Why you don't want to close a sales letter with “For a free consultation …”

Three ways to get better results from your sales letter copywriting.

If you have ever written a sales letter for any type of service business, chances are you finished your letter with a closing sentence that read something like this:

For a free consultation, call me at (phone) or (email).

Listen, we’ve all done it.  We’ve all written this sentence many, many times before.  It’s a throwaway line that’s as commonplace as “For more information …”

But is this type of close doing you any good?  Does anyone ever respond it?  Does anyone even notice it?

I would say No, No, and No – and here’s why:


Reason 1 – No one believes it

You may truly plan to share some of your expertise with this prospect.  You may honestly believe the information you share will benefit this prospect – if only they took you up on your offer.

But let’s be honest, this is really just a sales call – and your prospects know it.

You may have the best intentions, but you also know that an hour-long session with a new prospect is a good way to develop a relationship.

But a free consultation?  No one really believes it.

Alternative:  One solution might be to change the name.  Instead of calling it a free consultation, try a free strategy session, or a free diagnostic, or a free assessment, or a personalized seminar or webinar, or a free coaching class.

 

Reason 2 – It’s the wrong time

A free consultation seems like a good offer.  It promises some value to the prospect.  And it would be a good chance for you to get your foot in the door.

We like these types of offers too.  Any chance to engage the prospect on a one-to-one basis is a good opportunity to move the sales process along.  So what’s the problem?

It’s too early.

A free consultation, or similar face-to-face engagement, is what we would call a late-stage offer.  We use it later in the sales process after a relationship has been developed.

Alternative:  Use soft offers like white papers, special reports, tip sheets and how-to guides to generate the initial lead.  These offers will generate higher response rates and help you more quickly build your list and fill your funnel with leads.

Save your one-on-one offers for the later stages in the sales process.  By that time, your prospects will know you a little – and will be more likely to respond.

 

Reason 3 – You’re not selling it

So you’ve renamed your consultation into a one-on-one Strategy Session, and you’ve moved it to a later stage in your sales process … now what?

If you first mention this Strategy Session at the end of your sales letter, will anyone notice it?  Some maybe, but why make it an afterthought?  Why not make it the centerpiece of your letter?

Alternative:  If you’re really serious about generating response, you want to lead with the offer, include it in your headline (if you have one) and then make a strong case for why this Strategy Session is absolutely essential to their future.   Something like this …

If you are having (Problem), call today to schedule your FREE Strategy Session and let us show you how other companies are dealing with (Problem).

In this 60-minute meeting, you’ll learn:

>>Bullet point
>>
Bullet point
>>
Bullet point

At the end of this session, you’ll be better prepared to deal with (Problem).

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Not everyone sees their sales letters as a direct response opportunity.  But if you are expecting your letters to deliver a measurable response, the process described above is your best chance for success.

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Written by Bob McCarthy

This article may be reprinted without permission as long as the article includes the following credit: Bob McCarthy is a freelance copywriter and consultant specializing in direct marketing and lead generation. You can read his blog, The Direct Response Coach, on his website at www.mccarthyandking.com. Bob can be reached at 508-473-8643 or by email at bob@mccarthyandking.com

About Bob McCarthy

Bob McCarthy is a direct response consultant and copywriter with a focus on direct mail, email and digital marketing. Bob works with B2B, B2C and Non-Profit clients. You can download his free ebook, "Making Snail Mail Work: 13 Lessons in Direct Mail Strategy."

2 comments to Why you don’t want to close a sales letter with “For a free consultation …”

  • Thank yo Bob. This was exactly the type of coaching I was looking for. I’m starting a small teacher training business in Portland, OR and looking for how to connect with potential customers. Right now at this stage in the game, I’m doing everything myself and pretty sure I’m not yet able to afford your services, but I was wondering if you have any posts about creating a webinar as a marketing tool.

    Thanks for your posting. I’ll keep you as a place to look for marketing advice in the future.

  • Thanks John. I don’t think I have anything on webinars, but I do believe they are very effective marketing tools. Creating the webinar is one thing, but you also need to think about how it will be used in the sales process.

    If you want it for lead generation, you need to find some way to promote it and get people to attend. You could promote it yourself (at your expense) or you could go through a third party that already has an audience.

    But it’s not just for lead generation. You could offer it as a lead nurturing activity to new leads the you may have come to you from other activities. Most leads are just inquiries, but if you can get them to watch a webinar, you have moved them along the sales process. Clearly all of the leads who register and/or attend the webinar are more likely to buy than those who don’t.

    Hope this helps. Bob

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