Persuasive Sales Letter

Persuasion is an important part of business.  When we write messages of persuasion those messages can be solicited or unsolicited.  For this assignment, you will be writing an unsolicited sales message trying to promote your company, Kingston, to prospective residents and their families.  Use this

link (Links to an external site.)

to learn more about the company.  In your letter, you want to be sure to highlight many of the features and benefits of their community by using the AIDA approach (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action).

Kingston link:

Home (kingstonhealthcare.com)

Block format:

Dixie’s Full Block Business Letter (savvy-business-correspondence.com)

MBA 6073 PERSUASIVE SALES LETTER
OVERVIEW
Your assignment is to write a persuasive sales letter. A persuasive sales letter is an honest, organized presentation
of information written to encourage the reader to respond. Typically, an inductive approach is used to write a
persuasive sales letter because the main idea (request for action) is in the last paragraph.
In order to effectively persuade your reader, you need to understand the features and benefits of the product, service
or idea you are selling and how your product, service or idea is different from your competition. You also need to
be aware of the audience and determine the course of action you would like the reader to take: fill out a
questionnaire, complete an order form, call for a free trial period, or order a product. Because the request for action
is at the end of the letter, you must be sure the letter is engaging and convincing; otherwise your reader will never
make it to the end.
For this writing assignment, you work as the Marketing Director for Kingston, a company that provides senior
citizens with assisted living and rehabilitation services. Kingston offers working families a safe place for their
elderly loved ones to live or recuperate from major surgeries or accidents. As the Marketing Director, write a
persuasive sales letter that can be sent to families interested in your assisted living campuses located in Ohio. Use
the webpage https://kingstonhealthcare.com to conduct research about the company. Provide several examples of
how individuals could benefit from your services (e.g. rehabilitation, supervision, socialization, nutritious meals),
and specific programs offered (e.g. transportation to medical appointments, games and activities, field trips, book
clubs). Be sure to also include your contact information. Encourage families to read the brochure you’re enclosing
and take a look at your website. The goal of your letter is to get the reader to go online and schedule an
appointment to visit the facility.
THE PROCESS
The writing assignment should contain the four AIDA fundamentals. You can divide each step in a separate
paragraph but persuasive messages do not require separate paragraphs for each step. Also, some steps might
require more than one paragraph.




A – Get the reader’s attention.
I – Introduce the product, service or idea and arouse interest.
D – Create desire by presenting compelling evidence of the product/service benefits.
A – Encourage action.
IMPORTANT REQUIREMENTS
Your letter must cover each of the four topics above. In order to grab the reader’s attention, paragraphs in sales
letters can be one sentence in length depending on the attention-getting device you use. Also, bulleted lists, bold
highlighting, capitalization of key words and underlining of key words can also be effective as long as these
techniques are not overused. Wordiness in sales letters are ineffective, therefore; the letter should only be one page
in length, word-processed in Times New Roman using 12-Point font. Justify the left margin and use 1” margins all
around each page. Do not double-space.
Address your letter to: Ms. Donna Mud
406 Washington St.
Toledo, OH 43604
YOUR GRADE
Writing assignments in MBA 6073 are graded based on their effectiveness. An effectively written document meets
the following criteria:


Purpose/Audience – The purpose of the document is clear and the connection to the audience is strong.
Language and tone is appropriate and directed to the primary audience as well as any secondary audiences.
Logic of the Argument – Ideas in the document are fully developed. All relevant facts and information is
presented professionally and logically. The document also demonstrates strategic and reflective thinking.





Identifies and evaluates ethical issues using persuasive ethical reasoning and a multi-aspect focus likely
leading to resolution of the situation.
Organization – Paragraphs, sentences, and ideas are presented and supported in an organized and logical
manner using the correct approach based on the type of message being created (informative/routine,
negative news, persuasion, reports, etc.).
Writing Style – The document demonstrates effective word choice appropriate for the intended audience
and the writing style flows well without being choppy or redundant. The message is clear and concise and
suitable for a business setting with a clear use of transitions to illustrate key points clearly and coherently.
Content – The document supports the main idea with key points, relevant facts, and business concepts
appropriate for the type of message being created. The document’s message is fully developed and meets
the requirements of the assignment.
Structure and Mechanics – The document is free of errors (spelling, grammar, punctuation) and uses
good sentence structure without being repetitive. If appropriate, the document uses correct citations.
Format – The document follows specific format guidelines for the type of document being created (email,
letter, memo, proposal, report, etc.) and is visually appealing or “reader friendly”. Any data/graphics used
are appropriately presented and understandable.
Because learning changes everything.®
Chapter 10
Persuasive
Messages
© 2021 McGraw Hill. All rights reserved. Authorized only for instructor use in the classroom.
No reproduction or further distribution permitted without the prior written consent of McGraw Hill.
Learning Objectives
10.1
10.2
10.3
10.4
© McGraw Hill
1
Describe the relationship between credibility
and persuasion.
Explain the AIM planning process for
persuasive messages and the basic
components of most persuasive messages.
Explain how the tone and style of persuasive
messages impact their influence.
Create compelling internal persuasive
messages.
Learning Objectives
10.5
10.6
10.7
10.8
© McGraw Hill
2
Explain how to influence professionals with
various decision-making styles.
Compose influential external persuasive
messages.
Construct effective mass sales messages.
Evaluate persuasive messages for
effectiveness and fairness.
The Importance of Credibility in an
Era of Mistrust and Skepticism
The importance of credibility is heightened for
persuasive messages.

Goal is to help audience members identify with and find
merit in your positions.

The post-trust era.
© McGraw Hill
Applying the AIM Planning Process to
Persuasive Messages
1
Persuasion involves:

Analyzing your audience.

Gathering the right information.

Developing a message.
© McGraw Hill
Applying the AIM Planning Process to
Persuasive Messages
2
Understand Your Audience

Understand wants, needs, and values.
Persuade through Shared Purpose and Shared
Values

Credibility, caring, character, and competence are
important.
Show people they are sincerely needed and
appreciated.
© McGraw Hill
Applying the AIM Planning Process to
Persuasive Messages
3
Understand Methods of Influence

Reciprocation.

Consistency.

Social proof.

Liking.

Authority.

Scarcity.
© McGraw Hill
Applying the AIM Planning Process to
Persuasive Messages
4
Persuade through Emotion and Reason

Resistance to ideas, products, and services is often
emotional.

Audiences often possess strong emotional attachment to
competing ideas, products, and services.

Use logical appeals.
© McGraw Hill
Applying the AIM Planning Process to
Persuasive Messages
5
Gather the Right Information
• First establish credibility.
• Understand products, services, and ideas in depth.
© McGraw Hill
Persuasive Messages
Components
• Gain attention.
• Raise a need.
• Deliver a solution.
• Provide a rationale.
• Validate the views, preferences,
and concerns of others.
• Give counterpoints (optional).
• Call to action.
© McGraw Hill
Applying the AIM Planning Process to
Persuasive Messages
6
Set Up the Message
• Most business writing is direct and explicit.
• Persuasive messages are sometimes indirect and
implicit.
• Tasks:

Gain attention.

Tie needs, solution, and rationale.

Validation.

Provide counterpoints.

Call to action.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.1 Effective Attention-Getters
Type of AttentionGetter
Example
Rhetorical
question
Did you know that average credit union members save
$400 per year compared to bank customers?
Intriguing statistic
In the past five years, we’ve lost over 200 members—over
10 percent of our membership.
Compelling and
unusual fact(s)
You’ve probably heard car dealers boast about their nearzero percent interest rates—but there’s a catch! By
financing with car dealers, you give up your opportunity to
receive manufacturer rebates and your power to negotiate
on price.
Challenge
Please join our team in this year’s Hope Walkathon in the
fight against breast cancer.
Testimonial
“I never knew I could have so much negotiating power with
a preapproved loan. By getting my car loan through Better
Horizons, I negotiated a great deal with the car dealer. This
is the way to buy cars!”
© McGraw Hill
Getting the Tone and Style Right for
Persuasive Messages
Guidelines for Tone for
Persuasive Messages
• Apply the personal touch.
• Use action-oriented, lively
language.
• Write with confidence.
• Offer choice.
• Show positivity.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.2a Voice in Persuasive Messages
YOU-VOICE
Appropriate Use in external persuasive messages to emphasize reader
Cases
benefits.
Cautions
Presumptuousness—assuming you know what is good for
someone else
Examples
When you take out an auto loan, you get a variety of
resources to help you in your car shopping, including a
free copy of a Kelly Blue Book, access to free Carfax
reports, Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI), and
Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP).
In this example, you-voice helps show direct benefits to the
customers. Overuse across entire message, however, may
come across as presumptuous, overbearing, or
exaggerated.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.2b Voice in Persuasive Messages
WE-VOICE
Appropriate
Cases
Use in internal persuasive messages to emphasize shared work
goals.
Cautions
Presumptuousness—assuming you share common beliefs, ideas,
or understanding with your colleagues
Examples
At Better Horizons, we’ve instilled a personal touch into every
aspect of our business. We’ve reinforced this culture with face-toface services. Our tellers welcome members by name. When
members come into the credit union, they know we care about
them as people, not just as customers. The warm, friendly,
genuine, and personal approach we take to serving our members
is why I’m so proud to work here.
In this passage, we-voice instills a sense of shared values,
priorities, and goals. We-voice can instill a strong sense of
teamwork. When audience members have different perspectives,
however, they may resent that you are stating agreement where it
does not exist.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.2c Voice in Persuasive Messages
I-VOICE
Appropriate
Cases
Use in all persuasive messages sparingly.
Cautions
Overuse implies self-centeredness
Examples
After examining the results of other credit unions, I am
convinced that these tools can build emotional
connections and loyalty with our members.
In this example, I-voice is used to show a personal opinion
and shows respect for audience members who are not yet
fully persuaded. Frequent use of I-voice across an entire
message, however, may come across as emphasizing
your interests rather than those of the audience.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.2d Voice in Persuasive Messages
IMPERSONAL
VOICE
Appropriate
Cases
Use in persuasive messages to emphasize objectivity
and neutrality.
Cautions
Overuse may depersonalize the message.
Examples
The basic difference between credit unions and banks
is that credit union members own and control their
credit unions whereas bank account holders have no
stake or control in their financial institutions.
In this example, impersonal voice helps show
objectivity. An entire persuasive message in impersonal
voice, however, may fail to connect on a personal level
with the audience.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.3a Making Tangible Statements
Less
Effective
Credit unions save members
about $8 billion a year thanks to
better interest rates and reduced
fees.
The benefit is not tangible.
Customers are not sure what
the benefit would be for them
personally.
More
Effective
On average, credit union
members save $400 each year
compared to bank customers
thanks to lower loan rates and
fees.
This benefit is tangible; the
customers know how much
they will save on an individual
level.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.3b Making Tangible Statements
Less
Effective
In recent years, many credit
unions have lost membership
because younger individuals
are not attracted to them.
This statement focuses on a
general trend for credit unions
but does not indicate an impact
on a particular credit union.
More
Effective
In the past five years, we’ve
lost over 200 members—over
10 percent of our membership.
And we simply aren’t attracting
younger members.
This statement invokes a sense
of what is happening right here
at our credit union. Identifying
the amount (as well as a
percentage) helps the reader
discern the impact.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.3c Making Tangible Statements
Less
Effective
We provide lower rates on car loans.
Our car loan rates are between 1.5
and 1.75 percentage points lower than
at any of the banks in town.
This statement doesn’t
help the customers
understand how much in
dollars they would save on
a car loan at Better
Horizons.
More
Effective
You pay lower rates on car loans.
You can get car loan rates at Better
Horizons that are 1.5–1.75 percentage
points lower than at any other bank in
town. Consider the savings:
This statement allows
customers to easily think
about how much savings
they would receive by
getting a car loan with
Better Horizons.
© McGraw Hill

On a 4-year $15,000 new car loan:
You save about $680.

On a 4-year $5,000 used car loan:
You save about $200.
Table 10.4a Using Action-Oriented and
Lively Language
Less
Effective
The Betty Williams Breast
Center has a nationally
accredited program for
treatment of breast cancer.
The weak verb has
implies little action on the
part of the Betty Williams
Breast Center.
More
Effective
The Betty Williams Breast
Center runs a nationally
accredited program for
treatment of breast cancer.
The action verb runs
implies a full-fledged and
active effort on the part of
the Betty Williams Breast
Center.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.4b Using Action-Oriented and
Lively Language
Less
Effective
Better Horizons has always been
known for its personal approach to our
members. Our transactions have
always occurred through face-to-face
services. Our tellers are friendly to all
members.
Uses unexciting, weak verbs: has
been known, have occurred, are
(notice how passive verbs detract
from a sense of action and
engagement). The central theme of
personalized service does not come
through. For example, consider the
contrast between our tellers are
friendly versus our tellers welcome
members by name.
More
Effective
At Better Horizons, we’ve instilled a
personal touch into every aspect of
our business. We’ve reinforced this
culture with face-to-face services. Our
tellers welcome members by name.
When members come into the credit
union, they know we care about them
as people, not just as customers.
Uses a positive, diverse set of
action verbs: instilled, reinforced,
welcome, care. Uses adjectives and
nouns to further emphasize a
central theme of personalized
service: personal touch, face-to-face
services, name.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.5a Writing with Confidence
Less
Effective
At our upcoming board meeting, I
would like to discuss possible ways
of appealing to younger members.
We can talk about how various
strategies might appeal to this
group.
These statements are an attempt to
achieve an other-orientation; they
show sensitivity to involving others
in the decision making. However,
they show no confidence in the
ideas or policies that the audience
resists.
More
Effective
At our upcoming board meeting, I
will present a vision of how we can
build marketing strategies and
product offerings to appeal to
younger members. These
strategies will not only attract
younger members to our credit
union, but also increase our
business across other age groups.
These statements imply confidence
in the change message: These are
ideas and policies that will make a
difference. Furthermore, the writer
can make them happen. The
argument is logic-based, but also
contains an excitement about
possibilities.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.5b Writing with Confidence
Less
Effective
Please think about how Better
Horizons can help you in your
banking.
This nonspecific request sounds
weak and unconfident. It gives
the reader an excuse to easily
dismiss the message.
More
Effective
We encourage you to stop by
Better Horizons and make
direct comparisons with your
current bank. You’ll find that
banking with Better Horizons
save you money, provides
convenience when you travel,
and offers services to meet
nearly any banking need.
This request lays down a
challenge to make direct
comparisons, confidently
implying that Better Horizons
can outperform competitors. It
then directly states specific
benefits to the potential
member.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.6 Emphasizing Choice
Less
Effective
You owe it to the women in your lives
to make a difference.
This appeal focuses on obligation
and pressure. Most readers will
not respond positively.
More
Effective
You can help make a difference for
women here in our community.
This appeal focuses on
volunteerism and contribution to
the community without telling the
reader what to do.
Less
Effective
The walkathon will be held on
Saturday, October 6 at 9:00 a.m. at
Central Park. Do your part to improve
the lives of women in our community!
This request is a guilt trip; it
emphasizes the reader’s duty.
More
Effective
The walkathon will be held on
Saturday, October 6 at 9:00 a.m. at
Central Park. Please join Betty and the
rest of the Better Horizons team for a
day of fun, excitement, and hope!
This request recognizes the
readers’ choice to participate in a
fun and exciting approach to a
good cause.
© McGraw Hill
Show Positivity
Maslansky’s research asked consumers to identify which of
three pairs of phrases were more persuasive in promotional
material.
More Persuasive
Less Persuasive
Making sure you have enough money as
long as you live.
Managing longevity risk.
Making sure you can afford to maintain
your lifestyle.
Managing inflation risk.
Making sure you can participate in the
gains while reducing your downside risk.
Managing market risk.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.7 Statements to Avoid in the
Post-Trust Era
Type
Examples That Don’t Work
Trust me
“Trust me” or “We speak your language”
Unbelievable
“Your call is important to us” or “We care about our
customers”
Too good to
be true
“This is the right product for you” or “We give you
guaranteed results”
Excuses
“What you need to understand is…” or “Our hands are
tied”
Explanations
“This was taken out of context” or “I can explain”
Fear tactics
“Are you concerned about the security of your family?” or
“Act now or you’ll miss this opportunity”
© McGraw Hill
Source: Maslansky, M., West, S., & DeMoss, G. (2010). The language of trust: Selling ideas in a world of skeptics. Van Kampen Investor Services, Inc.
Table 10.8a Avoiding Exaggeration
and Superlatives
Less
Effective
You can trust us at Better
Horizons to make your
financial dreams come true.
This statement uses phrases that
seem unbelievable (you can trust
us) and exaggerated (make your
financial dreams come true). It is
positive but not plausible.
More
Effective
As a nonprofit, membercontrolled financial institution,
Better Horizons can provide
you with higher rates on
savings accounts, better
terms on loans, and lower
fees.
This statement focuses on
specific benefits and uses words
that nearly all people view
positively (nonprofit, membercontrolled, savings, better, lower
fees). It is both positive and
plausible.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.8b Avoiding Exaggeration
and Superlatives
Less
Effective
Pay attention to these facts or
risk losing money to banks.
This statement focuses on fear
and applies pressure. Most
customers would consider the
writer not credible.
More
Effective
Consider some of the following
reasons to join Better Horizons
and start saving today.
This statement is inviting and
nonthreatening. It uses
pressure-free (consider) and
positive (join, start saving)
words.
© McGraw Hill
Creating Internal Persuasive
Messages
1
Common Elements between Internal and External
Messages

Gain attention.

Raise a need.

Deliver a solution.

Provide rationale.

Show appreciation.

Give counterpoints.

Call to action.
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.9a Components of Internal and External
Persuasive Messages
Internal Messages
External Messages
(Typically for Ideas)
(Typically for Products and
Services)
Attention
Overview of a business problem
Catchy statement
Need
Description of a business
problem
Description of unmet needs or
wants of your customers
Solution
Description of how your idea or
policy addresses the business
problem
Elaboration about why your
product or service benefits
customers
Rationale
Elaboration about why your idea
or policy is the best option
Elaboration about why your
product or service will benefit the
customer
© McGraw Hill
Table 10.9b Components of Internal and External
Persuasive Messages
Internal Messages
External Messages
(Typically for Ideas)
(Typically for Products and
Services)
Appreciation
Appreciation for decision
makers’ perspectives and
resistance to your ideas
Recognition of customers’
resistance to your product or
service
Counterpoints
Explanation of why your ideas
are better than competing
ideas (typically those of
decision makers who comprise
your target audience)
Explanation of why your
product/service is better than
competing products/services
(typically those favored by the
target audience)
Action
Recommendations for a course Description of a specific step for
of action or further discussion
the customer to take toward
about an idea or policy
purchase of a product or service
© McGraw Hill
Figure 10.2 Less Effective Internal Persuasive
Message
Access the text alternative for slide images.
© McGraw Hill
Creating Internal Persuasive
Messages
2
Internal Persuasive Messages

Focus on promoting ideas

More direct and explicit

Based on logical appeals
Types

Influence a superior

Influence employees
© McGraw Hill
Taking Initiative, Showing Persistence, and
Adapting to Various Decision-Making Styles
Persuasion requires persistence and initiative.
Kessler’s Five Touch Points
1. The sniff.
2. The story.
3. The data.
4. The ask.
5. The close.
© McGraw Hill
1
Taking Initiative, Showing Persistence, and
Adapting to Various Decision-Making Styles
2
Williams’ and Miller’s Decision-Making Approaches

Followers

Charismatics

Skeptics

Thinkers

Controllers
© McGraw Hill
Constructing External Persuasive
Messages
External Persuasive Messages

Employ you-voice and describe tangible benefits.

Should be personalized, upbeat, positive, and pressurefree.

Avoid guilt trips and extremely negative terms.
© McGraw Hill
Composing Mass Sales Messages
Mass Sales Messages

Messages sent to a large group of consumers and
intended to market a product or service.



Emails, online ads, or sales letters.
Low success rates.
Benefits include:



© McGraw Hill
Less expensive than hard-copy sales letters.
Can raise brand awareness.
Structure can be adjusted to increase sales rate.
1
Composing Mass Sales Messages (AIDA)
A Attention
I Interest
D Desire
A Action
© McGraw Hill
2
• Introduce a relationship between the receiver
and the product, service, or idea. Grab your
audience’s attention so they want to know
more. Be creative and use an original approach.
• Introduce the product, service, or idea. Build
their interest by meeting their needs and
emphasizing benefits. Stress a central selling
point. Make a logical appeal with data to back
up the central selling point. Use vivid language.
• Focus on the audience with a ‘you’ attitude.
Make an emotional appeal such as perceived
scarcity. Anticipate objections. Offer free trials,
guarantees, expert opinions, or testimonials.
Put the product in the customer’s hands.
• Make it easy for the audience to respond and
act. Show confidence and create a sense of
urgency. Offer a reward or incentive for quick
action.
Composing Mass Sales Messages
3
Central Sales Theme

A coherent, unified theme that consumers can recognize
quickly.

A common theme is price.

More effective with a direct approach.
© McGraw Hill
Reviewing Persuasive Messages
Review Process

Can potentially provide you with more professional
opportunities and enhanced credibility.

Can also close off future opportunities and diminish your
credibility.

Do the following before sending a persuasive message:

Get feedback and reread.

Apply the FAIR test.
© McGraw Hill
Figure 10.14a Are Your Persuasive
Messages FAIR?
Facts (How factual is your persuasive message?)

Have you presented all the facts correctly?

Have you presented information that allows colleagues,
customers, and consumers to make informed decisions
that are in their best interests?

Have you carefully considered various interpretations of
your data? Have you assessed the quality of your
information?
© McGraw Hill
Figure 10.14b Are Your Persuasive
Messages FAIR?
Access (How accessible or transparent are your motives,
reasoning, and information?)

Are your motives clear or will others perceive that you have a hidden
agenda? Have you made yourself accessible to others so that they
can learn more about your viewpoints?

Have you fully disclosed information that colleagues, customers, or
consumers should expect to receive?

Are you hiding any information that casts your recommendations in a
better light? Are you hiding real reasons for making certain claims or
recommendations?

Have you given stakeholders the opportunity to provide input in the
decision-making process?
© McGraw Hill
Figure 10.14c Are Your Persuasive
Messages FAIR?
Impacts (How does your communication impact
stakeholders?)

Have you carefully considered how your ideas, products,
and services will impact colleagues, customers, and
consumers?

Have you made recommendations to colleagues,
customers, and consumers that are in their best
interests?
© McGraw Hill
Figure 10.14d Are Your Persuasive
Messages FAIR?
Respect (How respectful is your communication?)

If you were the customer or the colleague, would you feel
that the tone of the message was appropriate?

Does the message offend or pressure? Does it show that
your colleagues’ and customers’ needs are important?

Would a neutral observer consider your communication
respectful?
© McGraw Hill
Business Communication: Developing
Leaders for a Networked World, 4e
Chapter 10
Because learning changes everything.
www.mheducation.com
© McGraw Hill
© 2021 McGraw Hill. All rights reserved. Authorized only for instructor use in the classroom.
No reproduction or further distribution permitted without the prior written consent of McGraw Hill.
®

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