Chapter 2 of How to Write a Business Letter that Makes Money
I’ve been hired by a great number of businesses to write letters that were very different from the letters these businesses were sending out. These firms hired me to bring in more sales. I bring this fact up to show the significance of a simple point:
Maybe one in one hundred firms that order letters from me ever dream of sending with their order a copy of the letter-head which the letter I write is to be sent out on. The same goes for the envelope in which the letter is to be enclosed.
Here then is a very important clue as to the reason why many good letters fail to get the expected results—the writer simply overlooks the importance of the letter-head on which he writes that letter.
When you send a letter to someone, recollect that you do not go to person yourself, and neither does he come to you. Your personality has no chance to influence the deal. Your office and surroundings have no chance to influence the deal. The only thing that can influence the deal is the look of the letter, and what is said in the letter. The average man is well aware of the value of appearances in the climb for business success. He keeps himself dressed well and he keeps his offices and surroundings looking as well as he possibly can because he realizes that these things go a long way in getting and closing business.
It has been said, “Clothes don’t make the man,” and it has also been said, “The apparel oft proclaims the man.” It remained for a Russian philosopher to combine the two maxims when he said, “You are introduced to a man by his clothes and you know him by his character.” Keep this maxim in mind when you sit down to write a business-winning letter, remembering its mission is to introduce you to the favorable attention of your prospect; see that this is done by the message being carried on the right kind of letter-head in the right kind of envelope.
The slightest reflection on this subject will show that all a man has to judge you by, in a business solicitation through the mails, is the thing that the postman hands him, representing the envelope and letter-head carrying the business message; these flash through the eye, to the brain, a mental image or photograph upon which the prospect acts. If, in lieu of a letter, you were required to send the business prospect a personal photograph of yourself or of your business offices and surroundings, it is safe to say you would not send a photograph that would either not do you justice or that would actually misrepresent your business, yet this is precisely the thing that a good business firm does when it sends its message out on a poor letterhead.