Starting the Idea Business
by Max Hopson

A lot of people are going to tell you that there are "no more secrets" to making the big profits in mail order. These same people will laugh at you and call you a "fool" for wasting your time chasing rainbows that don't exist.

Don't you believe or even listen to them! The opportunities for wealth beyond your wildest dreams via the direct mail sales of a product or service have never been greater!

If you have an idea, product, or service now is the time to capitalize on it via mail order selling. You can definitely start "on the kitchen table" and parlay it into millions of dollars. Others have done it and continue making themselves a success. Now it's your turn for a piece of the pie.

As with any other profitable business the procedure of making "profits" by mail has its own set of rules. Learn these rules, adhere to them, adjust them to your own circumstances, draw up a "battle plan" and work, work. Persevere, be aware of other people's marketing methods, continue up grading your own product or service, and with determination you can become a millionaire in your own right. Then YOU can look over your shoulder at those who were laughing at you, and perhaps help them in some small way!

Knowledge and the ability to use that knowledge are the basic keys to success. You must identify the goal you want to attain, understand what it takes to reach that goal, and then dedicate yourself to getting there.

The path to the successful achievement of your goals through direct mail fall into three distinct categories; (1) Market Research and product selection, (2) The use of "targeted" mailing lists, and (3) Customer Follow Up. If you can understand the "hows and whys" of these rules then there's virtually no way you can help but succeed in the field of mail order, even starting from scratch.

Market Research has to do with the selection of the proper product, identifying your "most likely" buyers, and getting your product offer to these people. Product selection is the most basic, and thus the most important first step.

Stop and think. Look around yourself. Listen to find out what the "people" are clamoring most. In this day and age, much of the noise in the air has to do with topics such as, "How can I find a job?", "How can I put together a resume that will get me a job when I spot an opening?" "Where are the best jobs to be found?" With these thoughts in mind, the person who writes, publishes, and gets and instructional manual or newsletter relative to these questions to the people will sell as many as he can produce.

Thus, Step One is to "listen" to what the people want and then to satisfy those wants. Do this by spending some time researching the subject. Visit your local public library, interview a number of people who have succeeded in satisfying their wants, conduct a few "dry runs" for personal experience, and then write your manual.

The "secret" to ultimated wealth is the capability of producing a product that can be duplicated an unlimited number of times for pennies and sold for dollars. A great many people get "bogged down" within this "rule" because they don't understand "time and motion" requirements. As an example, if you were to stage seminars for the unemployed in your area to help them find and land jobs, you would undoubtedly make a fortune very quickly. But, you would be committed to a certain expenditure of time to prepare and stage a seminar. Thus you would make a lot of money for yourself, but at the same time you would sustain a loss of time that could be spent enjoying your wealth by doing the things you always wanted to do once you became rich. The only way around this would be to train and hire other people to prepare and stage the seminars, which would mean you would then be dividing your profits.

In the end, the "only way" to succeed is to write something which can be duplicated as often as necessary and sold virtually forever. Look at it this way; you can spend a full month organizing your material and writing a manual that costs $1 per copy to produce in quantity. You sell it for $20 a copy, and over a period of three years you sell three million copies. In essence, that amounts to 60,000,000 for one month's work!!!

So writing something "the people want" is the only way to go. But be careful. Make sure you've done your homework and that what you write about is what the majority of the people "will stand in line to buy". Listen to what the people want, and then give it to them. This is the product selection part of your market research. By listening to the cries for help, and catering to them, you will not only have "discovered" the proper product, you will have also "identified" your buyers. Do not try to interest the people in something that does not specifically fulfill one of their desires. Don't mistake a casual interest or complaint as "the voice" of the masses. Spend some time "listening", and then write to satisfy that need.

Once you've got your product ready for customers to buy, you should spend some time creating the proper sales letter and circular to use in presenting it to your potential customers. Above all else, your sales materials must present an image of professionalism and sell, sell, sell.

Use quality paper and printing in presenting your sales message. Present what you have to say, not in a manner that tells the prospect who you are, how well qualified you are to write on the subject, or how much work you put into the project, but from a stand point of how the customer is going to benefit from buying a copy of your manual.

As an example; General Motors doesn't advertise cars by telling you how they were designed and engineered, built by college graduates or union workers, nor have you ever heard of someone walking up to a car in a dealer's showroom, kicking the tire, and exclaiming "Boy, this sure looks like a safe one!". In fact, new cars are sold by the image of the prospective owners sitting in the driver's seat and showing off by driving through his neighborhood. "Just climb in there behind the wheel and see how she feels to you. Go ahead and take it for a test drive. Drive it home and see what your neighbors think..."

The benefits the prospective buyer is going to receive are the starting point from which all "winning" sales letters are written and circulars designed. It is the "secret" of getting people to spend money on a product or service. Students form the advertising classes at your college, freelance advertising agency personnel, and believe it or not automobile dealership advertising managers are the people to turn to for ideas and help.

Next, consider your follow up piece. This is a simple one page listing of other "related" materials for your customers. Assuming you've sold him a manual on how to land a job, your follow up piece might list manuals on how to dress to project a winning image, how to breeze through job interviews, and what to do after the interview (perhaps an opportunity for your buyer to subscribe to quarterly newsletter listing job availabilities).

It's important that you have your follow up piece put together and ready before you make your primary offer available to the public. Then, when you start receiving orders simply enclose your follow up listing of other materials available along with the manual the customer has ordered. Thus you make one sale and as a result you make further sales of related materials. These are the kind of "back end" sales that will keep you in business and your profits multiplying. Don't neglect the follow up piece.

Getting you offer to your most likely buyers is going to cost you money, and here is where most direct mail beginners drop the ball. Do not try to save money and send your offer out to just any old list of names. Contact a reputable mailing list broker. Visit your public library and ask the librarian for a copy of the Standard Rate & Data Services Directory pertaining to mailing list brokers. Find one in your area or one that looks appealing. Tell the mailing list broker you contact about your offer and ask for his help in choosing a mailing list that will be profitable to you.

You'll probably have to rent a minimum of 5,000 names at a cost ranging between $65 and &90 per thousands, but in the end you'll save a lot of time and money because with a good offer and good mailing list you can count on a tremendous response. For instance, the one time rental of a good mailing list may cost you $475 at 795 per thousand. However, a 20% response from such a list on a &20 manual would mean $20,000 in your pocket.

To spend your time compiling names and addresses from incoming mail order offers, or to rent and use a mailing list from any source other than a reputable broker, is not only foolish but a shortcut to the poor house! Identify your most likely buyers, contact reputable mailing list broker, match your buyer profile to his most responsive list, and you'll make money lots of money every time. Anything less is just a exercise in futility!

There you have it. short and sweet. Cut and dried. The "easy way" to the big profits in mail order starting from scratch. these are the basics, the secrets to how other have done it, and how you can do it too. Organize yourself, follow these guidelines, and it'll be next to impossible for you not to succeed. Remember though, your best product will be "how to information. Something the people want to learn. Something you can research, write about, produce for pennies, and then sell for dollars.

And don't forget, once you're ready to start taking orders, make sure that you get your offer to the most likely buyers. Get out of the mail order circle and out to the people who want to spend money for your product.

It's easy, simple, and it can be very rewarding! Understand the requirements, position yourself to succeed, and go after it! This time next year you could be a millionaire!!!

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