Copywriting That Sells
Sales Letter Secrets From The Man
Who Sold Coal By The Train Carload
By Yanik Silver
If you were to ask any of the top copywriting pros who
learned from - one name is sure to be repeated over and over
again -- Robert Collier.
In the 1930s, Robert Collier was able to sell just about
everything from train carloads of coal to men's clothing
by using the power of his pen. And right now I'm going to
share with you 2 of the most powerful letter concepts he
repeatedly used to sell millions!
One of Collier's most successful letters was his "will you
me a favor?" letter. It was based on a story he read about
how a manager of a company asked a competing business for a
favor, which started a relationship that blossomed into the
two companies joining together.
Collier thought this same idea might work in print...and
boy did it ever!
Here's how he used this concept to sell 20,000 raincoats at
a time (and over a dozen other products). This letter is
really universal in its application, so study it carefully:
* * *
Will you do me a favor?
For twelve years now, you know, we have been selling the
famous "Keepdry" Coat direct to the consumer, at a savings
of many dollars from the usual retail price.
This year I want to vary our line a bit, so I have changed
the fabric to one that looks like a smart topcoat -- but
will still shed rain. And instead of the usual
raincoat model, I'm using a single-breasted topcoat model
that appeals to men because it has style, and yet retains
that loose, comfortable look of the well-tailored light
I believe that anyone who ever gets out in stormy or wet
weather will like this "Any Weather" Coat better than any
raincoat or topcoat he can buy, but you know how it is in
merchandising -- you can never be sure of such things until
after you have sunk a lot of money in them.
Which brings me to the favor:
I want to make sure of the demand -- or lack of demand --
before we sink too much money in this new coat. So I've come
to you as a customer of the house:
Will you try out one of these new "Any Weather" Topcoats
for me for a week -- WEAR IT -- see how it feels, how it
looks, how it compares with topcoats you have bought at $25
or $30? Above all, how it keeps out wind and rain? And then
Letter goes on to explain features and benefits of the
new coat with a special introductory price for
Naturally, I am not making offers like this to everyone, so
whether you accept it or not, I should feel obliged if you
would return the card so as to insure against its falling
into other hands.
Naturally, too, your opinion will be of value to me only if
I get it NOW -- before the Fall season has really opened --
before we are definitely committed for any great quantity of
these new all-weather coats.
Won't you, therefore, fill in the three simple measurements
on the card TONIGHT if you can, and mail it? On second
better mail it right away -- while you have it in your
so there will be no chance of forgetting it.
* * *
You should notice the subtle psychology used here. People
giving opinions and helping, so by asking, you make people
Boardroom reports, one of the top direct marketing companies
in the country, (the people who write Bottom Line Business,
Bottom Line Personal, and Bottom Line Health) are using this
technique for two different offers (which means it's working
very well). Here's the opening to a recent letter I
* * *
Our records show that you're one of our best customers, and
that's why I'm writing.
Frankly, I need you help.
I'm asking you to take part in a little marketing trial I've
put together. Our company has a lot riding on the outcome,
so I'm really hoping you'll participate.
If you do, I'll send you one of the most valuable gifts
ever given away. It's our giant new, 51,000-word book, the
"DOCTOR'S LITTLE BLACK BAG OF REMEDIES AND CURES, Vol. I."
I'll explain our marketing trial in a moment...and why your
"verdict" is so important to us. But first, let me tell you
about the special free gift you'll receive just for taking
Letter continues by explaining the free gift and goes on to
explain how the fairest, most honest way to introduce new
products is through sampling.
* * *
That's pretty powerful stuff, eh?
Moving on to the second letter opening Collier found to be
magical. Here are a few examples:
"With your permission, I am going to send you FREE a new,
self-filling black beauty fountain pen-pencil, with your
name stamped upon it in 24 carat solid gold leaf."
"With your permission I am going to make an analysis of
the soil of your lawn to determine -- at my own risk and
expense -- what elements are lacking in it, what you need
for stronger, healthier, more closely grown turf."
These openings were used over and over again by Collier
because they worked. And they still work just as well today
-- here's how a recent mailing from Rodale press started
(mind you this is the control for the last 3 years -- not
an easy task when you mail millions):
* * *
Hot new book reveals...
The Astonishing Sex Secrets Of The Most Satisfied...Most
Knowledgeable...And Most Respected Lovers in the World!
Learn to enjoy the best sex of your life, at any age...
with the amazing secrets and discoveries in this
"For Men Only" book that is dramatically changing men's
(and women's) lives literally overnight...
With your permission (and with strict precautions for
I am going to send you one of the most important and
books every released by an American publisher.
* * *
Now both these letter concepts are incredibly powerful and
they've been proven to work for the last 70 years. (And my
bet is they'll continue working for at least 70 more!) So
what are you waiting for? Start putting these techniques to
work right away in your business.
(c)2000 Surefire Marketing, Inc.
Yanik Silver has developed a whole series of sales letter
templates available at ==>
In less than 3 minutes you can create a winning letter
guaranteed to sell your product or service...WITHOUT WRITING!
Or you can get more surefire marketing secrets by subscribing to Yanik's free Ezine - just send a blank email =======> mailto:email@example.com
Just 29-years old, Yanik Silver is recognized as the leading expert on
creating automatic, moneymaking web sites...and he's only been online full
time since February 2000! He is the author and publisher of several
best-selling marketing books and tools including:
Yanik specializes in creating powerful systems and resources for entrepreneurs to enhance
their businesses. When away from the office Yanik enjoys playing beach volleyball, ice hockey,
skiing and working on his golf game.