The Boron Letters - Chapter 13
Sunday, 9:02 AM
June 24, 1984
Well, I've found myself a little hideaway near the top of
"The Hill" and I am sitting cross-legged (yoga style) on a
blanket and I am looking out over good old Camp Boron and
writing you this letter.
Did you pay attention to yesterday's lessons? Have you
noticed how I have already used, in this letter, many of the
little ideas I talked about yesterday?
You did notice? Good. Then I guess it's safe to go on.
But before I do (there's a baby rabbit about 7 yards from
me!) I want to tell you that I just talked to your mom and
it put some pain in my brain. She works hard and now that I
am in here she more or less feels she's out there all alone
against the wolves. Rick wants money. Chuck wants money.
Your mom has bills and I feel very pressured.
But you once said the smartest thing I've ever heard a kid
say. You said that you were luckier than Jeff because when
Jeff lived with me I was already rich and that you get to be
with me when I am not rich and, therefore, you get to learn
how I solve problems, especially money problems.
Well, maybe we can both learn something today. (NOTE: I say
"well" almost as often as Ronnie Reagan, don't I?) What I
feel like doing is sniveling. I'd love to take some drugs or
alcohol and forget my problems. Or maybe just lie on my bunk
all day and read a book.
At the very least I'd like to eat. But I can't. I can't
because this is my day to fast. And to write to you. And to
Z. And to work on a new ad for L. Etc.
And, so I shall. Not because (that bunny is still right
here!) I want to but, rather, because I need to. You
see, when things are tough I have discovered that a very
very simple (but effective) thing to do is just keep moving
in some sort of positive direction.
And... and... let's talk about envelopes and little baggies
filled with dirt. O.K. as I recall, I was just about to tell
you how to use a SRE to induce guilt in a regular commercial
DM sales pitch.
Here's how: What you do is write something like this:
...and so, Mr. Jones, as you
can see, what I am offering you is a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity to own a piece of a legalized Nevada whorehouse.
I hope you can take advantage of this offer. But, if you
can't, would you please drop me a note and tell you can't
participate at this time. That way I'll feel free to make
this exciting offer to someone else. I've enclosed a
self-addressed envelope and I have even put a stamp on it
because (either way) it is important that I hear from you
Please, please -- reply
Many lessons in that little block of copy. First of all,
it's not just a guilt inducer, it also develops a strong
selling point: Namely, the selling point of this being a
genuine limited offer that some other lucky person will take
advantage of it you don't. And, the stamped envelope tends
to "credential" that point. (I just made a noise and my
little bunny slipped away.) Here's something else: If you
can get a person who is not going to order to agree,
in his mind, to write and tell you he is not going to, then
you will get more orders.
Can you guess why? Aha, you didn't get this one, did you,
smart alec? No matter. I'll tell you why. You see, what
happens sometimes is that a person who is getting a pen or
pencil and a piece of paper in order to write you and tell
you "No" will sometimes start thinking like this: "Well,
you jerk. I'd kind of like to get in on this deal anyway and
now that I've got the pen and paper I may as well go ahead
Now, let's switch our discussion to another kind of envelope
where you also pay the postage for your customer. I'm
talking about, of course, the good old standby known as a
BRE or "Business Reply Envelope".
You've seen thousands of BRE's. They look like this:
If Mailed In U.S. Postage Will Be
201 Anywhere Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 20215
Most mailers love BRE's. They have the advantage of making
it easy for the customer to reply plus the advantage of
being much cheaper than a stamped reply envelope.
The reason they are cheaper is that you only pay the postage
(and BRE fee) for those envelopes that are actually mailed
back to you.
However, they also have some disadvantages. Like these:
They slow up your mail. The post office has to tabulate
how many BRE's you get each day so they'll know how much you
owe. This will hold up your mail (and your cash flow!) for
at least one extra day. Maybe more.
They telegraph that yours is not, in fact, a real
personal letter. You know, sooner or later, you've got to
let your potential customers know that you want him to buy
something. However, if you let him know immediately quite
often he won't even give you a hearing. And, in truth, this
is a disservice to him. Because, quite often, after he reads
your info he will discover that what you have to offer has
genuine value to him.
So try to strategize your mailings so that he at least reads
your letter before he makes a decision.
You can't do good guilt with a BRE. SRE's are much better
for this purpose.
And now, let's talk about yet another type of reply
envelope. I call it the PSH envelope. PSH stands for "Place
Stamp Here". They look like this:
201 Anywhere Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 20215
This is the most economical reply envelope of all. That's
because (obviously) the customer pays the postage. Let's
talk about this envelope: First of all, it's not as
convenient for the customer so you will lose some orders
because of that. On the other hand, this envelope is more
personal so you will gain some orders because of that.
Bondy? I think a solution to your mom's money
problems just popped into my mind!)
Now, of course, this envelope isn't as personal as an SRE
but it is more than a regular BRE. It is, as I have pointed
out, cheaper than both.
What it is, then, is cheaper than a SRE and more personal
than a BRE and, in my judgment, this is the best envelope
for most mailers to use.
More mailers should test PSH envelopes and carefully analyze
the results. Many of them are going to be surprised.
DAMN! I'm getting a little tired of writing about envelopes.
I think I'll switch over to discussing that little baggie
filled with dirt.
However, my hour is up and I've got to go stand count. (They
want to know where I am all the time. They must like me!)
Tune in again tomorrow.
I Love You and Good Luck,
Bond's Notes, see chapter 14
Copyright © 2005 Gary C. Halbert. All Rights