Maximizing profits involves cost-cutting methods of selling your products. We are assuming for this article that you, like most marketers are specializing in information and publications marketing.
The best way to increase sales cheaply and effectively is to offer more items at any given time, and here’s how to do it. By all means examine every commission circular you see for possibilities. It might be worth carrying. Camera-ready circulars are available for most of the publications you see in your mailbox, and all you need are a group of them on file that can be reprinted as needed.
In all cases, we repeat, DO NOT rubber-stamp your commission circulars. Insert your name and address with dry type such as Pres-Type, Geotype or Letraset. A professional appearance is a must.
If you’ve been in business for a while, you already know what your bestsellers are and how to test new items. If you have reports collections and other good items that are not such hot sellers, keep your leftover circulars and include them WITH PRODUCT when you fill an order from your home. Include as many as you can up to the postal limit that applies to the product, and you’re basically sending it free of charge.
As you have probably seen by now, we advise all our customers to
shop wisely but to continue learning about the business, and if you have a slow-moving product which is nevertheless is an excellent item for a small order dealer to own, this is an ideal way to move it.
It’s an excellent idea to include a freebie when doing a direct mail. This works especially well if you’re handling a lot of popular items. Chances are a good many of your packets will go to people who try to get on a number of lists to keep abreast of the latest offers, and since so many of them are so vague, they’ll be much more responsive to someone who can give them an idea of what they’ll be receiving.
If you currently handle chain letters and report collections of dubious value, it might be cheaper to drop them altogether than to continue to include them, even if they do make you a small profit. First time buyers are truly shocked when they see some of the terrible scams going around in mail order, and you’ll lose them forever if you turn them off, which is never your intent.
You can make this absolutely painless. You might like to try putting your best reports on the backs of your best circulars, maximizing the value of each sheet of paper. If you’re not doing it now, you had better try doubling up your circulars at the very least.
One of the best follow-up offers you can give your non-dealer customers, and you can tell which if your customers is a dealer and which is not by the kinds of items they order, is a quality book catalog. Melvin Powers, DAX and others offer excellent dealerships in unusual books, and they pull extremely well on follow-ups.
The catalogs themselves are usually fairly heavy and not cost-effective without a quality mailing list (a rare bird indeed) or unless you can get cash up-front for printing and mailing. You’ll probably wind up buying some of these books yourself! If you’re marketing fairly common items. you’ve got to have an advantage, something that makes your offer look better than comparable offers for the same items.
Unquestionably, the best advantage is a lower price. Free bonuses and rebates won’t cut quite as well. The reason is simple enough. The customer might be sold on an item to begin with, but he may be waiting for a better deal to come along. If you’re the lowest bidder, you’ll get that sale. These sales will not come right away in most cases. They will be trickle-in orders, made by the customer after filing your circular and waiting to see who can match the price.
We feel much of the information offered by mail is ridiculously overpriced when introduced, and we have on file dozens of examples of some people offering item X at five, then, even nineteen times the best price offered by others with the same product.
If you’ve been enclosing your own envelopes with return addresses when you send out advertising, you might try a half-and-half mailing to see if they’re really pulling more orders.
Traditional schools of thought say the return envelopes, especially the business-reply type which allows you to pay the postage for the customer, do pull orders.
However, most people use plain printed #8 envelopes without business-reply marking, and especially for the small operator specializing in a few selected items, it may be a poor investment. If so, it’s cutting into your profits and taking up valuable weight in the envelopes better served by a circular.
Adsheets can be good investments, but in most cases you’ll only really profit from them if you’re offering something you’ve developed yourself which can be sold through other dealers.
Adsheets are generally advertising’s version of the pyramid plan. They circulate only among small time dealers, each trying to get the other to sell what he’s selling. Still, if you can put a new twist in the advertising, and run a short ad in selected adsheets (most dealers receive a large number, and subscribing to several dozen is wasteful) asking for full purchase price when they order, and NOT requesting information, you could still do a profitable business, although the cost involved adds up to much more than the usual $1 for a one-column ad. You have to figure your costs in preparing the ad and getting it to each publisher.
If you have an article you’ve developed yourself and you want to put a big push on, a great number of dealers will print and mail your circulars with theirs. The cheapest deal is to have their ad printed on the back. Many of these firms will take your money and run, however, so it would be smart to call and write first, get references from happy customers, and talk to them. If he won’t reveal his customer list and still claims to do a good job, well, need we say more?
Don’t be afraid to compete with other dealers in a print and mail deal if you’ve got a good product, but you do your homework. It is probably the most cost-effective way to reach a large number o dealers, but take care that you choose a reputable dealer.
Multilevel enthusiasts know that many of the better multilevel programs requires substantial amounts of literature to fully explain. If you’re not prepared or equipped to expend the time
and money required to let every mail prospect know about the programs you’re using, why not make up a small half page circular which briefly outlines each program, and offer to refund postage for anyone interested in learning more? That cuts your expenses, gives you inquiries of real value and should take no considerable dent in your eventual downline.
This takes five minutes, costs pennies, and give your commission circulars a personal touch that also looks professional.
Please stop writing hand-written notes and changes of copy on your commission circulars! Save those hand-written notes for leaders. A close matching letraset message will print beautifully and get the message across much more effectively than a freehand note. When using letraset, take care to make the heading on a separate set of paper, clip the heading and tape it with Scotch brand magic tape (we recommend Scotch because it has a lower peel strength than competitive translucent tapes and is easier removed).
Don’t do your first heads directly onto the circular or you’ll end up with minor mistakes that detract from the impact. Notice how sloppy the “K” looks, and how small a mistake it took to make it that way? (Believe us, your clients will notice mistakes like that!).
One cost-cutting method we do not advise is folding your circulars so an outside surface is empty, taping it and mailing it like a newsletter, without an envelope. It looks just plain shoddy. One thing that does look good, however, is the white 9×6 envelope instead of the usual wheat-yellow manila envelope. Anything different makes an impact.
Speaking of different, try a few of your circulars in two colors, perhaps red and black, especially those which many other dealers are using. It does pull more orders on a competitive item. And don’t forget about using colored stock for a few sheets (NEVER for your personal notes), but not too many.
If you want to keep your customers for repeat business, don’t become a commission agent for mailing list firms unless you have thoroughly researched and used their lists yourself. We personally know of one firm which advertises premium lists, and offers a very attractive dealership, but they have no trouble at all selling our name to no fewer than 25 people in a four-month span who all offer the same product! Those poor people wasted not only the cost of the list, but the cost of the mailing as well, and that is an absolute travesty.
By all means, use your personal letters to inform the paying customer of services you’ve had success with. This tells the customer you’re serious about his satisfaction and if he experiences the same success, he’ll trust you enough to order from you again.
And if you know of any popular plans that are no good, and you have seen that the customer might be considering such a plan from a letter or group of purchases which indicate he’s heading in that direction, tell him to steer clear.
Finally, and this is absolutely vital to getting reorders, know exactly what you are offering. If you’re selling books, own a few of them and read them. If you’re selling plans and reports, check them out to make sure they really do what they claim. You are doing your customers a horrible disservice by advertising Plan A as one of your biggest sellers (which may be true) when it’s an outdated piece of junk and maybe something you have never even seen.
If you’re selling gifts from catalogs or other related merchandise, there are really only two things we can advise that will cheaply help sales.
First, if you’re selling catalogs and having your orders dropshipped from the supplier, write the home office and tell them you’d like to establish contact with other distributors to help each other increase efficiency.
It is highly unlikely this request will be turned down. The supplier is every bit as interested in increasing sales as you are, and will probably be happy to send you the names and addresses of some of the company’s top producers.
Establish regular correspondence with these people and exchange information on what campaigns and techniques are working for you.
If you’re selling products for which you are the prime source, don’t hesitate to send advertising for your other products when you fill orders from newspaper or magazine advertising. If you don’t have other products, work an exchange program with other sources and sell their products on commission, and drop-ship the orders from the source of supply.