When you have set up your own business, you must, of course, start selling your goods or services. One way is by using direct mail – in other words, sending a sales letter (or email) directly to companies that might want to do business with you.

One important factor is your mailing list – that is, who you contact.

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You can build this up from your own market research, existing clients and advertising responses, or you can contact list brokers and rent or buy a compiled list. If you are contacting a business, it is important to address the letter to the Q1 decision maker, ideally by name or at least by job title.

While the desirability and price of the product on offer will obviously influence sales, you also need to gain the maximum Q2 impact from your sales letter. To achieve that, bear the following points in mind:

•  You have no more than two seconds from when the reader starts the letter to convince them to continue. If you fail, they will throw it away. The Q3 opening is crucial to attract their attention. And so that they don’t lose interest, avoid having too much text.

•  Try to send each mailing in a Q4 white envelope. It might be cheaper to use a brown envelope but it doesn’t make for such good presentation.

•  Include a Q5 brochure Depending on the volume and on whether you can afford the cost, try to use at least two-colour printing for this. If practicable, it may be worth enclosing a free Q6 sample – this is a much greater incentive than photographs.

•  However interested your potential clients are in buying, they will only do so if it can be done easily. So, include an order form (and of course details of how to return it) with your letter.

•  When you receive your replies, assess your Q7 response rate and monitor the sales. If necessary, the sales letter can then be amended to attract other clients on subsequent mail shots; make sure each different letter is coded so that monitoring is easy and effective.

•  Ensure that each reply is dealt with quickly and professionally. If further details are requested, these must be sent out promptly. There is no point in encouraging potential customers to contact you if your service is slow or non-existent.

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IELTS READING – Sydney Opera House Tours S17GT2

IELTS SIMULATOR ONLINE IELTS READING EASY DEMO - Sydney Opera House Tours The Essential Tour brings to life the story behind the design


Sydney Opera House Tours

We offer three different tours of this iconic building.

A. The Essential Tour brings to life the story behind the design and construction of one of the world’s most famous landmarks. Using interactive audio-visual technology, your guide will take you on a memorable journey inside the youngest building ever to be World Heritage listed.

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B. Afterwards, why not stay around and eat at the Studio Cafe, with its modern Australian menu? Not only can you enjoy the best views in Sydney, you can claim a 20% reduction on the total cost of your meal. (Don’t forget to show your ticket in order to claim your discount.)

C. Languages: English, French, German

Takes place: Daily between 9 am and 5 pm

Q5 Prices: Adults $35 I Online $29.75

Q1 Concessions: Australian seniors and

pensioners; students and children of 16 and under $24.50.

Prior bookings are not essential.

D. The Backstage Tour gives you backstage access co the Sydney Opera House. It is a unique opportunity to experience the real-life dramas behind the stage! Q3 You might even get to stand on the concert hall stage, take up a conductor’s baton in the orchestra pit and imagine you are leading the performance. You will also get to see inside the stars’ dressing rooms. The tour concludes with a complimentary breakfast in the Green Room, the private dining area of performers past and present.

E. Takes place: Daily at 7 am

Prices: $155. No concessions.

Q4 To purchase: Bookings are essential.

Limited to 8 people per tour.

Q6 Online sales expire at 4.30 pm two days prior.

Notes: The tour includes up to 300 steps. Q2 Flat, rubber-soled shoes must be worn. For safety reasons, children of 12 years old and under are not permitted.

F. Opera High Tea consists of a tour where you will walk in the footsteps of world-class singers, dancers and musicians, followed by fine food and music in the spectacular surroundings of the Bennelong Dining Room. What could be better than a treat of delicious light snacks and soft drinks followed by a live recital by a leading Australian singer? An unforgettable treat for young and old!

G. Takes place: Every second Wednesday, 2 pm

Q7 Duration: 1.5 hours

Prices: $145 per person

Book online or visit the Guided Tours Desk.

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IELTS READING – Smoke alarms in the home S17GT1



Smoke alarms in the home

Q1 Smoke alarms are now a standard feature in Australian homes and are required by the National Building Code in any recently built properties. They are installed to detect the presence of smoke and emit a clear sound to alert you in the event of fire to give you time to escape.

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Q2 There are two principal types of smoke alarms. Ionization alarms are the cheapest and most readily available smoke alarms. They are also very sensitive to ‘flaming fires’ -fires that burn fiercely-and will detect them before the smoke gets too thick. However, photoelectric alarms are more effective at detecting slow-burning fires. They are less likely to go off accidentally and so are best for homes with one floor. For the best protection, you should install one of each.

Q3 It takes a short time to fit most smoke alarms. NOT GIVEN

Most battery-powered smoke alarms can be installed by the home owner and do not require professional installation. Q4 For the installation of hard-wired smoke alarms, powered from the mains electricity supply, however, you will need the services of a licensed professional. Smoke alarms are usually most effective when located on the ceiling, near or in the middle of the room or hall.

Photoelectric smoke alarms in any quantity may be disposed of in domestic waste. Q5 If you have fewer than ten ionization alarms to get rid of, you may put them in your domestic waste. If you have more than ten to dispose of, you should contact your local council.

Q6 Your battery-powered smoke alarm will produce a short beep every 60 second to alert you when the battery is running out and needs replacing. Nevertheless, it should be tested every month to ensure that the battery and the alarm sounder are working. Note that the sensitivity in all smoke alarms will reduce over time.

Q7 Old smoke alarms need to be checked more than once a month. NOT GIVEN.

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IELTS READING – When evolution runs backwards S17AT3

IELTS SIMULATOR ONLINE IELTS READING EASY DEMO - When evolution runs backwards The description of any animal as an ‘evolutionary throwback’ is controversial

When evolution runs backwards

Evolution isn’t supposed to run backwards – yet an increasing number of examples show that it does and that it can sometimes represent the future of a species.

The description of any animal as an ‘evolutionary throwback’ is controversial. Q6 For the better part of a century, most biologists have been reluctant to use those words, mindful of a principle of evolution that says ‘evolution cannot run backwards.

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But as more and more examples come to light and modern genetics enters the scene, that principle is having to be rewritten. Not only are evolutionary throwbacks possible, they sometimes play an important role in the forward march of evolution.

The technical term for an evolutionary throwback is an ‘atavism’, from the Latin atavus, meaning forefather. The word has ugly connotations thanks largely to Cesare Lombroso, a 19th-century Italian medic who argued that criminals were born not made and could be identified by certain physical features that were throwbacks to a primitive, sub-human state.

Q7 While Lombroso was measuring criminals, a Belgian palaeontologist called Louis Dollo was studying fossil records and coming to the opposite conclusion. In 1890 he proposed that evolution was irreversible: that ‘an organism is unable to return, even partially, to a previous stage already realised in the ranks of its ancestors. Q1 Early 20th-century biologists came to a similar conclusion, though they qualified it in terms of probability, stating that there is no reason why evolution cannot run backwards -it is just very unlikely. And so the idea of irreversibility in evolution stuck and came to be known as ‘Dollo’s law.

If Dollo’s law is right, atavisms should occur only very rarely, if at all. Yet almost since the idea took root, exceptions have been cropping up. In 1919, for example, a humpback whale with a pair of leglike appendages over a metre long, complete with a full set of limb bones, was caught off Vancouver Island in Canada. Q2 Explorer Roy Chapman Andrews argued at the time that the whale must be a throwback to a land-living ancestor. ‘I can see no other explanation, he wrote in 1921.

Since then, Q8 so many other examples have been discovered that it no longer makes sense to say that evolution is as good as irreversible. And this poses a puzzle: how can characteristics that disappeared millions of years ago suddenly reappear? In 1994, Rudolf Raff and colleagues at Indiana University in the USA decided to use genetics to put a number on the probability of evolution going into reverse. They reasoned that while some evolutionary changes involve the loss of genes and are therefore irreversible, others may be the result of genes being switched off. Q3 If these silent genes are somehow switched back on, they argued, longlost traits could reappear.

Raff’s team went on to calculate the likelihood of it happening. Silent genes accumulate random mutations, they reasoned, eventually rendering them useless. So how long can a gene survive in a species if it is no longer used? The team calculated that there is a good chance of silent genes surviving for up to 6 million years in at least a few individuals in a population, and that some might survive as long as 10 million years. In other words, throwbacks are possible, but only to the relatively recent evolutionary past.

Q4 As a possible example, the team pointed to the mole salamanders of Mexico and California. Like most amphibians these begin life in a juvenile ‘tadpole’ state, then metamorphose into the adult form – except for one species, the axolotl, which famously lives its entire life as a juvenile. The simplest explanation for this is that the axolotl lineage alone lost the ability to metamorphose, while others retained it. From a detailed analysis of the salamanders’ family tree, however, it is clear that the other lineages evolved from an ancestor that itself had lost the ability to metamorphose. In other words, metamorphosis in mole salamanders is an atavism. The salamander example fits with Raff’s 10million-year time frame.

More recently, however, examples have been reported that break the time limit, suggesting that silent genes may not be the whole story. In a paper published last year, biologist Gunter Wagner of Yale University reported some work on the evolutionary history of a group of South American lizards called Bachia. Many of these have minuscule limbs; some look more like snakes than lizards and a few have completely lost the toes on their hind limbs. Other species, however, sport up to four toes on their hind legs. The simplest explanation is that the toed lineages never lost their toes, but Wagner begs to differ. Q5 According to his analysis of the Bachia family tree, Q12 the toed species re-evolved toes from toeless ancestors and, what is more, digit loss and gain has occurred on more than one occasion over tens of millions of years.

Q11 Wagner was the first person to do research on South American lizards. NOT GIVEN

So what’s going on? One possibility is that these traits are lost and then simply reappear, Q9 in much the same way that similar structures can independently arise in unrelated species, such as the dorsal fins of sharks and killer whales. Q10 Another more intriguing possibility is that the genetic information needed to make toes somehow survived for tens or perhaps hundreds of millions of years in the lizards and was reactivated. These atavistic traits provided an advantage and spread through the population, effectively reversing evolution.

But if silent genes degrade within 6 to million years, how can long-lost traits be reactivated over longer timescales? The answer may lie in the womb. Q13 Early embryos of many species develop ancestral features. Snake embryos, for example, sprout hind limb buds. Later in development these features disappear thanks to developmental programs that say ‘lose the leg’. Q14 If for any reason this does not happen, the ancestral feature may not disappear, leading to an atavism.

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