The Boron Letters - Chapter 14
Monday, 9:05 AM
June 25, 1984
Today we are going to talk about that baggie full of dirt
that we have attached to our real estate investment sales
Now, listen up. While it is true that you must attract
attention to your advertisements and sales letters, it is
also true that your "attention grabber" should be relevant.
It should tie in with your message. It should make sense.
Once upon a time there was a guy who wrote a series of
articles for a magazine called "Printers Ink." I forget the
guys pen name but he was very good. He wrote about how to
improve DM & MO advertising.
Well, anyway, he once called an excellent example of how you
should NOT attract attention. Check out this headline:
And then, beneath that headline was the copy: "No, we don't
have a submarine that flies but our pink pills, etc., etc."
A cheap shot. People resent this kind of fraud. Don't do it.
If you put your mind to work you won't have to either. You
can grab attention without "cheating", without making the
reader feel ripped off. Which brings me right back to our
dirt filled baggie.
Do you remember how I explained that the baggie has our
reader wondering why you sent it to him? That he wants to
know what's going on here? That we have his focused
attention? Quality attention?
You say you do remember all that? Good. In that case, I'll
Now, here's how the letter will start off:
Dear Mr. Tiberion,
I am attaching a plastic baggie to the top of this letter
for two important reasons:
First of all, what I have to say to you is very serious and
I needed some way to be sure to get your attention.
And secondly, what is inside that baggie could very well be
your passport to complete financial independence!
Why is this? The answer is simple: You see, what is inside
that baggie is a very tiny amount of what is the most
valuable thing on earth.
I'm talking about real estate and, in this case,
Yes, it's true. The sand inside that baggie was taken
directly from a certain beach on the island of Maui and this
particular beach is one of the few left that is open for
purchase to private investors!
Here's what it's all about: blah, blah, blah, etc., etc.,
O.K., Bondodog, do you follow what I'm doing here? You see,
what I did is I got his attention and then I tied my copy to
my "attention grabber" in a relevant way that makes sense.
Now, if I were to continue writing this letter, I would use
words that would make my reader "picture with pleasure" that
beach in his mind. Before I was finished, he would be able
to feel the sand in his toes, smell the fresh tang of the
salt air, drink in the stars with his eyes and feel the warm
friendly sun on his back.
Oddly enough, just a couple days ago, I received from Eric a
copy of a sales letter he is writing to sell Hawaiian real
estate. I am going to send Eric's letter to you real soon
and I want you to read it and then imagine how much his
letter could be improved by using all the little secrets
(including the baggie) that we have just discussed.
Well oh well, what have we got so far? Let's see: we picked
out our list, we know how to think about outside envelopes
and return envelopes, we have thought up a way to get our
reader's attention and we have the first couple paragraphs
of our letter.
But, in most cases, we need more than a letter and a reply
envelope. Yes, in most cases, it is good to include an order
card and some type of printed brochure. I like to include an
order card and a brochure with my sales letters. However, I
do not like to let my reader see my order card, etc. as soon
as he opens the envelope.
Do you know why? That's right. I don't want him to realize
that I want to sell him something until I am well into my
pitch. Here is something else you should know: Many people,
when they read an ad, read it like this... What they do is,
they read the headline first and then they go right to the
The same is true with direct mail letters. If your reader
sees your order card as soon as he opens your envelope, he
will read it first to see what the deal is.
And, that's not good for us. It is true, of course, that we
do want him to read our order card but we want him to read
it at the proper time! And the proper time is after he has
read our letter.
Now, how in the world do we include an order card and/or a
sales brochure in our envelope and still hide it
(temporarily) from our reader?
Believe it or not, it took me years to figure this out. And,
just like the paperclip, it is so simple, you wonder why you
didn't see it instantly.
Here's how I do it: What I do is, take an 8-1/2x11 piece of
paper and cut it in half long ways.
Next I fold the cut pieces in thirds like this:
- - -
- - -
Now, turn the piece around and write this on the back:
NOTE: Open this paper
to find the special info mentioned in my letter.
OK, now, that which I have just written should be printed in
blue ink and appear to be handwritten. Notice that it refers
him to my letter and it is personalized with my initials.
Now here is what he will see when he finally opens that
Here Is The Info I Mentioned In
O.K., kiddo, here is my final point for the day. Although I
like my letters to be personal, in most cases, I also like
them to be "businesslike personal".
And, that's why part of the package should be typeset and
maybe contain some photographs. Your see, this adds an air
of stability to your promotion. It makes you seem like a
Again, I want to emphasize that in order to make it easy to
order (and to credential our offer) we need stuff like order
cards, brochures, photos, and typeset copy.
But, again, as I said, we want our reader to see this stuff
at the proper time.
AFTER HE HAS READ OUR LETTER!
I Love You and Good Luck!
couple things need to be updated regarding this letter.
start with, computers have made it so BREs (Business Reply Envelopes)
no longer are slowed very much for tabulating purposes. This
letter was written before high-speed computers were so wide
this was written when phone calls other than local calls were
costly and reply envelopes were more important. THEY STILL ARE,
but when testing the phone order option, many times only being
able to order over the phone works best and more and more the
phone and internet are becoming the preferred ways to order..
the phone, there is no delay and as pop says, "in sales,
delay is death." The things that can happen between reading
copy and sending a check in the mail is far greater than the
things that can happen between reading the copy and picking
up the phone.
last note is that my dad preferred hiding the BRE in an envelope
marked "Do not open until you have read my letter".
More often than not he put an order coupon in there too.
Copyright © 2005 Gary C. Halbert. All Rights