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Kirsten Haas Marketing Director Acoustic Distinctions

Kirsten Haas
While conventional approaches treat cover letters more as a transmittal document and formality, more sophisticated approaches utilize cover letters as a differentiator tool for the entire package. Customized, concise and well-written letters create a strong first impression and require some research and knowledge about the client and / or project’s challenges and strategic tie in of your value proposition in meeting the client needs. Cover letters leverage the human nature aspect of readers read the first page. Reader attention must be captured within the first two paragraphs to build intrigue and entice the reader to want to learn more – explore what’s in the rest of the package.

[expand title=”Click here to read more about cover letters…”] Placement depends on the first impression strategy you think will resonate strongest with readers. Options include wrapping content into the body of the transmittal email. Strong imagery and visual first impressions of a well-designed cover may grab reader attention in a more compelling way than a sterile cover letter. On the other hand, letters bound behind the cover sometimes run the risk of being overlooked and not read. For those who take pain-staking efforts to compose the perfect letter, paper-clipping them to the front of the package offers a greater likelihood of their being read. Many treat cover letters as an after-thought, the last task of the proposal assembly process; icing on the cake. Boiler plate approach take past cover letters and utilize bullet points such as “team”, “experience”, “approach” and “insights” featured as differentiators. Blurb content after headings are tweaked to the specific project however, the copy typically looks same and reads the same as everybody else’s. While efficient, this ‘formality’ approach poses missed opportunity to demonstrate connection and understanding of client hot buttons ~ what is important to them. To achieve a heightened level of artistry: Know your reader – what is important to them. It is more than just personalizing a greeting line with a first name, restating the mission statement presented on their website or the RFP– it is about integrating core pieces of insights and knowledge gained through the prospecting process and crystallizing it into something viable to spark imagination about possibilities. Understand client turn ons and turn offs and make the letter about them. Refrain from rhetoric about “meeting/exceeding client expectations” and actually state what the goal / vision is and how what you do / intend to do allows the client to achieve success. Articulate a vision of success. [/expand]