Dear friend and
don't want to get mushy here but I would be truly remise if I failed to
acknowledge all the generous and heartfelt feedback I received from
last month's letter. You know, I don't think anything I've ever written
has generated so much honest emotion right from the very soul of my
enough of that stuff. Now, sharpen up and pay attention. Listen: did
you ever wonder if maybe you're overlooking something very important in
bet you are. You see, if you're at all like most people, there is a
huge and vitally important advertising concept to which you never give
a second thought. This is a secret so powerful that just being
aware of it can hype the effectiveness of your sales campaigns almost
worry. You're going to know all about it before you finish this issue.
However, I think it'll be best if I sort of "sneak up" on it for a
couple of pages rather than give it to you cold. That's the best way, I
believe, to make it stick in your mind forever. Anyway, a clue to this
secret lies hidden in the following four items of interest:
#1: A guy buys a beer joint
that's doing a good business in a blue collar neighborhood. His first
move is to decorate the joint and give it a little class and to lower his prices.
you guess what happens? It's quite simple. He loses most of his customers!
#2: People in a slum moan and
bitch about their living conditions. The government steps in, tears
down the slum and builds shiny, new apartment buildings into which the
ghetto folks are allowed to live rent-free.
happens? The ghetto folks spray graffiti on the walls, use the
elevators as toilets and, in general, trash the building.
#3: A guy who has never broken
100 is shooting a round of golf. After the first 9 holes, he notices
he's doing exceptionally well and has only used up 36 strokes. And, if
he keeps this up for the next 9 holes, he'll shoot par for the first
time in his life.
What happens? On the back 9,
he reverts to his normal game (and then some) and finishes the course
in 103 strokes.
#4: A self-made Cuban with good
self-esteem has all of his property and wealth confiscated by the
happened? The Cuban moves to Miami, starts a business and, within a
short time, becomes prosperous all over again.
does all this suggest? Actually, these little mini slices-of-life tend
to confirm one of Halbert's Major Laws Of Marketing which is:
BEINGS WILL DO
ALMOST ANYTHING TO REMAIN
IN THEIR COMFORT ZONE!
you ever heard about the hierarchy of human needs? Maybe you studied it
in sociology or psychology. Anyway, according to what you learn in
college, the #1 human need is survival. After that comes sex. Then,
further down the line is the need for an extended family, a need to
contribute to society, etc.
beg to differ. As usual, those college guys have got it wrong. I'll
agree that the #1 need is for survival but #2 is not sex. No sir, #2,
just below survival, is the need for humans to remain in their own
comfort zone. Not only that, sometimes this need is so strong, it actually eclipses
example: remember my issue on grabbers, those little devices you attach
to a letter to grab your reader's attention. Well, there is more than
one kind of grabber. For example, many restaurants keep a quite
different type of grabber on hand. It's like a huge pair of plastic
tweezers and it is used to grab chunks of food that get stuck in a
see, many Americans, because of haste or denture problems, are often
not able to properly masticate a mouthful of meat. So, when they try to
swallow, the meat gets stuck in their throat, blocks off their air
supply and, if not removed promptly, causes them to die of suffocation.
is no laughing matter. It actually happens quite often. But, you know
what? Whenever it does happen, often the suffocating person will be more worried about
being embarrassed than he will about dying.
thing with heart attacks. Ask any doctor. Often a poor soul in the
throes of cardiac arrest will say something like:
me, I hate to bother
you but I think I'm having
a heart attack."
polite. Very eager not to make waves. Very concerned about not being
too much of a bother to anyone. Very concerned...
NOT DOING ANYTHING
THAT WILL MAKE HIM
when you ask someone to buy your goods or services, you are asking him
to disrupt his comfy routine. And, if
what you're selling is new to him, you're asking him to do something
very uncomfortable which is to make a decision
that will alter his lifestyle.
listen, it is just as uncomfortable to alter your lifestyle up as it is
to alter it down. You see, in a word, the thing that's most
psychologically uncomfortable for humans is...
Any kind of change, good or bad.
Which means you must use great skill in order to sell someone a new
product or service. Most direct response advertisers don't acknowledge
this. What they do is, they act like all their prospects are "already
pre-conditioned" to buy their wares.
Which just ain't so.
if you're a dope dealer and you walk into a room full of strung-out
junkies, you can get away with a simple pitch like...
wanna buy some heroin?
that's the way all too many folks in our business approach
would-be-customers â€“ as though they were already eager for what they're selling.
Let me tell you something: the average American is subjected to some
1,500 sales pitches every
WANNA BUY SOME
CHANCE TO GET TIME-LIFE AT
HALF THE NEWSTAND PRICE!
HEY DUMBO! YOU
WANNA BUY SOME
GOOP THAT GROWS
HAIR ON BALD HEADS.
OUR NEW PILL LETS YOU
EAT LIKE A HOG AND
LOOK LIKE AN ANOREXIC!
BUY! BUY! BUY! BUY! BUY! BUY!
so on. No warm up. No dignity. No simple respect. No sales savvy,
me, there is a far better way.
to this: it has been proven that music really does have the ability to
elevate our mood. However, if you're in a sad mood, what you shouldn't
do is start right out by listening to happy music. No. What you do is
start out with music that matches your current mood and then, little by
little, you elevate the mood and the beat of the music by degrees until
your mood is where you want it to be.
you don't, if you instead start with super bouncy music being played to
a super depressed person, then the mood of the music and the mood of
the person will be so far apart they will clash and you will not
achieve the desired result.
other words, if you want to warm up a room full of people, you achieve
better results by gradually turning up the rheostat then you will by
setting the room on fire.
talk about tugboats. Hark unto me. When a tugboat goes out to rescue an
ocean liner, the main thing the tugboat captain has got to do is get
the two vessels connected with a huge steel cable perhaps half a foot
thick. But how? How do you get half a ton of steel cable from one boat
to another in the middle of a raging sea?
answer is simple. What you do first is, you take a thing sort of
like a high-powered harpoon gun and you shoot a skinny, lightweight
nylon or silk rope across the bow of the ocean liner. Then the guys
on the ocean liner start hauling in the skinny rope which is attached
(maybe 40 yards later) to a thicker rope which, in turn, is attached
to an even thicker rope which is attached to a skinny steel cable
which is attached to a thicker cable and eventually those ships are
both connected to...
BIG FAT CABLE
THAT SAVES THE DAY!
sure by now, my point is obvious. What I'm saying is you'll generally
do better if you try to "reel in" your prospects than you will
be shouting at them like some demented banshee. I've said it before and
I'll say it again...
IS NOT SELLING!
let's try and apply what we've learned here. Many years ago when I was
selling the Americana Encyclopedia door-to-door, I was told to dress in
a suit and tie, walk right up to my prospect's door with my briefcase
in hand, knock loudly, grin like hell and paw the ground with my feet
like a bull about to charge a red cape.
Standard sales technique.
But it wasn't for me. Nope. What I did instead was, I didn't carry a
briefcase, I didn't wear a suit and tie and I didn't act like
an adrenalized positive thinker raring to bust that
door. I generally went to the door dressed in slacks and a short-sleeve
dress shirt, rang the doorbell and then turned my back and...
what my prospect would see when he or she came to the door was a neat
young guy with his back to her admiring the roses or the lawn or
something. And then, the prospect (generally a woman) would say, "Yes?"
And I'd turn around and say, "Oh, excuse me, I was looking at your
roses. Listen, maybe you could help me, I think I've got the wrong
"Sure. Who are you looking for?"
"The Mergatroid family," I'd say. "I've been asked to get in touch with
"This is the Mergatroid family," she'd say. â€œYou've got the right
"Oh, good! Listen, can I come
in and talk with you for just minute?"
"Why sure. Come on in."
Do you see the difference between the two approaches? The first way
tenses people up. It immediately puts them on guard. The second way
takes the threat out of the situation. It puts them at ease.
YOU WANT PEOPLE
TO TUNE IN TO YOUR SALES
PITCH, YOU'VE GOT TO START
BROADCASTING AT THE FREQUENCY
TO WHICH THEY ARE ALREADY LISTENING!
proven principle has many applications. It suggests your direct mail
advertising should be a low-key (but compelling) personal letter and not a drooling, high-gloss
It says your ads should look editorial and non-threatening. It says you
should mail postcards and invite people to call and listen to a
Which is a lot less scary than talking to a live person.
It also means you should maybe consider doing more two-stepping then
you do now. For example, I'm now in the process of expanding my
subscriber base to include a lot of small business owners who are not
usually well versed in the ways of high-impact direct marketing.
And, one of the ways I'm trying to rope these people in is to
start by running a small display ad in the business sections of daily
newspapers like the Los Angeles Times.
what the ad looks like:
you need more customers?
New Reports From Top Ad
Reveal 5 Amazing Secrets
1. What to write on a
simple postcard mailing that will make people
flood into your business!
2. How to mail up to
100,000 letters per week at no cost whatsoever. Not
3. How to get the name
and address of every man, woman and child
who is ever likely to become one of your
4. How to get yourself
and/or your business featured on cable TV
without spending a penny!
5. How to make your ad in
the yellow pages 400% more effective, without making it bigger!
for free brochure.
then, is my harpoon shot carrying my skinny little silken cord
across the bow of my target. What happens next is, when they call
in, we capture their name and address and they receive a letter
(reprinted below)which is the thicker rope attached to my
325 E. Hillcrest Drive #203
I know that, as a business person, your
time is very valuable. Therefore, I'm sending $5.00 with this letter
because I'm writing to ask a favor and I want to pay for it in advance.
Don't worry. It's not very complicated
and it won't take much of your time. All I want is for you to call me
or my secretary and give me a decision on something after you read this
letter. It'll only take a moment.
Anyway, the reason I'm writing is
because you answered my ad today in the Los Angeles Times. I'm sure you
remember the ad. It's the one that refers to the hot new reports I've
created that reveal the following 5 amazing secrets:
- What to write on a simple
postcard mailing that will make people flood into
- How to mail up to 100,000
letters per week at no cost whatsoever. Not even postage!
- How to get the name and
address of every man, womean and child who is ever likely to become one
of your customers!
- How to get yourself and/or
your business featured on cable TV without spending a penny!
- How to make your ad in the
yellow pages 400% more effective, without making it bigger!
Listen: these reports are free
get them with a trial subscription to my newsletter and, you get to
keep them even if you decide to cancel your subscription.
Won't you please give my proposition
attention? All the details are inside the sealed envelope I"ve enclosed
with this letter.
By the way, just in case you think I'm
some small-time guy who doesn't know his stuff, consider this: over the
years, my clients and subscribers have included:
& Tove Borgnine
Vikkin Lamotta Cosmetics
|Dun & Bradstreet
Mark Harold son
Plus, many others
names are right out of the FORTUNE 500!
So anywhay, please do me this favor.
Just look over the material in the sealed envelope and then call my
office. If you decide you are not interested simply ask for Miss
Fletcher and tell her to take your name off our mailing list.
On the other hand, if you are going to
subscrive, I'd be honored if, when you call, you would chat with
for just a few moments.
Either way, thanks for your time.
I know you don't
need $5 but it was worth it to me if I was able to catch your
attention. So, please feel free to keep my fiver and buy flowers for
your sweatheart or perhaps give it to charity. All I can say is thank you for
reading this letter and giving it your prompt attention.
the way, my phone
number is (323) 851-8275. It. Would be a big favor to me, if you would
not only call today but, if you would call even if you are going to
subscribe by mail.
what's inside the sealed envelope referred to in my thick rope
letters? Aha! It's nothing less than my 8-page hard-sell steel
cable subscription letter.
don't you think this approach has a better chance of working than
me running an ad for marketing neophytes that screams out
STRUGGLING BUSINESS PEOPLE!
WANNA SPEND $195.00
LET SOME EGOMANIAC
YOU HOW TO ADVERTISE?
no contest. No contest at all.