Project #58597 - Sales Letter

The Midterm Sales Letter Assignment

***My topic is Drug and substance abuse prevention program at Rutgers University ****

(You have to write about this)^

Write a 4-5 page letter or memo, single-spaced, that accomplishes the following: • Takes the form of a letter to your patron.
• Addresses a specific person by name.
• Explains your problem.

• Explains at least some of your initial research toward a solution (your paradigm). • References your research clearly (according to MLA Style).
• Gives a sense of your plan of action.
• Closes with an invitation to your oral presentation (specifying time and place).

• Appends a References page of at least eight sources, cited in MLA style (remember, though, that at least ten sources are required for the final paper).

The midterm sales letter should be written as a letter of persuasion, and as such it carries the added burden of addressing a particular reader and using some of the means of persuasion available to you for appealing to him or her (with special attention to rational or logical appeals).


The midterm paper will be graded according to how well it does the following: • Adheres to proper memo or letter format
• Discusses, documents, and tries to quantify your problem.
• Highlights the reader’s concerns about that topic.

• Cites specific facts and examples from your research. • Briefly proposes a plan and provides a rationale for it. • Convinces your reader to hear more.
• Provides a bibliography of sources in MLA style
• Is well proofread for errors and appearance.


The midterm sales letter serves many purposes:

• As a draft of the final paper, it provides you an opportunity to organize your research toward a practical goal and to begin presenting your information clearly.

•As an institutional requirement, it gives your teacher an opportunity to confer with the course coordinator on how best to assist you in your research and how to grade your work.

• As an exercise in persuasive writing, it gives you practice in the most valuable form of writing for business.

• As an evaluative tool, it allows you to receive feedback on your work thus far, so you can have a sense of where you stand in the class.

Typical Pitfalls and Problems

Students typically go wrong on the midterm paper in the following ways:
• They do not address a specific person capable of funding the project.
• They fail to provide evidence of the problem or trend they seek to address. • They fail to make explicit references to their research.
• They assert things without evidence.
• They fail to attach a bibliography of sources.
• They use insufficient or inappropriate sources.
• They are poorly proofread for errors.
Some General Advice, or "14 Steps to a Strong Letter"

You have already gained some practice in writing the letter of persuasion when you wrote the cover letter with your resume. Here you are also making a sales pitch, but in a much more detailed way. Generally, I don’t recommend following a formal approach to the sales letter. But there are about fourteen things you may want to consider as you write it. These are stated as rules, and some are always good rules to follow. But obviously each situation should dictate the type of approach you take. Also, these ideas should not limit your creativity. Remember that the audience should always dictate your approach. Who will read your letter? What are your reader’s concerns and interests? How can you appeal to this reader most powerfully? How can you explain your evidence? The answers to these

questions should guide the way you write the sales letter, and they will always vary from situation to situation. So accept what follows as friendly advice.

1. Know your audience.

Knowing your audience might require some preliminary research. If you are responding to a specific request for a proposal (commonly called an RFP), then you will know what your audience expects. But in this class, you will usually be addressing someone you do not know so well. Find out what you can. What is the corporate culture like at your reader’s organization? What is their motto or corporate philosophy? What image do they project in their advertising? What recent endeavors have they undertaken? What problems are they facing? What is their competition up to? Find out about your reader’s general interests so that youcan know better how they might fit with your idea. What specific benefits can the individual or organization you plan to address gain from solving the problem or responding to the trend you are considering?

2. Get the right name, and get the name right.

Address your letter to a specific person whenever possible -- and, for the purposes of this class, ALWAYS. How many times have you seen a letter that opens, "Dear Sir or Madam"? Does that inspire much interest in you? Not only is a letter addressed to a specific person bound to generate a more positive response, it will more certainly be read -- and it will more likely be read by that specific person capable of making a decision on your project. (The success of annoying ads like Publisher’s Clearinghouse is due in no small way to the appearance of personal interest: even the most cynical readers are unconsciously and unavoidably flattered by the fact that Publisher’s Clearinghouse knows their name).

3. "Dear" is never wrong as an address.

"Dear" is the expected mode of address. Though you may have struggled in personal correspondence over whether or not to write "Dear" to your reader, in business correspondence it is simply a standard formality.

4. Make a strong first impression.

How you open your letter will depend upon the specific audience and the specific appeal you want to make. If you know the addressee, you will likely want to remind him or her of that fact and allude to your most recent or most positive interaction. If you don’t know the addressee personally, you’ll have to be more creative. You can rarely go wrong by trying to open with a confident and definitive statement, and you should open emphatically whenever possible. Point to the problem or need you seek to address, or state the sort of vision you will provide in responding to this need. Get this person to read further.

How do you find out the person to whom you should address the letter?

This is another one of those "legwork" things, but fortunately these days it doesn’t require any walking around: usually a simple telephone call or a "visit" to the company web site is all you need.

When in doubt, just ask! Call up the company and ask a secretary or receptionist. Talk to a few people -- maybe even speak to the person you plan to address (that will give you a better sense of his or her style and will provide a good introduction to your letter). Just ask, and be nice about it. Who would handle the sort of project you have in mind? What department? What person in that department?

Once you know who you should address, find out how you should address that person. How do you spell his or her name? How is it pronounced? Does she prefer Ms. or Mrs.? Is there a middle initial? A Jr., Sr., or Roman numeral? Find out.

5. Show that you identify with your reader’s concerns.

Explicitly state what you know about your audience’s interest in the idea you will propose or the problem you seek to solve. Show that you can see things from the reader’s perspective, and that you see the proposal as a win-win situation.

6. Quantify or specify the problem or need you seek to address.

If you can quantify the problem, you can show its magnitude and importance. Alternately, you might give an anecdote or example that helps highlight the importance of this problem to your audience.

7. Get to the point.

There are some cases where you may wish enigmatically to string your reader along before revealing your specific project. Usually, though, readers in business don’t have time to read a mystery novel. So don’t keep your reader waiting too long for your discussion of how you intend to solve the problem or respond to the recent trend you have identified. If you offer a deal, be up front about it. What are you offering? What do you want in return? Give your reader a forecast of what to expect.

8. Provide evidence or examples.

This is the key to a successful letter for this course. You must cite your research. You must also show that you can use the information you have collected to construct an effective argument for action. You might say that it requires putting information in action. Evidence is always logically persuasive.

9. Activate your reader’s imagination.

Invite your reader to engage with your idea, perhaps by using rhetorical questions. Get your reader to participate in your text.

10. Encourage empathy.

Now that you have shown your reader that you see things from his or her perspective, start to turn the tables a bit. Get the reader to identify with your reasons for being involved in this project, and present your reasons in the best light possible. If your ethos is key to your appeal, you may consider highlighting it earlier in your letter.

11. Close with a call to specific action or further contact.

Make sure that the reader sees this as a pressing need, with a deadline for action. For the purposes of your sales letter for the class, you can offer to make the presentation at his or her office at mutual convenience

12. Make contact easy.

It is always a good idea to provide a way for your reader to contact you easily, either by phone or e-mail. Don’t forget to put that down, usually in the last paragraph -- especially if it isn’t clearly printed on the stationary you use.

13. Sign off "Sincerely."

Don’t get fancy with the closing address, unless it is especially appropriate to offer "Best wishes." Like "Dear" at the outset, "Sincerely" is the standard close.

14. Follow up and be persistent.

Many times you will discover that your letter has languished in the wrong department or that a busy addressee has failed to take any action because the letter has gotten buried under more pressing work. Follow up your letter after a reasonable interval, perhaps with a phone call or another method of contact. Don’t give up.

What do you have to submit?

Document 1

  1. 1)  Final version of Midterm sales letter with Works Cited


Subject Business
Due By (Pacific Time) 02/21/2015 12:00 pm
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