Gary Halbert’s Strategy To Sell To People Who Don’t Want To Buy Anything!

If I told you that Gary Halbert was a genius, I wouldn’t be telling you anything new. He’s dead and is STILL regarded as the most legendary copywriter of all time. It’s crazy because even though he died years ago, all of his strategies still work in today’s modern times!

In chapter 13 of his book “The Boron Letters,” he describes how he is able to sell to people who DON’T want to buy – and STILL get sales!

Badass, or what? See, this is why he’s one of my all-time favorite copywriters to study from!

In this blog, we’re going to dissect his powerful strategy so that you can use it to increase conversions from your own copy!

Learn the importance of upselling in the blog: Upselling In Your Copy: What’s The Big Deal?

Guilt And Commitment

So in the chapter, he describes the lesson as “induc[ing] guilt in a regular commercial DM sales pitch” (Ch.13).

He writes:

“…and so, Mr. Jones, as you can see, what I am offering you is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of a legalized Nevada whorehouse. I hope you can take advantage of this offer. But, if you can’t, would you please drop me a note and tell you can’t participate at this time. That way I’ll feel free to make this exciting offer to someone else. I’ve enclosed a self-addressed envelope and I have even put a stamp on it because (either way) it is important that I hear from you right away.

Please, please — reply today!” (Ch.13).

So what’s going on here?

Halbert is turning the fact that he’s not going to order – into the reason why he ends up ordering!


By “getting the person who is not going to order to agree, in his mind, to write and tell you he’s not going to.”


How does getting your prospect to agreeably write why he’s not going to buy from you lead to more sales?

Because when your prospect is writing to you, sometimes they second-guess why they don’t want to buy. And since they’re already committed to writing to you, sometimes they think to themselves,

“Damn. This deal does kinda sound sweet. And I DO already have a pen and paper…I may as well just go ahead and order.” (Ch.13).

In this letter, Halbert infused guilt while making the prospect commit to writing him regardless – which, when it works, leads to a sale.

Pure genius.

Learn how Joe Karbo’s love letter makes the perfect ad in the blog: Why Your Ads Should Be Like Love Letters.

Does This Technique Only Work On Mail Orders?

Now, when Halbert wrote this, he was referring to actual mail orders. To be honest, I have yet to try this technique on email or written sales letters…But I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually did work.

This is where you come in.

I encourage you to try this technique in your own online sales copy. See where you can fit it in and give me some feedback! I’d love to hear what you come up with!

For more copywriting tips and strategies, check out the blog at