Here’s an Internet sales letter worthy of placing in your swipe file.
It was written several years ago by the gifted ad writer and newsletter publisher, Stuart Goldsmith. I had to dig the sales letter up from archive.org since it’s no longer online. The product, for which the sales letter was written, is the now out-of- print book by Dan Peña, “Your First Hundred Million.” (Dan was partially the inspiration for Michael Douglas’ character, Gordon Gekko, in the 1987 film, “Wall Street.”)
What I like about Stuart Goldsmith’s sales letter is it flips conventional marketing and copywriting wisdom on its backside.
Take the headline.
Can You Afford The World’s Most Expensive Money-Making Book?
Conventional wisdom says you can only charge so much for a book. About $30 US is the ceiling. But what if it’s the “world’s most expensive money making book?” £285 or almost $600 US isn’t such a stretch in this case. Simple yet brilliant product positioning which parallels the author’s unique positioning.
Then there’s the Joe Karboesque opener:
I am writing today to try and sell you an extraordinary book.
And with that sentence, I’ve just broken the number two rule of sales letter writing – I’ve told you up front what I’m selling, instead of warming you up first. If you think that’s unusual, in just a few more sentences I’m going to break the number one rule as well.
Disarmingly direct, isn’t he? What’s the number one rule and how will he break it?
And finally, let me break the one rule of sales letter writing you should never break…
Sales letters like this are normally heavy on the guarantee. They promise unconditional and instant money-back if you don’t like the product for any reason.
Want to know what the guarantee is with world’s most expensive moneymaking book?
Zippo. Nada. Zilch.
When I read the sales letter five years ago, I liked this “non-guarantee” so much, I not only bought the book but an entire inventory of VHS cassette seminars from Guthrie Castle. (I resold them for a then much appreciated 500% return. Thanks Dan and Stuart!)
Then there’s Dan’s positioning which is crush your feelings crass while telling you the rare, stone cold truth no smooth talking guru knows let alone dares to tell you.
You can clap and sing along with these ‘gurus’ or … you can listen to a guy who built a $400 million value starting from just $820 and a leased fax machine. Your choice.
So why should you buy this book?
One reason only. You want to make this sort of money too.
You should now have two questions in your mind: “Who is this guy?” and “Does he walk the talk?”
Here are some answers. Dan Peña has built from scratch more dollar value than any other personal development or business success coach who’ll ever try to sell you a book or tempt your sorry ass into a seminar. He’s lost more money on just one bad deal than a lot of those slick-suited guys on the ‘feel-good-get-rich’ lecture circuit ever made in their whole careers.
Next are the qualifications to buy the book.
What do you need in order to qualify for a copy of this book? Just this:
If you’re a man, you need balls. If you’re a woman, you need feminine grit.
That’s all you need. That’s all Dan started with when he was a worthless, doofus punk in a Los Angeles ghetto. He’d already flunked out of school and was drifting aimlessly, broke and getting into trouble. No silver spoon in Dan’s mouth, let me assure you of that! But he had two outstanding qualities – he was fearless, and he wanted success badly.
If you’re a scared, lifeless timid, apathetic little rabbit shivering in your burrow, then save yourself £277 right now. You don’t need or want this book.
I’ve touched on the main points but there’s a good deal more copy to learn from. The entire letter can be found here. After the latest rounds of lifeless Internet promotions, Stuart Goldsmith’s copy is as much a kick in the backside today as it was five years ago.