Do you know who Dale Carnegie is?
Do you know why you know who Dale Carnegie is?
It’s not just because he was a pioneer in the personal development industry… or that he wrote an eye-opening book millions could benefit from.
There are plenty of pioneers in every field who produce masterful, life-changing works that nobody’s ever heard of.
And yet, Dale Carnegie was able to stand out. How?
Because he understood that as great as his book was, people are naturally skeptical. Before they bought it they would have to be persuaded to see just how valuable the book can be for them.
So he hired one of the top copywriters of his day, the legendary Victor Schwab, to write a full-page ad for newspapers and magazines promoting the book How to Win Friends and Influence People.
The result? Millions of copies sold, and iconic status within the personal development community.
Here’s my breakdown of the ad that made Dale Carnegie famous. (See the complete ad here)
How to Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie
One of the all-time greatest headlines. It tells the entire story of what the book can do for the reader. Right away she knows exactly what she is getting. And it only took was 7 words!
Here’s what Victor has to say about his headline (taken from his book How to Write a Good Advertisement):
“This helped to sell millions of copies of the book of the same title. Strong basic appeal: we all want to do it. But without the words “how to” the headline would become simply a trite wall motto.
John D. Rockefeller, Sr. some years ago said “The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee. And I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun”.
He starts off by showing the need for the book he’s selling. Most people are not out there looking for a book like this, so he’s got to show them why this is something they should be looking for.
Wouldn’t you suppose that every college in the land would conduct practical, common-sense courses to develop this “highest priced ability under the sun?” To our knowledge, none did.
In two paragraphs he’s created a giant vacuum. Here we have an ability that the richest, most successful men would pay for, yet nobody is teaching it. Before he even mentions the book he creates an enormous need for this book (or a similiar product) to exist.
How to develop that ability is the subject of Dale Carnegie’s amazing new book:
Only a few years ago Chicago University, the United Y.M.C.A Schools, and the American Association for Adult Education conducted a survey to find out the prime interest of adults. The survey took two years, cost $25,000. It indicated that their first interest is health – and their second interest in people: how to understand and get along with people; how to make people like you; how to win others to your way of thinking.
And this is why research is such a critical part of copywriting. Look at all the credibility this paragraph provides! Major reputable organizations shelling out big bucks to prove there is a gaping need for this knowledge. And now the reader can feel okay about wanting/needing to learn this information since most other adults feel the need for it as well.
Wouldn’t you suppose that after the members of the research committee referred to above had decided to give such a course, they could readily have found a practical textbook on the subject? They searched diligently – but could find none suitable. They then approached Professor Harry A. Overstreet, of the New School For Social Research, and he replied “I know what these adults want. But the book they need has never been written.”
That book has now been written.
And just like that he’s created immense scarcity. If the reader wants to learn these people skills, this is the only way she will be able to do it.
A New Book – and the Man Behind It
It is called How to Win Friends and Influence People – and it is written by the one man who is perhaps better qualified to write it than anyone else.
People want to know who it is they are buying from, so Victor dives into the introduction. And that little twist, saying he is “perhaps better qualified to write it than anyone else” intrigues the reader to keep reading.
Dale Carnegie is the man to whom the big men of business come for practical self-guidance and instruction on the subject of getting along with people, dealing with them successfully, winning others to their own way of thinking. During the last 24 years he has trained more than 15,000 business and professional men and women – among them some of the most famous in the country.
Positioning himself as the go-to expert here while making what he teaches even more enticing. After all, the most successful people in the country go to him… and what he teaches can’t be that tricky if 15,000 people have been able to learn it…
When he conducts his course on Public Speaking and How to Influence People in the ballroom of the Hotel Commodore or The Pennsylvania, or the Hotel Astor (the second largest hall in New York) the place is packed to capacity. More than 1,500 people a year pay him $75 each for his course. Large organizations – such as The New York Telephone Co., the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, and many others listed elsewhere on this page – have had this training conducted by Mr. Carnegie in their own offices for their members and executives.
Oh man! This guy is the real-deal! Now the reader can start to feel like she’s lucky this book exists – because spending $75 to learn this stuff does not sound ideal.
This new book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, grew and developed out of that vast laboratory of experience. As you can judge from the panel at the top of this advertisement, it is as practical as 24 years of actual successful experience with the problems of thousands of people in all walks of life can make it.
Don’t know about you, but my eyes went crossed trying to figure out that second sentence. He gets the point across – it’s practical – but that is some strange wording. Anyway here is the panel on the top of the had he is referring to:
[Top Panel Box]
This Is a Big Book of Thirty Seven Chapters, Including:
The Big Secret of Dealing with People
Six Ways to Make People Like You Instantly
Do This and You’ll Be Welcome Anywhere
An Easy Way to Become a Good Conversationalist
A Simple Way to Make A Good First Impression
If You Don’t Do This, You are Headed for Trouble
How to Interest People
Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
A Sure Way of Making Enemies – and How to Avoid It
The Safety Valve in Handling Complaints
How to Get Co-Operation
A Formula That Will Work Wonders for You
The Movies Do It. Radio Does it. Why Don’t You Do It?
When Nothing Else Works, Try This
Nine Way to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
How to Criticize – and Not Be Hated for It
How to Spur Men on to Success
Making People Glad to Do What You Want
Letters That Produced Miraculous Results
Seven Rules for Making Your Home Life Happier
If You Want to Be Happy, Don’t Neglect This One
Notice how almost every title speaks directly to a benefit the reader will get. Good luck reading those without thinking “I want that!” at several different points.
Others are “blind” headlines designed to spark curiosity (“What it is radio and movies are doing that I should be?”). Curiosity is a powerful force that motivates action.
(Who do you think came up with the titles of these chapters? Victor or Dale?)
[Body copy continued]
Consider the Case of Pat O’Haire
Patrick J. O’Haire lives in New York City and that’s his right name. As you may have guessed, he was born in Ireland. He went to school there for a little while. Then he drifted to America, got a job as a mechanic, then as a chauffeur.
When he got married he began to need more money. When children came he needed still more. So Pat tried to sell automobile trucks.
But he was a terrible flop at it. He’ll tell you himself – now- that he suffered from an inferiority complex that was eating his heart out. He would have been a terrible flop at anything that required seeing and talking to and impressing other people.
On his way up to see a prospect, he broke out into cold sweats of nervousness. Then, before he could get up enough courage to open the door, he often had to walk up and down in front of an office half a dozen times.
Worst of all when he finally got in to see his man, he would invariably find himself antagonizing and arguing: Then he would get kicked out – never knowing why.
He was such an utter failure as a salesman that he was thinking of going back to work with his hands in a machine shop. Then one day he received a letter inviting him to attend the opening session of a Dale Carnegie course in effective speaking and human relations
It may do you some good, Pat,
God knows you need it”
He’s telling a story to get the reader emotionally engaged. He’s also painting a clear picture of the effects learning this information can have.
He’s using an extreme example to prove the effectiveness of what he is selling. A sense of inferiority that was “eating at his heart”, how he was “breaking into cold sweats” and “always arguing.” This is powerful imagery that shows how this guy was pretty much as low as it gets when it comes to confidence and social skills.
Using such an extreme example shows the reader that if this can work for Patrick, then of course it will be able to work for her.
He didn’t want to go – he was afraid that he would be out of place – that there would be a lot of college men. But his despairing wife made him, saying “It may do you some good, Pat, God knows you need it”.
He went to the address given and stood on the sidewalk for five minutes trying to get up enough self-confidence to enter the room. He stayed through that meeting, through. Then he attended every other meeting of the course. He lost his fear. He learned how to talk charmingly and convincingly, how to make people like him at once, how to win friends and influence others.
This story proves the promise made in the headline and throughout the copy.
Today Pat O’Haire is one of the White Motor Company’s star salesman. His income has mounted and skyrocketed. Last year at the Hotel Astor, Pat stood in front of 2,500 people and told a gay, rollicking story of his achievements. Few professional speakers could have equaled his confidence – or his reception.
Now he’s painting a picture of the tangible benefits of this training. What does it look like to be able to “Win Friend and Influence People?”. You become a celebrated employee, earn way more money, and get a massive ovation from a crowd of people.
Feeling excited yet?
Pat O’Haire is a salesman – but his problem was exactly the same as that of thousands upon thousands of others in other fields – the fundamental one of getting along with people. The way it was solved is just one example of what Dale Carnegie’s help has meant to more than 15,000 people in all types of endeavors. What Dale Carnegie has done for them he can do for you too. Look at the chapter headings. They indicate the scope and the amount of hard-hitting, priceless information Dale Carnegie’s book contains. But the subject is so intensely important that we say, look at this book without obligation. We guarantee that it will enable you to realize fully on what John D. Rockefeller calls “the highest-priced ability under the sun”. Study it. Digest it. Then you can decide whether or not you want to own it.
There’s an objection in the reader’s head that’s wondering if this book really applies to her. In this paragraph Victor overcomes that objection. By emphasizing the problem of “getting along with people” he shows that so long as people are in your life, you will need with book.
SEND NO MONEY
Try Dealing THIS WAY with People – for just FIVE Days!
This book has been published for only two weeks. Yet it is already a best-seller. The presses are now running day and night to keep up with the demand. Copies are being sold as fast as they can be printed!
Copies being sold as fast as they can be printed would sound like hype… if it wasn’t for the giant need for this book that was established early on… plus the facts about his seminars selling out, and major companies paying to learn from him. Because of that this statement sounds like it is likely true. And suddenly the reader has a fear she could “miss out”.
When you get your copy of it simply read it; there are no “exercises” to be practiced. Then try for five days Dale Carnegie’s simple method of dealing with people. Judge for yourself – in your daily social or business life, how easily whatever you do, say, or write can win the friendship and the hearty cooperation of others – instead of arousing resentment, friction, and either a negative response or no action at all.
Painting a picture of life with this book vs. life without the book. We’re near the end of the letter and the reader has a choice to make – take action and buy the book now, or put the letter away and forget about it. So now he’s injecting that urgency, showing how wonderful her life can be if she buys, and how dark it may be if she doesn’t.
It is not necessary to spend any money with the coupon below. You may pay for “How to Win Friends and Influence People” when it is delivered to you – with the definite understanding that its price is only $1.95 will be refunded to you if you wish it. If this book does what we claim, it will mean more to you than ANY book you have ever read and will be worth many times its small cost. If it doesn’t, we do not want you to keep it. With this assurance, we suggest that you mail this coupon at once.
Making it as easy as possible for the reader to take action. She doesn’t even have to pay yet! She can worry about that later – after she’s tried it out.
This paragraph also makes a BIG PROMISE – “it will mean more to you than ANY book you have ever read”. Now that’s a bold claim that is going to get the reader excited. And that excitement can be the extra push she needs to take action.
[That’s the end of the body copy. Below this is an order form to fill out. But the ad also has side panels which I discuss below…]
[Side panel about the author]
Dale Carnegie is the man the men of business in Yew York come to for practical self guidance and instruction on the vast subject of getting along with people. During the last twenty – four years he has trained more than 15,000 businesses and professional men – more than any other living man. Among these 15,000 are some of the most famous men in the nation.
Dale Carnegie courses have proven so valuable in business relationship that even large organizations such as:
Washington Electric & Manufacturing Co. Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
New York Telephone Co. Philadelphia Electric Co
Bell Telephone Co. of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Gas Works Co
American Institute of Electrical Engineers, New York, Carrier Engineering Corporation
McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, New York
have had this training conducted in their own offices for their members and executives.
This new book, How to Win Friends and Influence People is a direct result of Dale Carnegie’s unique experience, the only working manual of its kind that has ever been written to help people solve their daily problems in human relationships.
This “About the Author” section covers a lot of the information people may have missed if they just skimmed (or didn’t read) the body of the copy. It says what he does, gives credibility indicators, and shows how he’s the go-to guy for this kind of work.
[Testimonial Side Panel]
says about Dale Carnegie
“Certainly some of my success has been due to training under Dale Carnegie. I have known him for 20 years. This man, by inspiring adults to blast out and smelt some of their hidden ores, has created one of the most significant movements in adult education. He is indeed a wizard in his special field.
“He started out at first to conduct merely a course in public speaking. But the students who came were business men. They wanted results and they wanted them quick – results that they could use the next day in business.
“Dale Carnegie was forced to be swift and practical. So he developed a system of training that is unique – a striking combination of public speaking, salesmanship, human relations and applied psychology.”
The name Lowell Thomas may not mean much today, but he was well-known to that audience. (Here’s his wikipedia page) Do you think Lowell came up with this testimonial on his own? I doubt it. It was crafted with as much time and care as every other part of this letter. That’s the thing about testimonials. You don’t just have to take what you get. If a client or someone of note is willing to say something positive about you, work with them and make sure what they say fits a certain need.
In this case it was the need to establish more credibility and provide more background information. This glimpse into Dale as a person –from an outside, respectable source – makes him look like the kind of man the reader would want to buy/learn from.