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World's Worst Sales Letter?

Frustration at Lousy Marketing
I just received a letter that is one of the worst examples of direct mail marketing I've ever seen from a major corporation. It's a real estate pitch, but the style and content is representative of lousy marketing everywhere. Here is the turkey, verbatim (the bracketed numbers refer to my comments below):

Dear Mr. and Mrs. James
During the past few months, I have completed an intensive training program for real estate professionals through the Century 21 learning system. [1] With this recent training and my experience as a full service agent, I feel quite confident in my ability to help buyers and sellers with their real estate needs. [2]
Century 21 is one of the best real estate firms in the area due to the many educational programs promoting current market strategies[3], as well as many years of experience within the real estate community.[4] In addition, we provide:
- Outstanding service to all clients.[5]
- Market data that is always changing.[6]
- Weekly updates for clients listing there homes.[7]
- A wide variety of buying and selling tools.[8]
It is great working with a company that has so much to offer their clients.[9] If you or someone you know is considering buying or selling [10] property feel free to give out my name or business card [11] and I will do everything I can to meet their real estate needs.[12]
My comments:
  • [1] OK, you're fresh out of school. So why would I want to work with you?
  • [2] That's nice. Unfortunately, you've said absolutely nothing to make me feel confident in you.
  • [3] Why do I get the impression that some marketing guy wrote this as boilerplate?
  • [4] Experience doing what? Sending out awkward direct mail pieces? And compared to whom?
  • [5] Outstanding in what way? Outstandingly bad? And by how much? And where's the proof?
  • [6] Huh? Does this mean that the data is getting more accurate or less accurate or what?
  • [7] And that's important because...? And what's with the typo?
  • [8] Sounds like a hardware store. Why would I care? What do the tools do?
  • [9] Glad you like it. Why should I care? What's with the grammatical error?
  • [10] Trying to address two different markets weakens the entire pitch.
  • [11] At this point it starts sounding positively desperate.
  • [12] Why would I risk my friendships for somebody I don't know?
What's really wretched is that the letter was sent first class mail to individual families, on heavy stock paper. This means that each piece cost somebody -- hopefully not the obviously hapless agent -- at least half a buck per letter. I'd be surprised if the guy gets so much as a nibble. Pitiful. Truly pitiful.

If you'd like to see how I would rewrite this direct mail letter, click to "How to Write a Sales Letter."

Does anyone have a worse example of a truly awful sales letter? I'm sure we'd all love to see it.

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