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Sales Letters: Four Point Action Closing

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Securing Action

Having convinced your reader that your product or service is worth the price, you want to get action before the reader has a change of mind, before forgetfulness defeats you, before the money goes for something else—before any of the things that could happen do happen. Therefore, a good persuasive closing is essential.

A good action closing—or clincher—should include the following four points:

  1. clearly state what action you wish the reader to take.
  2. make that action easy through facilitating devices and careful wording.
  3. date the action—if possible and appropriate.
  4. provide a reader benefit as stimulus for action.

1) Clearly State What Action You Wish The Reader To Take

Should the reader order your product or service? Call your office to set up an appointment? Fill out a form? Visit a local dealership or store to see a demonstration? Invite the visit of a sales representative? On finishing your letter, your reader should know just exactly what you want done and how it should be done.

At times, you may have to name two actions and ask the reader to take one or the other. If you possibly can, avoid doing so. Some people faced with a choice resolve their dilemma by doing nothing.

2) Make That Action Easy Through Facilitating Devices And Careful Wording

Facilitating devices: order blanks, order cards, and postcards or envelopes already addressed and requiring no postage—remove some of the work in taking action. Also, your phone number (with area code and extension) are useful if you want the reader to call you. Finally, state your office hours and location if you want the reader to come to see you in person. References to these facilitating devices—preferably directing the reader to use them—reassure the reader that what you are asking is simple and requires little time and effort.

Careful wording: through careful wording, you can also emphasize that what you are asking the reader to do is simple. "Write and let us know your choice" suggests more work than "Check your color choice on the enclosed card." "Jot down," "just check," "simply initial" are also examples of wording that suggest ease and rapidity in doing something. Such wording helps reduce reader reluctance to take action.

3) Date The Action—If Possible And Appropriate

Name the date whenever you need the reader's response by a certain time. Tactfully tell the reader why you need it then—perhaps to meet the deadline for a sale.

4) Provide A Reader Benefit As Stimulus For Action

Always mention some benefit(s) the reader will gain by prompt action. Such a reminder of the desirability of your product or service—some- times called a clincher—comes appropriately at the ending of your letter. It not only provides motivation for the reader, but it also has decided psychological value as well because it emphasizes service attitude—rather than the greed stressed if you end with dollars and cents talk or the mechanics of ordering.

You should always include elements 1, 2, and 4 of the four point action closing when you are writing a letter relating to sales. You should use dated action, item 3, ONLY when it is appropriate for your writing situation.

Some examples of closing paragraphs follow. Determine whether or not they include all elements of the four point action closing needed for a tactful, yet persuasive letter ending.

  1. Mr. J. B. Nickle, our Memphis representative, will be glad to call at a time convenient for you. Fill out and mail the enclosed postcard, and he will come to your home and explain how your Stair Traveler can make your daily living more pleasurable.
  2. You can begin to enjoy the unusual reception of a famous Foremost set by placing your order now.
  3. Call our toll-free number, or mail the enclosed postcard indicating a day and time convenient for our representative to visit you. He'll give you a list of SIB users in the Lafayette area and explain additional advantages of using Superior's Ice Breaker. You can then order your winter's supply and join more than 150,000 apartment and industrial firms who have used SIB for ice-free parking lots.
  4. If you have any technical questions concerning our products, please call us toll free at (800) 555-9525 and ask for Technical Service. Our staff will be pleased to lend whatever assistance they can.
  5. We are enclosing an order blank and postage paid envelope for your convenience.