The Real Purpose of an LOI or Sales Letter (And It’s Not to Make a Sale!)
I recently had a mentoring client ask my reasoning behind sending a sales letter to prospects asking them to request a full information kit — rather than just sending them the full kit right off the bat. You want to wow them with your great samples, right?
And I’ve had other clients who send out letters of introduction (LOIs) and are upset when they don’t get assignments — just editors saying they’ll put the writer in their files, or they’ll get back to her in a few months, or “We don’t have anything right now but please keep in touch.”
I think this stems from a misunderstanding of the purpose of LOIs and sales letters.
LOIs and sales letters do not exist to get you assignments.
They exist to help you build a relationships with people who may buy your stuff.
These marketing efforts are not about trying to entice the prospect to give you an assignment right off the bat, because that probably won’t happen, even if your samples are awesome. Only a very small percentage of prospects will happen to have a writing need right then.
So your goal is to start a relationship with them so you can get in touch every once in a while and be top of mind when they do have an assignment. Wowing the prospect with your sales letter and convincing them to get back to you to ask for your info kit is the start of that relationship…they’ve now reached out to you.
In the case of the sales letter vs. the full info kit, you want to use your sales letter to start a communication with the prospect — to build a relationship — and a great way to do that is to have them get back to you to ask you for something. Then the door is open to send them your kit, follow up, and generally get to know the prospect. If you send your whole thing right off, you’ll have no way to create that opening — many prospects will just file you away or even toss your stuff and then forget about you.
(Not to mention, it’s not very cost-effective to mail big envelopes out blindly.)
In the case of an LOI, you want the editor to request your clips or ask you to stay in touch so you now have an opening to follow up and start building that all-important relationship that can lead to assignments down the line.
When an editor or prospect asks for clips or more information — you win.
So keep sending, and do the happy dance when someone gets back to you to request info. Follow up every couple of months, and you’ll do an even wilder happy dance when you’ve turned that contact into a loyal client. [lf]
If you liked that post, you might also like:
- 4 LOI Mistakes That Will Cause a Prospect or Editor to Trash Your E-mail
- Do You Want to Market the Easy Way — Or the Way That Will Land You Freelance Writing Gigs?
- The Best Way to Get a Freelance Writing Assignment
- 7 Excuses to Stay in Touch with Editors and Clients
- How to Write a Letter of Introduction That Will Impress Editors and Get You More Freelance Writing Gigs