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The Robert Collier Letter Book
Read in 18 min.
Listen in 22 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Robert Collier

The Robert Collier Letter Book

Learning the art of persuasive writing from timeless techniques written by a master

Written in the early 1930s, Robert Collier's The Robert Collier Letter Book is a manual from which even today’s top sellers can learn something. The author explains how to write an effective sales letter, using hundreds of examples and case studies. The basis of his method is total identification with each reader and the state of mind they are in when they receive the sales letter. Collier speaks to his readers with enthusiasm, and reveals many useful principles for practicing persuasive copywriting techniques, not only in letter writing but in all sales activities that involve the written word.

The Robert Collier Letter Book
Read in 18 min.
Listen in 22 min.

For a sales strategy to be defined as effective, we first need to study the client’s potential, and then the product

Why are some sales letters more effective than others? According to the author, it mainly depends on how well you know your target. To be convincing, one must learn to enter into the reader’s mind, to understand his desires, his thoughts, his interests, and his beliefs. Knowing what he is thinking when he reads the letter not only requires a thorough knowledge of your target audience, but also a particular sensitivity on the part of the copywriter.

There are some tricks that you can use to attract the reader’s attention, such as always starting your letter with a question. The question stimulates the person's mind and invites him to answer. Keeping interest alive is essential to ensure that the customer continues reading and eventually takes some kind of action. That's why, starting the letter with the right words means having fully captured the reader's attention.

We need to show the reader a problem that they can recognise. In this way, we establish a point of contact with his needs, fears and his desires. There is no point in grabbing their attention if you fail to take the person to the next step, which is to be interested in what you have to say.

An intelligent copywriter tries first and foremost, to understand what his client is talking about, so that he can then say something pertinent to that subject, and only later bring the discussion around to their problem, to go on to offer them a solution. The most effective way to do this is to use some kind of bait: find what interests the customer and give it to him in your very first lines.

Finding the right bait is the first obstacle to overcome. You can have a fancy boat and sophisticated equipment but, if the bait is wrong, you won't be able to catch any fish. The right bait is the one that allows you to attract a specific audience, not a random mass of people.

Often those who are looking to sell a product or service have no idea what their customer wants, how they see things, and what occupies their mind most of the time. By having extensive knowledge of your client, you can load the product or service with attention and value, so as to trigger an emotion.

Once you have attracted their attention, it is important to decide what effect you want to have on the reader, and which emotions you want to arouse. Make sure that people focus exclusively on the message, and completely forget who is sending it.


The key ideas of "The Robert Collier Letter Book"

For a sales strategy to be defined as effective, we first need to study the client’s potential, and then the product
Behind every successful sales letter always lies an emotional thrill that drives your reader to carry out an action
Through storytelling you can capture people’s interest and hold the reader’s attention
People buy to enjoy the benefits or advantages of a product or service. The task of a copywriter is to anticipate their reader’s desires
The importance of hooks in the sales letter to convince the reader to take action without delay
The importance of “try before you buy” and of the first sale to earn a loyal customer and to multiply your profit
The concepts of guarantee and continuity: how to earn loyal customers and continued earnings
The secret to writing the ideal sales letter
Take-home message
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