Protected: Breaking the sales barriers – another gift for you

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Your replies are flooding in – so here is my usual thanks

Wow! I was hoping I might get some useful feedback in the survey I invited you to visit, but I didn’t expect such an overwhelming response. So I’ve just got to say ‘Thanks’ in my normal way…

You see the questions and feedback left on the survey gave me some real food for thought. As a result I can see where the frustrations lie for many business people when creating sales campaigns. It wasn’t just writing the letters, there were other aspects that were highlighted too.

So I’m going to give them some serious thought.

But, to start with, I decided to talk to a very good friend of mine who is the Managing Director of a mailing house. We spent 40 minutes on the phone last night discussing some of the issues that impact on the success of a mailing campaign; how a badly structured mailing can dramatically suppress the open rate of letters and subsequently give a low response.

Actually – it was more of an interview than discussion, I wanted to be sure you got some extremely valuable insights so I asked rather a lot of questions for you. And I recorded our conversation so you could listen in like a ‘fly-on-the-wall’.

My friend revealed some startling facts and, frankly, offered good advice – in fact this recording is the sort of thing some experts would make into an audio programme and sell. I’d say it’s worth a good £100 or more, especially when you hear how one company cut their mailing costs in half, slashing it by over £400, in a way that you could too.

But I’m not ‘selling it’ – other than to persuade you to look out for the post containing your free gift. 😉

It will take a day or two to get the audio prepared and converted into an MP3 file. When it is ready, you will be the first to hear it. Ah, but that is only if you are subscribed to this blog 😉 because this audio is only available to the people who completed my survey or who are subscribed to this blog. The download link will be in a private, password protected post; another gift for my subscribers.

I’ll do my best to get it to you before the weekend if I possibly can, otherwise it will be next Monday afternoon.

Watch out for the post subject ‘Breaking barriers to sales’.

If you are not subscribed before that post is sent out then, sorry, you won’t be getting the download link.

You can make sure you get this valuable gift by subscribing, simply add your name and email to the boxes at the top of the right hand panel and hit the Tell me! button underneath. And, of course, you also get the two reports when you subscribe – it will feel like it’s your birthday this week!

Don’t forget… keep an eye on your inbox for the post.

~ Carol Bentley

P.S. If you haven’t already given me your thoughts in the survey I’d love to know your opinion. Simply visit

technorati tags: direct mailing campaigns sales campaigns

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Don’t assume all is OK. . .

You’ve worked hard to make sure everything is working properly. Whether it’s a process in your administration, in your production, in your marketing or on your website. Now it’s time to relax, safe in the knowledge that everything is running smoothly.

Think again!

That’s what I thought – but it was a false sense of security I shouldn’t have slipped into.

Here’s what happened…

You may have noticed that in the right panel of this blog there’s an invitation to recommend this website to your colleagues and friends. When you click on the link you are taken to another web page from where you can send a message to the people you want to tell. After clicking the ‘Send Emails’ button you are supposed to go to a ‘Thank You’ web page where you collect your gift for taking the time to send those recommendations.

Now that system was working fine. So I didn’t see any need to re-check it.

More fool me!

I discovered there was a problem when one of my readers kindly rang to let me know a 404 ‘Page Not Found’ error was coming up instead of the Thank You page. And there was a pretty good chance the recommendation emails were not being sent either.

Fortunately, thanks to the great IT support I get from my supplier, the problem was quickly resolved, and it is now working as intended.

Reviewing Systems

Of course looking at our systems doesn’t just apply to making sure they are still working – although that in itself is a good enough reason to keep a close eye on them. Improvements in our procedures and techniques are just as important. And that’s where asking your staff, customers and even suppliers can reveal some extremely valuable insights.

How long is it since you reviewed your systems; the ones that run like clockwork? Are they in place because they are the most efficient and effective method? Or are they used because “we’ve always done it like that!” Is it time to dust off the cobwebs and see if there are better ways?

I Asked For Your Help

My main method of delivering information is through writing; books, articles, email messages… these blog posts.

But my previous profession was developing and delivering training courses – so I’m perfectly comfortable with talking to people and showing how things work. It makes sense to incorporate all these coaching skills into any future materials or courses I create. But is that what people really want? Would using different presentation styles be better? Maybe, maybe not.

That’s why I decided to ask your opinion in last Friday’s post.

If you haven’t yet given me your thoughts, would you do me a favour and pop over to Thanks.

And in the meantime… what areas in your business need a bit of oiling to make them run more smoothly?

~ Carol Bentley

technorati tags: business systems

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Conversation or lecture. . .

Are you having a conversation with your customers and prospects? Or are you lecturing them?

We are the experts in our field. And we want to be sure our prospects – and customers – fully understand the results our offer gives them.

So, just like the experts tell us, we ‘paint the picture’ in our letters or on our web pages; clearly describing all the benefits our features deliver. And it reads well, because we know what we meant to say. And we know the tone we are using to express our thoughts.

The problem we all have – yes, me included 😉 – is making sure what we’ve written is read correctly.

There’s two challenges we face:

  1. The words we use. Are we friendly, persuasive and supportive without being condescending, dismissive or just downright ‘in-your-face’ annoying?
  2. The emphasis that someone reading might put on the words you’ve given them.

I’m sure you know (or have read somewhere) that only 7% of our communication is in the words we use – the rest is made up of body language (55%) and voice tonality (38%)

So how do we get over these challenges in our writing, where we don’t have the benefit of body language or voice tone? Here’s a couple of techniques I’ve developed that you might like to use:

  1. After writing your letter, sales page, email or message, read it out loud. If you can record your reading, so you can listen back, that would be even better. When you listen to your reading does it sound right? Do the words flow? Does it sound like you are having a conversation or does it come across as a speech or lecture?

    Writing in a conversational tone is not easy, which is why I so often recommend recording what you want to say and then transcribing it into your document. The words you use when you speak come across more naturally and, after using this technique a few times, you’ll find it easier to write in that style as well.

    Now, ask someone else to read the same message aloud. Does it still sound as you expected? Or has the message changed? If so, why? Words in the wrong order can change the meaning.

    Let me give you an example. On this website a pop-over appears if you visit the blog and are not subscribed. I recently changed the pop-over to offer a couple of reports as an incentive to subscribe.

    The wording I used for one of the reports was:

    31 Word Time Saving Tips for Sales Letter Writers

    I wanted the reader to know the report contains 31 tips on how to save time when you use Microsoft Word for creating sales letters. And that read OK, didn’t it?

    But when I looked at it again a bit later I realised it could be read as 31-Word Time Saving Tips for Sales Letters. Do you see the difference? The way someone reads it could be entirely different to what I meant! So I changed it to say:

    31 Time-Savers in Word for Sales Letter Writers

    It’s another good reason for putting what you’ve written to one side and coming back to review/revise it later!

  2. Punctuation can sometimes create a problem as well. Pauses in the flow – created with commas, semi-colons, colons, dashes and other punctuation marks – may not be in the right place, or missing punctuation can completely change your message!
  3. Formatting can change the emphasis on words. Here’s another example; read these sentences putting emphasis on the word in bold italics in each one:
    • I never said she broke the TV
    • I never said she broke the TV
    • I never said she broke the TV
    • I never said she broke the TV
    • I never said she broke the TV
    • I never said she stole the TV

    Do you see how changing the emphasis on a different word in each sentence changes the whole meaning?

    So how do you handle this challenge – the challenge of emphasis? It is more difficult when you are writing, compared to speaking. Using different formatting (as I did in the sentences above) can help. Use italics, bold, underline and capitals as well as careful punctuation.

    But again, I would strongly suggest going through the same ‘reading aloud and checking’ process as I recommended above just to be doubly sure it sounds OK.

The good news is once you’ve written a few letters or emails following these suggestions you’ll develop your own natural, conversation style. And I’m confident your prospects and customers will respond more warmly to you as result.

~ Carol Bentley

technorati tags: copywriting

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Quick announcement and a favour please. . .

Would you do me a favour?

I’m really close to finalising my Easiest Sales Letter Creation self-study programme, which is designed to help business owners get better results from the sales letters they send out.

The content is based on the material in my book, but before I sit back and say “Finished!” I want to be sure I’ve covered everything. And I thought “who better to ask than the folks who follow my blog?”

So, would you help me out by answering a few questions? Pop over to to answer the questions (and get a little more info about the programme).


~ Carol Bentley

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Twitter, twitter

Have you come across Twitter? There’s a lot of interest in Twittering; lots of people are getting involved. I can understand how it helps people communicate on a regular basis – especially socially. It certainly seems popular with younger people, almost as an adjunct to their mobile texting.

But how can that help in a business environment?

Well – it depends upon your business, how close a relationship you have with your customers or clients and how interested they are in what you are doing and vice versa. And, of course, it depends upon how open you like to be. I don’t think twittering suits anyone who prefers to be really private.

But I see it as a natural extension to blogging. It is in effect a micro-blogging facility.

The idea is to post short comments on what you are doing. Or where you are, or something you’ve found that was interesting that you want to talk about. It is an effective way of keeping in touch with people you care about and sharing your discoveries.

Mind you – it is also a good test of writing concisely – you only have 140 characters for each post! Now that will be an interesting challenge 😉

So I’ve just opened a twitter account at and popped a few people on my ‘following’ list.

I’ll let you know how it goes… unless you want to experience it for yourself. If you do, go to and click the Follow button under my photo.

~ Carol Bentley

technorati tags: twitter micro-blogging
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More answers

Questions asked in my recent survey included:

  • “What’s the best way to market to potential customers when starting afresh with no prior customer list or contacts?”
  • “Increasing visitors to web sites”
  • “How to drive visitors to web site”
  • “What should I do to make a big impact on-line and off-line without spending a fortune?”
  • “How to get more clients”

All of these questions, in one form or another, are asking about finding more people who are interested in what is on offer. It doesn’t matter if your business is conducted on or off line; the challenge is the same – finding customers in the most effective and economical way possible.

And very often the way you can do that works well for both on and off line activities.

In his new report Ed concentrates specifically on finding new visitors, contacts, for websites. Effectively increasing the number of people you can market to. Many of his principles can be used in the off-line world as well.

In ‘Who Else Wants More Traffic Than Their Site Can Handle’ Ed goes through a 6-part strategy starting with an old favourite of mine. One that has proven to be very successful – for both Ed, me and many other business people.

I strongly advise you to pop over and grab your copy of the report – it doesn’t cost you a penny. You just have to agree to Ed giving you loads more valuable info when he makes it available.

Seems like a bargain to me! 😉 Go to

~ Carol Bentley

technorati tags: web traffic finding customers

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