Dan Kennedy – Ultimate Sales Letter Chapter 1

  • what benefit to me justifies the cost
  • who else has done this?
  • how do i get the money to pay for it?
  • what keeps them awake at night
  • what the carrot is on the stick
  • whats the hidden benefit
  • acknowledging the flaws


address the prospects priorities in order

what benefit to me justifies the cost

who else has done this?

how do i get the money to pay for it?
what other expense has to be reduced
or what promotion or fundraising event
(fundraising event with your employees.. bowl a thon..

directly address the interests of the recipient

what keeps them awake at night

what the carrot is on the stick

industry publications
play prospect

teens, parents of teens, and young
women — to critique my copy.

investment of time and energy in
crawling inside their psyche, tribal
language, daily experiences.

Collier Principle: “Always enter the
conversation already occurring in the
customer’s mind.

”“What will your
customers be thinking about and talking
about the day they receive or see your
sales copy?

Do not arrive as an interruption
or disruption, attempting to divert your
reader’s attention from the object it is
focused on, fighting to interest him in
something different from what he is
already, at this moment, interested in.

Instead, align yourself with the subjects
already possessing his attention, the
matters already garnering his interest,
the self-talk conversation already
occurring in his mind, and the
conversations he is already having
around the water-cooler at work or at
the kitchen table at home with peers,
friends, and family.

“Study your
reader first — your product second….

The reader of your letter wants certain
things and the desire for them is,
consciously or unconsciously, the
dominant idea in his mind all the time.

He is also engaged by the news or
events or public conversations of the
day. Put yourself in his place.

If you
were deep in discussion with a friend
over some matter and a stranger came up
and said: ‘Mister, I have a fine coat I
want to sell you!’ — what would you
do? The same thing happens when you
approach a man by mail. He is in
discussion with himself. If you just butt
in, will you be welcome? How would
you do it if approaching him and his
friend in person? You’d listen and get the
trend of the conversation. Then, when
you chimed in, it would be with a
remark on a related subject. Then you
could gradually bring the talk around
logically to the point you wanted to
discuss. Study your reader. Know what
interests him. Listen to the conversation
he is already having with himself. Enter
where he already is.

”Seasons and holidays, and linking to
these — regardless of whether your
business naturally links or not — can be
extremely helpful. You need not be a
florist, jeweler, or restaurant to utilize
Valentine’s Day, for example. Beyond
that, and deeper than that, every
customer group has some shared item on
their minds. Know it. Start your
conversation with them with it.

If you’re writing a letter
to promote a service, use it yourself if
possible. Go talk to those who do use it.
Talk to people who use a competitive
service. Either way, the idea is to
list every possible feature and benefit,
then organize them by importance.

“People do not buy things for what
they are; they buy things for what
they do.

”Ted often looks
for what he calls the hidden benefit to
emphasize. This means it’s not the
obvious benefit — not the first benefit
you think of — yet one that is of
profound importance to your customer.

Even though the
attendees had paid a very high per-
person fee to be there, most had traveled
great distances, and the subject was of
critical importance to them, we both
noticed that on breaks, what most of
them were talking about was where they
were going to go play golf that evening
when the seminar let out

the headline: “Puts Recruiting on
Autopilot So You Can Go Play Golf!”it sold the system we devised for
insurance agent recruiting, but it did so
circuitously, by emphasizing the hidden
benefit: you’ll get the job done with less
time invested, so you can spend more
time on the golf course.

STEP 3: Create a Damaging
Admission and Address
Flaws Openly

By acknowledging the flaws, you
force yourself to address your letter
recipient’s questions, objections, and
concerns. You also enhance your

try to think of
every possible objection, concern, fear,
doubt, and excuse someone might use to
keep from responding.

I knew he had the financial
ability to buy. So why hadn’t he? He told
me that he felt the offer was too good to
be true, and that made him skeptical
about everything said about the product.

If the marketer had anticipated that
reaction and answered it somewhere in
his letter, he would certainly have
increased the response to his mailings. By
admitting and openly discussing the
drawbacks to your offer, your
“credibility stock” goes way up

If you want waiters in tuxedos with
white linen cloths over their arms,
menus with unpronounceable words all
over them, and high-priced wines served
in silver ice buckets when you go out for
Italian food, our little restaurant is not
the place to come. But if you mostly
want good, solid, home-cooked pasta
with tasty sauces made with real
vegetables and spices by a real Italian
Mama and will trade white linen for
red-and-white checked plastic
tablecloths, you’ll like our place just
fine. If you’re okay with a choice of just
two wines, red or white, we’ll give you
as much of it as you want, from our
famous bottomless wine bottle — free
with your dinner.

This restaurant owner took
competitive disadvantages and turned
them into a good, solid, “fun” selling
story.Instead of
looking at them as problems and
obstacles to a sale, look at them as
building blocks in a believable,
interesting, and persuasive message.


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