In a recent individual sales coaching session, my client
was lamenting her inability to grab the attention of a
particular prospect. She described the many letters she had
sent and the information contained in the letters.
Essentially her letters were lists of all the services
(features) offered by the company and concluded with a
tepid, “I will call to follow up.” The letter could easily
have been written by any of her competitors. She sent it
out in a white envelope. It was not surprising that her
prospect had not responded.

While I generally recommend against sending letters before
a prospecting call, if you are sending a letter, you must
make it interesting. If your letter could be written by any
of your competition, there is nothing to differentiate you
from your competition. This rule applies for crafting your
telephone prospecting script as well. If you say the same
things that your competition says, you will be perceived to
be the same as your competition. Another important facet of
letter writing is getting your letter opened. Thousands of
books have been written on this subject. If the prospect
does not open your envelope, they will not read your

I mentioned to my client that all correspondence from my
office goes out in purple envelopes. And prospects notice!
I’d like to be able to tell you that I knew to use purple
envelopes because I am a marketing genius. The reality is,
I accessorize.

When my first book, “Cold Calling for Women” came out I
sent out hundreds of review copies with media kits. The
cover of “Cold Calling for Women” is deep purple and hot
pink. Clearly, I needed deep purple folders for the media
kits and then, just as clearly, I needed a purple envelope
to complete the ensemble. (It annoys me if my nail polish
and lipstick don’t match.)

I called every reviewer to say that I was sending a review
copy of the book in a purple envelope. Then I sent the
review copy and media kit in the purple envelope. After
that, I would call to confirm that the reviewer had
received it. An amazing thing happened. Reviewers receive
thousands of books every week, yet every reviewer with whom
I spoke knew exactly what book I was referring to.

Since that time, I have continued to use purple envelopes,
for correspondence, for
contracts, for media kits… it doesn’t matter. Prospects
always know which package is mine, because it’s in a purple

My client, however, was horrified. “No, no, no,” she said.
“Our clients are staid and conservative. It’s an ‘old boy’s
network.’” I found this to be an amazing statement, since
there is no way my client, “Sally,” would ever fit into an
“old boy’s network” no matter what she did. There’s a
demoralizing goal: Trying to desperately to fit into and be
a part of a group that will never accept you.

I said to Sally, “At this moment in time, you already do
not have that prospect as a client. The prospect has
ignored every attempt that you have made to contact them.
There is no risk here. You have nothing to lose. It’s time
to do something different. In order to be noticed you must
do something noticeable.”

My first advice to Sally then was to stop sending letters
and try to reach the prospect directly by telephone.
(Making sure that she had first crafted a compelling
script.) When asked by the secretary, “What is this in
reference to?” Sally could truthfully say, “We’ve had

If the direct telephone approach didn’t work then Sally’s
next option might be to try another letter. But in this
case she would need a compelling, interesting, benefit-
centered letter. She would also need a mechanism (purple
envelope or something else) to ensure the letter being

But there is a bigger issue here: So many people are afraid
to take risks, to try something different or to be a little
different. The difference can be minor; like purple
envelopes or it can be conceptual as in the way you speak
about what you do. But whatever that difference is, don’t
be afraid to embrace it and use it to your advantage.

The status quo is the sales professional’s biggest enemy.
If your prospects do not perceive a difference between what
you have to offer and what their current vendor offers, you
will not get the business. You must make that difference
visible in ways great and small. That means doing, being,
showing difference.

Wendy Weiss
“The Queen of Cold Calling”
Sales Training/Sales Coaching
**Gain confidence, reach more prospects, close more sales
and make more money.**

P.O. Box 20664
London Terrace Station
New York, NY 10011

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