Robert Collier - Marketing Master
NEW YORK -- Man who sold coal by the train carload
reveals how to write a letter that sucks money out people's pockets like
an out-of-control vacuum machine.
Robert Collier, the man who's sales
letters are "plagiarized" by most of the world's top copywriters
Robert Collier’s sales letters and marketing strategies are so powerful
and so hypnotic that they are probably “plagiarized” more by the world’s
top copywriters than anything else.
He had the amazing writing ability to sell everyday commodities such as
books, raincoats, fertilizer machinery, stocks, neckties, and tires, all
by U.S. Mail. (He even sold train by the carload!)
As a result, he literally dumped hundreds of millions of dollars into
his clients’ pockets.
Here’s the story:
Collier was born April 19, 1885, in St. Louis, son of Mary Ferguson and
John Collier. His mother died when he and his older brother were not yet
teenagers. His father traveled widely as a foreign correspondent for
Collier's Magazine (founded and published by his uncle, Peter F. Collier).
Collier was educated in a church seminar school and was expected to
become a priest, but before taking his vows, he decided against the life
of a clergyman and headed for West Virginia to seek his fortune.
There he worked as a mining engineer and learned first-hand to deal
with life and humanity.
He was a prolific reader and the books in the mining company's office,
which included applied business correspondence and books on advertising,
gave him the basics of the writing that became his career.
After eight years in West Virginia, he went to New York City and worked
in the advertising department of the P.F. Collier Publishing Company. With
the help and guidance of such experts as Bruce Barton and Fred Stone, he
developed ideas in sales copy, persuading the top men to test them in new
circulars he wrote.
The results were fantastic. He sold many thousands of the Harvard
Classics-a five-foot shelf of books by Dr. Elliott, and his circulars on
the O. Henry stories brought orders for over two million dollars, followed
by orders for over 70,000 books on "The History of the World War."
Collier had the idea for a long time for a set of books on practical
psychology. He put this idea into action, working night and day writing
Within six months after the books were published, he received more than
$1 million worth of orders for them.
The books were entitled, The Secret of the Ages. He sold over 300,000
sets of them. The books really worked. He received thousands of letters
telling of results obtained from reading these books.
Collier wrote four more courses, which he sold separately as, The God
in You, The Secret Power, The Magic Word, and The Law of the Higher
He later combined this excellent material into one book and named it,
The Law of the Higher Potential. It has since been renamed, Riches Within
He also condensed the seven volumes of The Secret of the Ages into one
book, which has proven to be a best seller for many, many years.
Collier's inspirational books have changed the lives of thousands. One
of America's original self-help authors, Collier was a prolific writer and
progressive publisher who strongly believed that happiness and abundance
were within easy reach.
But his best skill was writing killer sales letters.
In 1934, he wrote The Robert Collier Letter Book, detailing all
the essentials of how to write the kind of sales letters you need for any
situation, how to motivate buyers, how to take the guess work out of
advertising and how to keep customers satisfied and coming back for more.
The ideas in this book have been tested and proven to work over many
years and with many different products. The information has been copied by
many people, but this is the primary source!
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 he found it
Here's how he used this concept to sell 20,000 raincoats:
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 me?
* * *
Collier wrote, "No matter what product or service you're writing about,
first put yourself in the place of your prospective customer. Think of
every property you could possibly desire in such a product or service.
Think of everything you would like to have it do for you. Work out the
ultimate detail, then write a message that stresses every desirable
Collier died of cancer in 1950. His books continue to endure. Robert Collier Publications, Inc.,
still exists through the efforts of his widow, and now his children and
In 2003, after many decades of being out-of-print,
Publications re-released the classic Robert Collier Letter Book.
Since I study all the great marketing and advertising gurus
from the past for a
living, you can guess I know what works and what doesn't . But there is only
one that has made me serious money. Click here to who.