with its description, it is concrete proof, in that it demonstrates your faith in the article and your readiness to let your prospect judge it on its merits. A two by three inch square of cloth, a bit of wood to show the finish, any "chip off the block" itself speaks more eloquently than all the paper and ink your money can buy. How irresistible becomes a varnish maker's appeal when he encloses in his letters a small varnished piece of wood, on the back of which he has printed, "This maple panel has been finished with two coats of '61' Floor Varnish. Hit it with a hammer. Stamp on it. You may dent the wood, but you can't crack the varnish. This is one point where '61' varnish excels."

* * * * *


* * * * *

A manufacturer of a new composition for walls gives a more accurate idea of his product than could ever be learned from words and pictures by sending a small finished section of the board as it could be put on the wall.

A knitting mill approaches perfection in sampling when it encloses a bit of cardboard on which are mounted a dozen samples of underwear, with prices pasted to each and a tape measure attached to aid in ordering. A roofing concern has the idea when it sends little sections of its various roof coatings. And at least one carriage maker encloses samples of the materials that go into his tops and seat covers.

Most unique samples are enclosed and because of their very novelty create additional interest in a proposition. A real estate company selling Florida lands enclosed a little envelope of the soil taken from its property. To the farmer this little sample has an appeal that no amount of printed matter could equal.

A company manufacturing cement has called attention to its product by making small cement souvenirs such as paper weights, levels, pen trays, and so forth, sending them out in the same enclosure with the letter or in a separate package.

One manufacturer of business envelopes encloses with his letter his various grades of paper, made up into envelopes, each bearing the name of some representative concern that has used that particular grade. Then in the lower corner of the envelope is stamped the grade, weight, price and necessary points that must be mentioned in purchasing. The various envelopes are of different sizes. On the back of each envelope is a blank form in which the purchaser can designate the printed matter wanted, and underneath, in small letters, the directions, "Write in this form the printed matter you demand; pin your check to the envelope and mail to us."

Thus this one enclosure serves a number of purposes. First, it carries a testimonial of the strongest kind by bearing the names of prominent concerns that have used it; then, it is an actual sample of the goods; and lastly, it serves the purpose of an order blank.

Even a firm which sells a service instead of a product can effectively make use of the sample principle. One successful correspondence school encloses with each answer to an inquiry a miniature reproduction of the diploma that it gives its graduates. While the course itself is what the student buys, unquestionably the inspired desire to possess a diploma like the one enclosed plays its part in inducing him to enroll.

A New York trust company gets the same effect by sending the prospective investor a specimen bond complete to the coupons which show exactly how much each is worth on definite dates through several succeeding years. Here again the specimen bond is not actually the thing he buys but it is a facsimile and an excellent one in that it puts in concrete form an abstract article.

Possibly it is inadvisable to include a sample. Then a picture of the article accomplishes the purpose. A grocer who writes his customers whenever he has some new brand of food product, always includes in his letter a post card with a full tinted picture of the article. For instance, with a new brand of olives he encloses a picture of the bottled olives, tinted to exactly represent the actual bottle and its contents, and underneath he prints the terse statement "Delicious, Tempting, Nutricious." If his letter has not persuaded the housewife to try a bottle of the olives, the picture on the enclosure is apt to create the desire in her mind and lead to a purchase.

An automobile dealer who knows the value of showing the man he writes a detailed picture of the machine, includes an actual photograph. Even the reproduction of the photograph is insufficient to serve his purpose. The photograph is taken with the idea of showing graphically the strongest feature of the machine as a selling argument, and illustrating to the smallest detail the sales point in his letter. Then, with pen and ink, he marks a cross on various mechanical parts of engine, body or running gear, and refers to them in his letter.

To carry the photograph enclosure a step farther, one dealer of automobile trucks illustrates the idea of efficiency. He encloses with his letter a photograph of his truck fully loaded. In another photograph he shows the same truck climbing a heavy grade. Then in his letter he says, "Just see for yourself what this truck will do. Estimate the weight of the load and then figure how many horses it would take to handle an equal load on a similar grade."

In the sale of furniture, especially, is the actual photograph enclosed with the letter a convincing argument. Fine carriages, hearses, and other high-grade vehicles are forcibly illustrated by photographs, and no other enclosure or written description is equally effective.

After description and visualizing—through the medium of circular and sample—comes proof, and this you may demonstrate through any means that affords convincing evidence of worth. The two best are testimonials and guarantees, but the effectiveness of either depends largely on the form in which you present them. Testimonials are often dry and uninteresting in themselves, yet rightly played up to emphasize specific points of merit they are powerful in value. The impression of their genuineness is increased a hundredfold if they are reproduced exactly as they are received.

An eastern manufacturer has helped the prestige of his cedar chests tremendously with the testimonials he has received from buyers.

Letters from the wives of presidents, from prominent bankers and men in the public eye he has reproduced in miniature, and two or three of these are enclosed with every sales letter.

An office appliance firm with a wealth of good testimonials to draw on sends each prospect letters of endorsement from others in his particular line of business. A correspondence school strengthens its appeal by having a number of booklets of testimonials each containing letters from students in a certain section of the country. The inquirer thus gets a hundred or more letters from students near his own home, some of whom he may even know personally.

A variation of the testimonial enclosure is the list of satisfied users. Such a list always carries weight, especially if the firms or individuals named are prominerit. A trunk manufacturer, who issues a "trunk insurance certificate" to each customer, reproduces a score or more of these made out to well known men and submits them as proof of his product's popularity.

Another effective form of enclosure is a list of buyers since a recent date. One large electrical apparatus concern follows up its customers every thirty days, each time enclosing a list of important sales made since the previous report.

Another plan is that of a firm manufacturing printing presses. In making up its lists of sales it prints in one column the number of "Wellington" presses the purchaser already had in use and the number of new ones he has ordered. The names of the great printing houses are so well known to the trade that it is tremendously effective to read that Blank, previously operating ten Wellingtons, has just ordered three more.

Second only to the testimony of the man who buys is the guarantee of the seller. Mail-order houses are coming more and more to see the value of the "money-back" privilege. It is the one big factor that has put mail sales on a par with the deal across the counter. Time was when sellers by mail merely hinted at a guarantee somewhere in their letter or circular and trusted that the prospect would overlook it. But it is often the winner of orders now and concerns are emphasizing this faith in their own goods by issuing a guarantee in certificate form and using it as an enclosure.

A roofing concern forces its guarantee on the prospect's attention by giving it a legal aspect, printing in facsimile signatures of the president and other officials—and stamping the company's name. Across the face of this guarantee is printed in red ink, the word "Specimen." Along the lower margin is printed, "This is the kind of a real guarantee we give you with each purchase of one of our stoves." A mail-order clothing firm sends a duplicate tag on which their guarantee is printed. Across the tag of this sample guarantee is printed in red, "This guarantee comes tagged to your garment."

The prospect who finds proof like this backing up a letter is forced to feel the worth-whileness of your goods or your proposition, and he draws forth his money with no sense of fear that he is chancing loss.

The number and kind of enclosures you will put into your letter is entirely up to you. But before you allow a letter to go out, dig under the surface of each circular and see whether it really strengthens your case.

Apply this test; is the letter supported with amplified description, proof, materials for ordering? If it is, it is ready for the attack. You may find it best to put your description, your testimonials, your guarantee and your price list all in one circular. It is not a mistake to do so. But whether they are all in one enclosure or in separate pieces, they should be there. And in addition, put in your return card order blank or envelope or whatever will serve best to bring the order. When your letter with its aids is complete, consistent, equipped to get the order then, and only then, let it go into the mails.

Bringing In New Business By POST CARD


Methods of soliciting trade by mail are not confined to the letter or printed circular. The postal regulations are sufficiently broad to allow a generous leeway in the size and shape of communications that may be sent by mail, and as a result, a new field of salesmanship has been opened by the postal card. Folders, return- postals and mailing cards have become part of the regular ammunition of the modern salesman, who has adapted them to his varied requirements in ways that bring his goods before me "prospect" with an emphasis that the letter often lacks—and sometimes at half the cost

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The result-getting business man is always asking the reason why. He demands that a method, especially a selling plan, be basically right; that it have a principle behind it and that it stand the microscope of analysis and the test of trial.

There are three reasons why the postal card is a business-getter.

Did you ever pause while writing a letter, sit back in your chair, and deplore the poverty of mere words? Did you ever wish you dared to put in a little picture just at that point to show your man what you were trying to say? Of course you have if you have ever written a letter. That is reason one.

Did you ever watch a busy man going through his morning's mail? Long letters he may read, short letters he is sure to glance through, but a post card he is certain to read. It is easy to read, it is to a degree informal and it is brother to a call on the 'phone. That is reason two.

And the third reason is that no matter what the principles behind it, by actual test it brings the business.

While primarily the postal mailing card is intended to aid the letter in many ways it does what the letter can never do. It can carry a design or an illustration without the least suggestion of effrontery, which a letter can not do without losing dignity. It can venture into clever schemes to cinch the interest. It is the acme of simplicity as means to win an inquiry. And withal it does its work at less cost than the letters.

In general postal mailing cards may be classed as of three types:

1. THE DOUBLE OR RETURN POST CARD. This consists simply of two ordinary post cards attached for convenience in mailing, sometimes closed at the loose edges by stickers but usually left open. The one carries the inquiry-seeking message; the other is for the reply. It is already addressed for returning and contains on the opposite side a standardized reply form to be signed.

2. The two or three or four FOLDER MAILING CARD. This gives greater space and opportunity for cleverness of appeal through design. The third or fourth fold may or may not be prepared for use as a reply card. Instead of providing for the reply in this way, some of these folders hold a separate card by means of corner slots. In any case they fold to the size of the ordinary postal and are held by a stamp or sticker.

3. ILLUSTRATED PERSONAL LETTERS. These are in effect simply letters printed on heavier stock which fold into post card size. Their advantage lies in the opportunity for illustration and an outside design or catch phrase to win attention. In some cases they are even filled in exactly in the manner of a form letter.

Which of these forms is best suited to your uses is a matter which the nature of your proposition and your method of selling must determine. Whether you want to tell a long story or a short one, whether you want it to serve merely as a reminder or as your principal means of attack, these and other points must guide you. So to help you determine this, it is best to consider the post card here on the basis of its uses. There are four:

1. To get inquiries.

2. To sell goods; to complete the transaction and get the order just as a letter would.

3. To cooperate with the dealer in bringing trade to his store.

4. To cooperate with the salesman in his work on dealer or consumer.

Inquiries may be inspired in two ways—either by using a very brief double card or folder which tells just enough to prompt a desire for more information or by a post card "letter" series which works largely on the lines of letters enclosed in envelopes. In the first instance the card or folder resorts to direct pertinent queries or suggestions of help that impel the reader to seek more details.

An addressing machine manufacturer, for instance, sends his "prospects" a double folder with a return post card attached This message is little more than suggestive:

"Do you know that there is one girl in your addressing room who can do the work of ten if you will let her? All she needs is a Regal to help her. Give her that and you can cut nine names from your pay roll today. Does that sound like good business? Then let us tell you all about it. Just mail the card attached. It puts you under not the slightest obligation. It simply enables us to show you how to save some of your good dollars."

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Such a card is virtually an inquiry-seeking advertisement done into post card form to insure reaching the individual. And for this reason it may be well to carry a design or illustration just as an advertisement would. A life insurance company has made good use of a post card folder, building it up around its selling point of low cost. The outside bears a picture of a cigar and the striking attention-getter "At the cost of Your Daily Smoke—" the sentence is continued on the inside"—you can provide comfort for your family after you are gone, through a policy." Then follows enough sales talk to interest the prospect to the point of urging him to tear off and send the return card for full information.

Many propositions can be exploited in this way. In other instances a much more complete statement must be made to elicit a reply. Here the illustrated personal letter comes into use. And it is significant that in a number of specific cases these letters in post card form have been far more productive of inquiries than ordinary letters on the same proposition. Their unique form, the accompanying illustrations, by their very contrast in method of approach, prompt a reading that the letter does not get.

Postal mailing cards may be used in two ways—either as a campaign in themselves or as steps in a follow-up series. They are especially good when your selling plan permits of goods being sent on approval or a free trial basis. Then you can say, "Simply drop the attached order card in the mail box and the goods will come to you by first express."

A publishing house has sold thousands of low priced books on this basis, using merely a double post card. One section carries to the prospect an appealing description of the book and emphasizes the liberality of the offer. The return card bears a picture of the book itself and a clearly worded order, running something like this, "I will look at this book if you will send it charges prepaid. If I like it, I am to remit $1.00 within five days. If not, I am to return it at your expense." There can be no misunderstanding here. The simplicity of the card scheme itself appeals to prospects and brings back a big percentage of orders.

A variation of the use of the postal as a direct sales medium is the employment of it to secure bank savings accounts.

A banking house in Chicago sent out folders to a large mailing list of property holders and renters in all parts of the city. As a special inducement to establishing savings accounts, this house offered each person, who returned an attached card, a small metal savings bank free, which could be kept in the home for the reception of dimes and nickels until filled—this small bank to be returned at intervals to the bank for the establishment of a permanent savings account. On the return card enclosed was a promise to send to the inquirer's home one of those small banks absolutely without cost to the receiver. Here the simplicity of the scheme and method of proposing it again brought large returns.

One manufacturer of dental cream sends out free samples upon request. The tube is wrapped in pasteboard, which proves to be a post card ready for signature and stamp—inviting the recipient to suggest the names of friends to whom samples can be sent. Some concerns offer to send a free sample if names are sent in but this firm has achieved better results by sending the sample to all who ask and then diplomatically inviting them to reciprocate by furnishing the names of their friends.

Several large hotels have found valuable advertising in post cards that are distributed by their guests. These cards are left on the writing tables with an invitation to "mail one to some friend."

A St. Louis restaurant keeps a stack of post cards on the cashier's desk. They are printed in three colors and give views of the restaurant, emphasizing its cleanliness and excellent service. Every month hundreds of these are mailed out by pleased customers and as a result the restaurant has built up a very large patronage of visitors—people from out of the city who are only too glad to go to some place that has been recommended to them.

A most unusual use of post cards appeared in a St. Louis street car. A prominent bondseller had arranged an attractive street car placard, discussing briefly the subject of bonds for investment purposes. In one corner of this placard was a wire-stitched pad of post cards, one of which passengers were invited to pull off. The card was mailable to the bondseller, and requested a copy of his textbook for investors. The prospect who sent the card was of course put upon the follow-up list and solicited for business. Here, again, the uniqueness appeals to the public.

As a cooperator with a letter follow-up, the card or folder is effective, because it introduces variety into the series, sometimes furnishing just the touch or twist that wins the order.

In the follow-up series the double folder becomes especially adaptable, because of its simplicity. It usually refers to previous correspondence. For example, one suggests: "You evidently mislaid our recent letter. Since its message is of such vital interest to your business—" The remainder of the message is given up to driving home a few of the fundamental points brought out in the previous letters. Simple directions for filling out an attached return card are added.

One double post card, used as a cooperator with a follow-up, calls attention to a sample previously mailed, asking a careful comparison of the grade of material and closes with a special inducement to replies in the form of a discount for five days.

Return cards, employing the absolute guarantee to insure confidence of fair dealing give clinching power. Here is a sample:

Gentlemen:—Please send me a _ case for trial. It is clearly understood in signing this order that the shipment comes to me all charges prepaid and with your guarantee that you will promptly cancel the order, in case I am in any way dissatisfied.

* * * * * * *

A space is left at the bottom of the card for the person ordering to sign name and address.

Again the post card serves a similar purpose as a cooperator with the salesman. Often between calls the house makes a special inducement to sales.

Here, either double post cards or folders give the advantage of simplicity; the return card offering a powerful incentive to immediate action on the part of the customer. The return card indicates to the house that the customer is interested and a salesman is called back to handle the order.

One manufacturer, through use of the folder and card, wins a clever advantage for his salesmen. An attractive folder, with numerous illustrations, gives a fairly complete description of the firm's product. Enclosed with the folder is a return card bearing the form reply, "Dear Sirs: I am interested in ——. Please mail me a picture catalog of ——." And a space is left with directions for filling in name and address of the person replying.

These cards when received are carefully filed and from them the salesmen gauge their calls on the prospects. Here the advantage to the salesman is obvious, since his personal call assumes the nature of a favor to the prospect.

From time to time, mailing folders or double post cards, are mailed between calls of the salesman, and serve to keep the proposition warm in the mind of the prospect.

Usually the postal or folder is a valuable aid in sending trade to the dealer. One manufacturer to stimulate business by creating orders for his retailer, sent out an elaborate series of mailing cards to the retailer's customers. Enclosed with the folder were leaflets giving special features in the stock, which added value to the sales letter. Handsomely engraved cards guaranteeing the material were also enclosed as a suggestion that the customer call on the retailer and the retailer's private business card was inserted.

A western coffee dealer used mailing folders on lists of consumers supplied him by retailers. Attractive designs on the outside of the folder create interest and put the consumer's mind in a receptive condition for considering the sales arguments embodied in the personal letter feature of the folder.

A manufacturer of a contrivance for applying special paints builds an approach for the dealer's salesman with postal folders. The design on the outside of the folder indicates the simplicity with which the appliance may be operated. The sales letter inside gives minute directions for using the machine and calls attention to particular features by reference to the demonstration on the outside. As an entering wedge to orders, the letter offers a free trial and suggests that a salesman make a practical demonstration.

The manufacturer has his dealer sign every letter and the return card enclosed gives only the address of the dealer.

A varnish concern sent to a large mailing list a series of illustrated letters describing the use and advantage of its products. They appealed to the consumer and built up a trade for the local dealer. Each letter contained both a return post card, addressed to the local dealer and a small pamphlet showing various grades of the varnish. The result of this follow-up system was twenty-five per cent more replies than the same number of envelope letters.

One of the most successful campaigns ever conducted to introduce a new cigarette depended entirely upon postal letters. A series of five or six of these—well nigh masterpieces of sales talk—created the desire to try the product. Enclosed with each folder was a card bearing a picture of the distinctive box in which the cigarettes were sold, so that the prospect could recognize it in the dealer's store.

In another instance a book publisher created a demand for a new novel by mailing a series of single post cards bearing illustrations from the book. In this case the element of mystery was employed and the real purpose of the cards was not divulged until five or six had been sent and the book was ready to go on sale.

Whatever variety of card, folder or letter you choose to use, these features you should carefully observe: the style of writing and the design and mechanical make-up.

The effectiveness of the mailing folder must depend upon the combination—ideas of attractiveness, simplicity and careful use of the personal letter feature. It must command attention by a forceful, intelligent approach. It must stand out sharply against the monotonous sameness of the business letter.

The folder's appearance should be in accord with the class or type of men it goes to meet. Its approach should contain sincerity, purpose, and originality. Originality in shape hardly serves the purpose, because of the ridicule unusual shapes may give the proposition. The originality should be in the illustrations or catch phrases.

This illustrative feature is all important because it virtually plays the part of the initial paragraph of the letter—it makes the point of contact and gets the attention. It corresponds to the illustrated headline of the advertisement. No rules can be laid down for it as it is a matter for individual treatment.

Colors that create a proper condition of mind through psychological effect must be taken into consideration in the attention-getting feature of the folder. There are certain color schemes which are known to create a particularly appropriate condition of mind. For instance, where quick action is wanted, a flaring color is effective. Where pure sales arguments count most in stating a proposition, blacks and whites have been found the most adequate. Soothing colors, such as soft browns and blues, have been found to appeal to the senses and serve to insure additional interest through a pleasant frame of mind.

The right impression once gained, the style of the reading matter must make the most of it. Many have hesitated to use the postal or folder because they fear for a certain loss, through lack of dignity, where the proposition demands an especially high-class approach. But to some folders, especially of the letter variety now in use, no such criticism could possibly be offered. Really fine samples of these letters bear outside illustrations from photographs or the work of the best artists. Their appearance outside and inside is given every possible attention to create the impression of distinct value. An appeal to the senses, as in the use of pleasing colors, is a feature of their make-up.

The personal letter inside is perfect in details of typography; it is carefully filled in with prospect's or customer's name; care is taken to see that the filling-in process matches the body of the letter and a personal signature is appended to give a more intimate appeal.

The cost of these folders, because of the high grade of reproduction and the art work, runs considerably above the usual business-getting letter of one-cent mailing. The lowest class of these folders cost approximately the same as the usual letter under two-cent mailing. Any addition of special art work increases their cost proportionately, but the expense is frequently justified.

These illustrated letters depend upon their power of suggestion, through graphic illustration and design, and upon the personal idea of the letter used for getting business. Few enclosures, other than the return card, or reminder card, for filing purposes, are used.

One physician, especially anxious of promoting a new remedy, sent out mailing folders describing his remedy and offered an absolute guarantee of results before payment. The return card enclosed with this folder was engraved with the name and address of the physician above and underneath his absolute guarantee. Because the campaign was so unusual, it produced unexpectedly large returns.

Here, as in the usual business-getting letter, careful attention is given to details. The importance of attracting attention in the first paragraph by careful expression, followed by the creating of desire in the mind of the customer or prospect and the adding of conviction—and finally, the use of reason that compels action cannot be emphasized too strongly.

A more appealing letter could scarcely be written than the following, used in the cigarette campaign previously mentioned. The outside of the folder carried an appropriate drawing by one of the best American artists and the whole folder gave an impression of the highest quality. Note the easy style, designed to catch the reader as he first opens the folder and carry him along fascinated to the end:

Dear Sir:

[Sidenote: Attention-getter; natural and effective. Explanation clear, and a desire is created through promise.]

Turn back in your mind for one minute to the best Turkish cigarette you ever smoked.

If you remember, it was not so much that the cigarette was fragrant, or that it had a particular flavor, or aroma, or mildness, that caused it to please you—it was the combination of all these qualities that made it so delicious.

This means that the perfection of that cigarette was in the blend, the combination of rare tobacco, each giving forth some one quality.

We have worked out a blend that produces a Tobacco Cigarette which satisfies our ideal at least.

We call the cigarette made of this brand PERESO. We make no secret of the kind of tobacco used—the exact proportion and how to treat the rare leaves is our secret.

To get a perfect aroma, we must take —— Tobacco: young sprigs of yellow so soft that the Turks call it "Golden Leaf."

We use —— leaves for their flavor; they have marvelous fragrance as well a delicate mildness.

[Sidenote: Giving conviction by details.]

To get each of these tidbits of Tobacco into perfect condition, so that their qualities will be at their prime when blended, is our profession. The PERESO cigarette is the result.

[Sidenote: Suggesting immediate action.]

Touch a match to a PERESO cigarette after luncheon today. You will be delighted with its exquisite aroma, its fleeting fragrance and delicate mildness.

[Sidenote: Strength in clincher lies in absolute guarantee.]

If it is not better than the best cigarette you have ever smoked, allow us the privilege of returning the fifteen cents the package cost you. The original box with the remaining cigarettes, when handed to your dealer, will bring the refund.

Will you Join us in a PERESO cigarette today?

Very truly yours. [Signature: Adams & Adams]

* * * * *

Enclosed in this folder next to the letter was a card bearing a picture of the cigarettes in their box. At the bottom of the folder, underneath the letter, was the phrase: "All good dealers—fifteen cents a package."

With the mailing card, as with the letter, guarantees, free trial offers and the like, help to strengthen the close of the proposition, win the confidence and bring back the answer.

For example, a large watch company, wishing to appeal to a class of customers who had previously been listed and whose financial standing made its proposition secure, sent out folders signed by department heads asking the privilege of mailing a watch for examination and trial. The letter, which carefully described the advantages of the watch over other watches sold at similar prices, offered this trial without any cost to the prospect, only asking that if the watch suited his needs a draft be mailed to the company. The return card in this case contained an agreement by the firm to hold the prospect in no way obligated to the company, except through purchase. Before returning the card to the company, the prospect was required to sign it, agreeing that, after a trial, either the watch or the money should be sent in.

Before you enter upon the use of mailing cards, be sure you understand the postal regulations regarding them. They are not complicated, but more than one concern has prepared elaborate folders only to be refused admittance to the mails because they did not follow specifications as to size and weight.

Postal laws require that all cards marked "Post Cards" be uniform in design and not less than three and three-fourths inches by four inches and not more than three and nine-sixteenths inches by five and nine-sixteenths inches in size. This means that all return cards, whether enclosed or attached, must be within authorized sizes to allow a first class postal rating.

Making It Easy For the PROSPECT to Answer


The mere physical effort of hunting up pen and paper by which to send in an order for SOMETHING HE REALLY WANTS, deters many a prospect from becoming a customer.

The man who sells goods by mail must overcome this natural inertia by reducing the act of sending in an order or inquiry to its very simplest terms—by making it so easy for him to reply that he acts while the desire for the goods is still upon him. Here are Eighteen Schemes for making it easy for the prospect to reply—and to reply NOW

* * * * *

There are few propositions so good that they will sell themselves. A man may walk into a store with the deliberate intention of buying a shirt, and if the clerk who waits on him is not a good salesman the customer may just as deliberately walk out of the store and go to the place across the street. Lack of attention, over-anxiety to make a quick sale, want of tact on the part of the salesman—any one of a dozen things may switch off the prospective customer although he wants what you have for sale.

Even more likely is this to happen when you are trying to sell him by mail. He probably cares little or nothing about your offer; it is necessary to interest him in the limits of a page or two and convince him that he should have the article described.

And even after his interest has been aroused and he is in a mood to reply, either with an order or a request for further information, he will be lost unless it is made easy for him to answer; unless it is almost as easy to answer as it is not to answer. A man's interest cools off rapidly; you must get his request for further information or his order before he picks up the next piece of mail.

It is a daily experience to receive a letter or a circular that interests you a little—just enough so you put the letter aside for attention "until you have more time." Instead of being taken up later, it is engulfed in the current of routine and quickly forgotten. Had the offer riveted your attention strongly enough; had the inducements to act been forceful; had the means for answering been easy, you would probably have replied at once.

Make it so easy to answer that the prospect has no good reason for delaying. Make him feel that it is to his interest in every way to act AT ONCE. Do the hard work at your end of the line; exert yourself to overcome his natural inertia and have the order blank, or the coupon or the post card already for his signature. Don't rely upon his enthusing himself over the proposition and then hunt up paper, pencil and envelope; lay everything before him and follow the argument and the persuasion with a clincher that is likely to get the order.

In making it easy to answer, there are three important elements to be observed. You must create the right mental attitude, following argument and reason with a "do it now" appeal that the reader will find it hard to get away from. Then the cost must be kept in the background, centering attention on the goods, the guarantee, and the free trial offer rather than upon the price. And finally, it is desirable to simplify the actual process—the physical effort of replying.

The whole effort is wasted if there is lacking that final appeal that convinces a man he must act immediately. Your opening may attract his attention; your arguments may convince him that he ought to have your goods; reason may be backed by persuasion that actually creates in him a desire for them, but unless there is a "do it this very minute" hook, and an "easy to accept" offer, the effort of interesting the prospect is wasted.

* * * * *


The most familiar form of inducement is a special price for a limited period, but this must be handled skillfully or it closes the gate against an effective follow-up. The time may be extended once, but even that weakens the proposition unless very cleverly worded; and to make a further cut in price prompts the prospect to wait for a still further reduction.

* * * * *






BU QTS LBS PTS OZ PKTS NO ARTICLES WANTED VALUE $ cents $ cents $ cents $ cents

* * * * *

This order sheet simplifies ordering and assures accuracy. On the reverse side are printed several special offers, to which reference may readily be made. The sheet is made to fold up like an envelope and when the gummed edges are pasted down enclosures are perfectly safe

* * * * *

On some propositions the time limit can be worked over and over again on different occasions like special store sales. A large publishing house selling an encyclopedia never varies the price but it gets out special "Christmas" offers, "Withdrawal" sale offers, "Special Summer" offers—anything for a reason to send out some new advertising matter making a different appeal. And each proposition is good only up to a certain time. The letters must be mailed and postmarked before midnight of the last day, and this time limit pulls the prospect over the dead center of indecision and gets his order. The last day usually brings in more orders than any previous week.

* * * * *


I AM INTERESTED IN _______ _________ _________ SEND ME FREE OF COST



MY NAME_______ TOWN_____ STATE __ R.F.D.___ BOX NO.__ ST. NO.__

* * * * *

This coupon, used in advertisements and in printed matter, make it extremely easy to send for information on special subjects

* * * * *


If it is desired to come right back at a prospect, some such paragraph as this is written:

"Only 46 sets left! The success of our special offer surpassed all expectations. It will be necessary to issue another edition at once. The style of binding will be changed but otherwise the two editions will be the same. As we do not carry two styles on hand, we are willing to let you have one of the 46 remaining sets at the SAME TERMS although our special offer expired Saturday night."

* * * * *

And this appeal may pull even better than the first one—provided the proposition is "on the square." It is hard to put sincerity into a letter that is not based on an absolute truth. If "Only 46 sets left" is merely a salesman's bluff when in fact there are hundreds of sets on hand, the letter will have a hollow ring.

* * * * *


* * * * *

Sincerity is the hardest thing in the world to imitate in a letter and absolute confidence is the key-stone to all mailorder selling.

There are plenty of plausible reasons for making a time limit or a special offer. A large publishing house, selling both magazines and books by mail occasionally turns the trick by a human interest appeal:

"I told the business manager that I believed I could bring our August sales up to equal those of the other months.

"He laughed at me. Always before they have fallen off about twenty per cent.

"But I am going to do it—if you'll help me."

* * * * *

Then the sales manager went on with a special offer; it was a legitimate offer which made a real inducement that proved one of the most successful the firm ever put out.


In making a special price the prospect must be given some plausible reason and sincere explanation for the reduction. A special arrangement with the manufacturer, cleaning out of stock, an introductory offer—some valid reason; and then state this reason in a frank, business-like way, making the story interesting and showing where it is to the advantage of both the prospect and yourself.

"Just to keep my men busy during the dull season I will make an extra pair of trousers at the same price ordinarily charged for a suit, on orders placed during July and August."

* * * * *

This offer sent out by a merchant tailor brought results, for he had a good reason for doing an extra service—he wanted to keep his help busied during the quiet months and the customer took advantage of the inducement.


"If you will send us the names of your friends who might be interested" and "if you will show it to your friends" are familiar devices for they present a plausible excuse for cutting a price and serve the double purpose of giving the manufacturer or merchant new names for his mailing list. "A free sample if you send us your dealer's name" is reasonably certain to call for an immediate reply from most women, for they are always interested in samples.

Making a special introductory offer on some new device or appliance is certainly a legitimate reason for cutting the price. It is an inducement, moreover, that possesses a peculiar strength for a man likes to be the first one in his vicinity or in his line of business to adopt some improved method or system.


There can be no excuse for the carelessness that makes a "special introductory price," and later in the same letter or in a follow-up calls attention to the "many satisfied users in your section." Be sure your reason is real—then it rings true and incites prompt action like this offer:

The Wright Copy Holder sells the world over for $3.00. We are certain, however, that once you see the holder actually increasing the output of your own typist you will want to equip your entire office with them. So, for a limited time only, we are going to make you an introductory price of $2.25. Send to-day for one of these holders and give it a thorough trial. Then any time within thirty days, after you have watched the holder in actual use and seen it pay for itself, in actual increased output, order as many more as you want and we will supply them to you at the same introductory price of $2.25 each. After that time we must ask the regular price.

* * * * *

This is convincing. The prospect feels that if the holder were not all right it would not be sold on such terms, for the manufacturers expect that the one holder will give such satisfaction that it will lead to the sale of many more.

"Enclose $2.25 now in any convenient form and let the holder demonstrate for itself what it can save you every day. Don't wait until tomorrow—but send your order today—right now."

* * * * *

This is the closing paragraph and if you are at all interested in copy holders it is likely you will place an order "NOW." And if you don't and if the order is not placed within ten days, the offer may be extended for two weeks and after that a "ten-day only" offer may pull forth an order.


A brokerage firm has found that a "Pre-public announcement special offer to preferred clients only" in placing stocks and bonds is a good puller. The recipient is flattered by being classed with the "preferred clients" and is not unmindful of the opportunity of getting in on the proposition before there is any public announcement.

* * * * *










* * * * *

This form of post card provides for two methods of ordering—the customer may take his choice

* * * * *

In influencing prompt action the time element and the special price are not the only "Act Now" inducements although they are the most common. A man had written to a firm that makes marine engines for prices but the first two or three letters had failed to call forth any further correspondence. So the sales manager wrote a personal letter in which the following paragraph appeared:

"In looking over our correspondence I notice that you are particularly interested in a 2-horse power engine. I have an engine of that size on hand that I think will interest you. We have just received our exhibits from the Motor Boat Shows. Among these I noticed a 2 H.P. engine and remembering your inquiry for this size engine, it occurred to me that this would make you an ideal engine for your boat."

* * * * *

This was cleverly worded, for although the company would contend that the exhibits were taken from stock, the possible buyer would feel confident that the engine exhibited at the show had been tested and tried in every way. If he were in the market at all, this would probably prove a magnet to draw an immediate reply—for it is always easy to reply if one is sufficiently interested.


This "holding one in reserve for you" has proved effective with a typewriter company:

"The factory is working to the limit these days and we are behind orders now. But we are going to hold the machine we have reserved for you a few days longer. After that we may have to use it to fill another order. Sign and send us the enclosed blank to-day and let us place the machine where it will be of real service to you. Remember it is covered by a guarantee that protects you against disappointment. If you don't like it, simply return it and back comes your money."

* * * * *

Bond brokers frequently use this same idea, writing to a customer that a block of stock or a part of an issue of bonds had been reserved for him as it represented just the particular kind of investment that he always liked—and reasons follow showing how desirable the investment really is.

In one form or another this scheme is widely used. When the order justifies the expense, a night telegram is sometimes sent stating that the machine can be held only one day more or something like that. This only is possible on special goods that cannot be readily duplicated.

In all these offers and schemes the price is kept carefully in the background. Many firms never mention the price in the letter, leaving that for the circular, folder or catalogue.


Instead of the price being emphasized, it is the free trial offer or the absolute guarantee that is held before the reader.

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