Claude Hopkins: The Power Of Samples And Trials

Here's what the great advertising pioneer Claude Hopkins says about the power of samples and trials in your sales copy.

This excerpt is from Claude Hopkins autobiography My Life In Advertising...

"When I was ten years old mother was left a widow. From that time on I had to support myself and contribute to the support of the family.

I did this in many ways but the only ways that count here are those which affected my after-career.

Mother made a silver polish. I molded it into cake form and wrapped it in pretty paper. Then I went from house to house to sell it.

I found that I sold about one woman in ten by merely talking the polish at the door. BUT WHEN I COULD GET INTO THE PANTRY AND DEMONSTRATE THE POLISH I SOLD TO NEARLY ALL.

That taught me the rudiments of another lesson I have never forgotten. A good article is its own best salesman.

It is uphill work to sell goods in print or in person without samples.

The hardest struggle of my life has been to educate advertisers in the use of samples. Or to trials of some kind.

They would not think of sending out a salesman without samples. But they will spend fortunes on advertising to urge people to buy without seeing or testing.

Some say that samples cost too much. Some argue that repeaters will ask for them again and again. But persuasion alone is vastly more expensive.

I wish that any advertiser who does not believe that would do what I did with that silver polish. It taught me a lesson that has saved advertisers a good many millions of dollars.

It will teach any man in one day that selling without samples is many times as hard as with them.

I learned this also from street fakers.

I stood for hours to listen to them in the torchlight. I realize now that I drank in their methods and theories.


It is amazing how many advertisers know less than those men about salesmanship."

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Kindest regards,
Andrew Cavanagh

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