Help! How to write a sales letter? Part 3

by Cris

Create the problem

From the very start of your sales letter, it should be clear what problem your service or product will solve for your customers. The sooner the reader can identify with the problem being written about, whilst being made aware that a solution is being offered the better.  Hence, the importance of a very focused headline that indicates what you are offering.

If you have written an impactful headline that grabs your target audience’s attention, followed by an equally appealing subheadline, their curiosity will lead them into your first paragraph, and then the next, and the next and so on.

This is what the great Joseph Sugarman (One of America’s Top Copywriters) in his very insightful book The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy classed as his 8th axiom of good copy-writing.

His 8th axiom out of 15 axioms of good copywriting states that: “keep the copy interesting and the reader interested through the power of curiosity.” He coined this process the “slippery slide”.

To make this process as effective as possible so that after reading the headline, your reader is compelled to read further past the subheadline, the first sentence, and so forth, Joseph Sugarman advice as per his 13th axiom: that “ideas presented in your copy should flow in a logical fashion, anticipating your prospect’s questions and answering them as if the questions were asked face-to-face.”

The whole purpose of the sales copy according to Joseph Sugarman is to “lead the reader” through a natural “flow” as possible that will address some of the questions you would surely be asked about your product – or service –  if you were a salesperson and you were selling the product face-to-face” right until a purchase is made.

Hence, by starting from the outset, by presenting a problem to your reader, your are awakening their curiosity and making their need for your service or product personal. The effect is that it will position you, through your copy, as someone that relates to your readers because you have an insight into their problem.

As such your target audience can justify to themselves why they should carry on reading so as to find out how you will solve their problem.

The important point is that you should follow through with your sales copy and ensure that your product or service delivers on its promises. Thus, allowing  for a mutual beneficial relationship where  on the one hand, you will have individuals that are satisfied with the benefits gained from your services and products whilst on the other you will have gained their trust and repeat business in the future.

Please do leave a comment if this post resonates with you in any way. If it stirs you positively and you feel someone else can benefit from it, feel free to share this post.

Wishing you great success

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Joseph Sugarman June 8, 2010 at 1:19 am

You nailed it. Good points to bring out and well presented.

Cris June 8, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Hey! Mr Sugarman. Thank you for dropping by. I appreciate your comment. Glad to know, particularly from you, that I’m on the right track.

Ray June 27, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Hi Cris,
I have read the three parts of, ‘How to write a sales letter’
They’ve been a very informative read, so I’m printing them off for reference!
.-= Ray´s last blog ..Age Gap In Relationships-Is It A Problem =-.

Mandy Allen January 8, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Hi Cris, I totally agree with this. The headline is so important in getting people’s attention, and then the product should do ‘what it says on the tin’.

Enjoy the journey.

Mandy Allen´s last blog post ..A New Year Begins

Twitter: zahidyk
January 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Hi Cris
I am one of John Thornhills Masterclass students.

This is a great article on headlines, has given me food for thought.

Been checking out your site as well, love the Ying Yang logo.
All the best for 2011.


Cris January 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Hi Mandy

I agree with you. The headline is the invite for the reader to find out more about your product. However, it is paramount that you deliver what you set out to describe in your headline and sales page if you want continued success.



Cris January 16, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Hi Zahid

Thanks for dropping by.

Glad you liked the article.

The logo was designed by my wife. She did a pretty good job.

Wishing you a successful 2011.



Ric Steiner June 13, 2012 at 5:29 am

Excellent post. I think the point about mutually beneficial copy is very important. The copy should serve both you and the reader and by so doing you solve the reader’s problem with your product.

Ric Steiner´s last blog post ..The Partnership Journey Pt 1

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