How Gary Halbert and an empty coffee cup got me a job

by Tony M
25 replies
A handful of years ago I needed a job.

Like a REAL job.

A good ol' 9-5er.

After sweeping through the listings on Craigslist, I found a potential job as a sales guy for a well-known pest control company near by.

Not having any sales experience, I felt that I was at a disadvantage. I didn't want to apply for the job out of fear that my email would never be read.

So instead of "dropping by" to introduce myself, I decided to write a direct marketing piece.
It was the perfect excuse to execute what I had been learning at the time.

I went to Starbucks and snatched an empty large clear cup with a lid, and a $5 dollar gift card.

After that I called up the company and asked for the name of the branch manager. Once I had all the info I needed... I got to writing my 'cover' letter.

I ended up using Gary Halbert's opening from his famous dollar bill letter.

I closed the cover letter with something like "I'd love to hear more about the position. Perhaps over a cup of coffee, my treat?" then I taped the gift card to the bottom of the letter.

I think I used FedEx same day shipping.

Needless to say I got the interview... and the job.

All thanks to a Starbucks cup and Gary Halbert.

This isn't the first time I've used this to get a job. I did it with a friend of mine who was applying for a GM position at a hotel. We used the monopoly hotel pieces as the grabber. I remember scrambling at the local Walmart to buy more monopoly boards because we didn't have enough pieces lol.

I'd love to hear some quirky direct mail stories you mailed or ran across!
#coffee #cup #empty #gary #halbert #job
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  • Profile picture of the author JPs copy
    I've actually had that same idea and wondered if that would work. Gotta love the famous dollar bill grabber. I'm assuming you sent your resume with it too?
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    • Profile picture of the author Tony M
      Yeah, absolutely.

      Just a cover letter with a resume.
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  • Over the years I've used many grabbers - they always bumped up the response.

    One was similar to Gary's dollar bill - and yes, I got the idea from him (in the days when the "GH Letter" was sent by post).

    I taped a Ā£10.00 note to the prospects letter saying something like "This is the first one - but lets multiply it by 1000"

    Another one was small maglite torch inscribed "There is a light at the end of the tunnel"

    I just wish I could remember what the campaign was...


    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Tony M
      That's pretty unique!

      I know of a small boutique ad agency that had a campaign where they sent out volley balls. They even offered the net to complete the set if they booked a meeting.
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  • Profile picture of the author Princess Balestra
    Prolly I should start mailin' out my panties.

    "Simply throw these babies on your head,

    send me the selfie --

    an' a generous 15% copywritin' discount shall be thine!"

    Problem is, ain't no real value in this if'n all I dowin' is shoppin' in no store an' floppin' Les Dainties direct from outta packagin' & into the mail.

    Which begs a terribly immodest question.

    Wherein lyeth the slidin' scale of Princess Pantie Value anyways (assoomin' it is worth anythin' to nowan, like mebbe Gary Vaynerchuk's Dollar Shave memorabilia)?

    tbh I can't see no diffrence between slippin' sum stoopid thong ovah my ankles ... or pullin' it up to my knees ... or throwin' it ovah my head while I cookin' up the latest Millennial-distractin' zucchini-themed culinary fiasco.

    An' if'n I sendin' my slinkydinkystuffs out WASHED after they been WORN (bcs Corona is a KILLAH, an' I ain't bein' strung up for MURDAH bcs I ain't disinfected propah), what diffrence does it make anyway whethah they occupied the space between my yogah joggers an' my supah serene consciousness as I flopped out to the toon of Spotify's Dolphin Miraculature XXVII playlist ... or communed with my abdominal rictus as I stressed ovah zucchini recipe instructions bcs I don't wanna incinerate evrywan in my frickin' buildin'?

    All I know is ... we kinda story-centric rn.

    Loftin' panoramas from afar you might wanna touch on.

    An' whatevah re-enHalberts its way into fruitful magnificence prolly gotta resonate real sweet an' troo with both zeitgeist an' prospective zeitgeist imbiber.

    Or why lick your tongue ovah the stamp?
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  • I could be wrong... (be an interesting "test" campaign).

    But if you sent out your rather unique grabber.

    You might be able to add 15% to the copywriting fees.


    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Princess Balestra
      Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

      I could be wrong... (be an interesting "test" campaign).

      But if you sent out your rather unique grabber.

      You might be able to add 15% to the copywriting fees.

      Steve
      Whole pointa the Halbert deal surely was SUCKAH steada GRABBER.

      Bcs we all wanna be INVITED steada PRESS-GANGED.

      Plus also ... frickin' ain't happnin'!

      But mebbe I dowin' my part by inspirin' Tony Robbins to mail out his podium sweat ... or helpin' Russell Brunson release the hi-decibel MY NAME IS NOT BRANSON FFS rant tapes.

      An' who needs free candy floss next time James Altucher got sumthin' lame to vomit?
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    I'm not sure it was the grabber that got you the job.

    The vast majority of people that are looking for work just hand out resumes.

    As someone who has hired hundreds of reps, I can tell you this. If you stand out in any way...if you take any extra effort...you are highly likely to get the job.

    If it's obvious you have spent any money or time at all on trying to make an impression, you immediately go to the head of the line.

    It really takes so little effort to stand out.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tony M
      I agree.

      I sure as hell didn't get the job because my resume was great.
      Especially at that particular time in my life.

      But it has always been about standing out from the norm.

      I remember reading somewhere "in the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king".

      Even more so now with how diluted everything has gotten.
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    • Profile picture of the author JPs copy
      Also a hand-written letter goes a long way. It takes longer to type but you will make their entire year
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      Latest post: Why selling gets a bad rap

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  • There is - or can be - a lot of psychology - about grabbers.

    What to use, how best to use it, does it add value, is it a surprise, does it make them laugh, has it got a shock effect, a relatable aspect or a high emotional hit - the list goes on and on...

    But it's primarily aim - is to make the good people curious enough to open the "lumpy" envelope.

    The rest is how to make it creatively fit in with the spiel - I mean the carefully crafted copy - and make the prospects want to read and respond.

    To put it more succinctly - open read respond.


    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Tony M
      I also feel that it's something not talked about all that often.

      I have an old book by Bill Glazer "Outrageous advertising that's outrageously successful".

      But other than that, I can't seem to find much on the topic.

      Jon Goldman was another person who used lumpy mail successfully throughout his career.

      If you know of any other resources, I'd love to check 'em out.
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  • Profile picture of the author myob
    I've had astounding success with "lumpy" mail for many years, after reading Dan Kennedy's books such as "The Ultimate Sales Letter" and No B.S. Guide To Direct Marketing"

    Over the past few months especially, I'm doing massive mail promotions for my MLM opportunity with a rubber hundred dollar bill; "A Solution to S-T-R-E-T-C-H Your Dollar Even Further!"

    This is a hit with record numbers of people getting laid off, working from home, and looking to start a home business.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tony M
      That's pretty cool!

      One of my favorite spots to go to is the Dollar Store.
      You can get a bunch of ideas for grabbers there.
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  • Profile picture of the author mandiradebnath
    Though I don't have any story like this to share, but I enjoyed reading this letter undoubtedly.
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      A chiropractor used a boomerang to get past patients to come back.

      If I recall correctly he invested about $1800
      in the mail campaign and got back $63,500
      in 90 days.

      Great Roi.

      Best,
      Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author roshnialba
    Wow that seems a great idea. My brother is a fresher in data science, I think I would try direct mail idea for him.
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  • Profile picture of the author socalscribe82
    I believe it was Brian Kurtz who told a story about a rookie copywriter who hand-copied a big chunk of Breakthrough Advertising and sent it to him in the mail. Brian ended up hiring/helping the guy.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tony M
      Now that wouldn't be a bad idea.
      It shows dedication and commitment.

      Doberman Dan sent Gary Halbert a fictitious news article about the both of them, framed it, and sent to Gary. That's how he ended up working with him.
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  • Profile picture of the author Profit Traveler
    That OP Pic makes me think of the Youtube Thumbnails ha.

    But yes that was very stand out marketing of yourself kudos. I wonder how many people got jobs because of their looks, sexy etc. Hard to compete.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tony M
      That photo was taken on my 29th birthday if i remember correctly
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  • Profile picture of the author dominicwhittaker
    Thinking outside the box. I like it. When I was in the corporate world, the best impact statement a candidate offered was turning up with a left handed notebook. They had picked up I was left handed from a photo. Thats attention to detail
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