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Hi {FIRSTNAME} and welcome to the 5th of 6 Visual Accounts 2000 Tutorials. Each one is written from 'real life' experience and is designed to help you to unlock all the power of Visual Accounts 2000.

This edition picks up where the last one left off. We looked at using the Mail Merge tools in VA2000 to chase slow payers. We learned along the way how to load, modify and save templates to do it. Now we're going to learn how to use VA to sell more to our existing customer base.


Q. Are we ready to use VA2000 to make some money? (Rhetorical)

In the last session we looked at the Mail Merge template and how to alter it slightly to display your name and slogan. This time we’re going to look at altering it substantially to make it a Sales & Marketing type letter.

Now, you all read Section 11 “Letter Templates” of the Visual Accounts 2000 Help File didn’t you? If you haven’t, please read it now as it will help you considerably with this tutorial. If you have, please open it again so that you can refer to it.

I must stress that this tutorial is not about designing your own letterheads and the like in VA2000, that’s covered in Section 11 of the Help file. It is about adapting the CHASE.TPL that we created in the last tutorial, into a sales letter.

OK, without further ado open VA2000. We need to open CHASE.TPL so

1. Click on Edit on the Menu Bar
2. Click on Mail Merge Template…
3. Click on the “Load” Button and Load in CHASE.TPL

Nugget Time

Always, always, always, save your new file straight away with a new name so that you don’t overwrite the one you are using for the template. This applies not only to Visual Accounts, but any other file or program that you use as a “template”.

1. Click on the “Save As” Button
2. Save the new template as SALES1.TPL

We can now work on this new file without fear over overwriting CHASE.TPL

We need to make a few changes to the template, specifically: Remove or change all the Remittance Advice parts.

Marketing Guru?

Before we go any further, I would like to point out that I’m a Systems Analyst, not a Sales and Marketing Guru. This tutorial is about getting you familiar with the Template Editing Interface in Visual Accounts (fancy terms now eh? - I told you I was a Systems Analyst), not with how to write sales “copy”. There are lots of references on the web as to how to write good sales copy – the best, in my opinion, is anything by Mark Joyner.

OK, being a Systems Analyst means you analyse things (or, at least you’re supposed to be able to) so here are three of my tips for a sales letter to an existing customer:

• Talk to them (not I, I, I but you, you, you)
• Tell them what your product can do for THEM (not necessarily the same as what it does). Why it will make their life so much better, easier, happier, safer, etc
• Back up your sales pitch with a testimonial, if you have one, otherwise give them another reason to buy (special offer, discount, cuddly toy, free pen etc.) or both

For the purposes of this Sales Letter, we have to remember that Shields is a Plumbing firm so this will be a plumbing orientated sales letter. Now, I couldn’t, for the life of me, think why anyone would want a piece of copper pipe soldered to another piece of copper pipe just for the hell of it, so I came up with the “Comfy Mahogany Luxury Toilet Seat”. Steve Shields has just taken delivery of 100 of them (at a cost of £19.99 each) and needs to sell them (“to the Gentry”) as quickly as possible.

Another Nugget

When we, at JQL, enter a new customer into Visual Accounts we tend to put the Customer’s name in the “Name” field, in the form of Title, Initials, Surname (e.g. Mr JQ Lavelle rather than John Lavelle), and the Company Name (assuming they have one) in the address field along with their address. This means that we can use the name field in Mail Merge etc. to personalise the letters, invoices etc. (See Tutorial 2 for more information on our Customer system). Being able to personalise our correspondence, I think, makes for a better relationship with our Business Partners.

Let’s Do it

Enough waffle, let’s create the letter.

1. Come down to where it says “Dear Sirs,” and double click on it

2. Click on the “Text” button and delete the “Sirs,” but leave the spaceafter the “Dear ”

3. Click on OK (twice)

4. We’re going to recycle some of the used fields so double click on the field which contains just the £ sign in the middle of the Template

5. Change the Font to:
a. Font Size 9.0
b. Remove the tick from the “Bold” Check Box
c. Alignment to “Left”

6. Click on the “Text” button and delete the £ sign
7. Go up to Special Codes and Click on Customer Name

8. Click on OK (twice)

9. Click and Drag the field you just altered, which should now read “<Customer Name>”, up so that the left hand edge is just touching the right hand edge of the “Dear” field and the tops and bottoms of both fields are aligned to one another

10. Come down to the <INV9,999.99> and double click on it
11. Remove the tick from the “Visible” Check Box
12. Click and Drag the field up to the top of the letter so its out of the way
13. Come down to the first paragraph field, the one that starts “We notice from our records…”, and double click on it
14. Click on the “Text” button and delete the whole sentence
15. Type in the following (pressing enter at the end of each line and twice at the end of the first paragraph).

You’re having half an hour’s peace and quiet reading the Weekend FT, when you finally get up you find that your legs are numb from the knees down. What you need is a new and very comfortable toilet seat – as it’s the only place you can guarantee peace and quiet!

The “Comfy Mahogany Luxury Toilet Seat” is so comfortable that you can complete the whole of the Weekend FT, including the How to Spend it supplement, and go straight out to the tennis court afterwards. No embarrassing moments with numb legs.

16. Click on OK (twice)
17. Double click on the second paragraph, the one that starts “We would appreciate…”
18. Click on the “Text” button and delete the whole sentence
19. Type the following (pressing enter at the end of each line and twice at the end of the first paragraph).

Sir Jim Ronson, who has already had two of these wonderfully comfortable toilet seats fitted, said: “The Comfy Mahogany Luxury Toilet Seat has made my Saturday mornings. It’s so comfortable that I could spend all day checking the stocks and shares and not notice my surroundings”.

As a very special offer, for this week only, the “Comfy Mahogany Luxury Toilet Seat” is £49.99 including fitting. Buy two and save an extra £10.

20. Click on OK (twice)
21. Click and Drag the field up so that it is below the first paragraph field
22. Double click on one of the fields marked Spare towards the bottom of the template and change the font to:
a. Font Size 9.0
b. Remove the tick from the “Bold” Check Box (if it is ticked)
c. Alignment to “Left”
23. Make sure the “Visible” Check Box IS ticked
24. Click on the “Text” button and enter the following (pressing enter at the end of each line).

You don’t have to suffer numb legs for your precious half hour of peace and quiet. Phone Steve Shields today on 0123456789 and read next Saturday’s Weekend FT in pure comfort.

25. Click on OK (twice)
26. Click and Drag the field up so that it is below the second paragraph field
27. Click and Drag the “yours sincerely” and your name field so that they are below the last paragraph

28. Click “Save As” and overwrite SALES1.TPL
29. Click on “Close” and press “Yes” when asked to save the template (making it the default Mail Merge Template)
30. Click on Reports on the Menu Bar
31. Click on Mail Merge…
32. Click on BAKER ESTATES
33. Press and hold down the CONTROL Key on the keyboard (sometimes marked CTRL)
34. Click on ZIMMER Mr Zimmerman
35. Release the CONTROL Key

36. Click on the “Report” button and your sales letters are printed.

As in the example above, the first printing usually shows some areas where you haven’t lined things up properly or typos etc. so I recommend that you only print off one letter and make the necessary alterations to the layout, rechecking BEFORE doing the complete print run.

There you have it – go and make money with VA2000’s help.

In the next session {FIRSTNAME} we’re going to look at Reports, and how they can help you in your business. Look out for Reporting For Duty in your mail box tomorrow!


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