The YOU Element in Business Letters



The YOU Element in Business Letters :




Nothing robs a letter of directness so much as a lock of the YOU element. Here is an actual letter which illustrates particularly well an absence of direct appeal because of this fault.


This man tries to sell a pair of shoes, not by talking about the prospect and his needs, but about himself and his product. Note the prevalence of OUR and WE in every paragraph. Half the words are mere machinery of this antique variety, through which “we accept, are glad, make, strive,” and so on. The real meat—the specific words that catch the eye—could be compressed into two short paragraphs.


Then note how the same proposition is handled in the rewritten letter. The dealer comes over to the customer’s side, just as a clever salesman would, and turns in to help him “get a fit.” “That’s right,” he says, “a poor fit is a real calamity. What you want is this and this and this—and right here is a stock of shoes among which you’ll find those very things.”




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