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Written by Admin on April 16th, 2013

Sales Letter Secrets From The Man Who Sold Coal By The Train Carload

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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
they’ve 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
simply 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
do 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:

Dear Customer, 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 double-
breasted 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 overcoat.

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 write

Letter goes on to explain features and
benefits of the new coat with a special introductory price
for customers only.

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
thought, better mail it right away — while you have it in
your hand — so there will be no chance of forgetting it.

You should notice the subtle psychology used here. People
love giving opinions and helping, so by asking, you make
people feel important.

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
we’ve ever given away. It’s our giant new, 51,000-word book,

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 just- released
“For Men Only” book that is dramatically changing men’s (and
women’s) lives literally overnight…

Dear Friend,

With your permission (and with strict precautions for
privacy), I am going to send you one of the most important
and exciting books every released by an American publisher.

—Cut— letter continues.

I guarantee by using the same elements, I just illustrated,
you’ll see your next sales letter produce incredible

Yanik Silver is recognized as the leading expert on impactful
entrepreneurship through business success, giving and lifestyle.

He is the author, co-author or creator of several best-
selling marketing books and tools, including his
simple fill-in-the-blank templates for any business:
Instant Sales Letters

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