The purpose of this folio is to outline a simple, step-by-step program that will enable you to start making “sales by mail” immediately!
The first thing you must do is invest in collecting several commission circulars. These are circulars that are produced by a primary dealer/distributor who will pay you a percentage commission for every sale you produce on the advertised item. Order these from at least twenty or thirty different mail-order dealers, each of whom will send you several small circulars free of charge or for a nominal price. Most will be full-page ads, although some might be half-page or smaller. Make sure you gather many circulars from a wide variety of different dealers. This will enable you to discover which dealers provide faster service, and which ones will provide you with the greatest profit. It will also enable you to include a good variety of offerings in your mailings.
For every circular that you receive, keep a complete record of each dealer. You will find the information invaluable to you in the future. Your records should include the:
The date you first requested circulars from the dealer.
Dealer name and address.
Amount (if any) the circulars cost you.
The date on which your circulars arrived.
Most circulars will arrive within two to three weeks, giving the dealer time to have processed your order and responded.
While you are waiting for your circulars to arrive, there are three additional things you can do to prepare yourself for business:
Obtain a stamp with your name and address set in a small type. “Small” because many circulars leave very little space for your imprint.
Prepare a good quantity of envelopes in which to mail your circulars. These should be professionally imprinted with your company name and address. While this is not an absolute necessity, imprinted enveloped will add a look of professionalism to your mailing that will help convince potential buyers to make their purchase from you.
Secure a mailing list of “opportunity seekers.” Make sure you order the list from a reputable dealer who can provide fresh names with guaranteed deliverability and that have not been mailed to by too many dealers. Some dealers offer “free mailing lists,” asking only that you pay for the postage. Usually, the names on these lists are homeworkers and opportunity seekers who have paid to be listed. While the cost is minimal, be aware that these folks will continue to receive so many other offers that your mailing may just be another that gets little real attention. It is better to order a mailing list from a proven dealer who can provide you with the names of potential buyers who are more likely to open your envelope and seriously consider the offer.
As soon as your circulars start to arrive from the primary dealers, set up a loose-leaf notebook to keep track of how many of each you mail and the response that each generates. You may want to tape one of each circular on a page in your notebook and record below it the following information:
The name and address of the supplier.
Supplier’s drop-shipping instructions — With most circulars, you keep 50% from each sale as your commission, and forward the other 50% to the supplier, along with a shipping label addressed to your customer. However, there are some variations, so you should keep a close record of each item you are trying to sell by mail.
Circular Information —
Make sure you note how to obtain additional circulars. Are they free of charge from the dealer? Cheaper in large quantities? Can you simply order a master copy and make as many additional copies as you desire? Can you order them imprinted with your name and address?
Once you have about twelve to fifteen circulars and have recorded the details in your notebook, you are ready to begin! Take five envelopes, address them by hand or apply the mailing label to it from the names on your mailing list. Put one copy of each circular in each envelope, up to a total weight of one ounce. This will allow you to mail it at the lowest first-class rate. It is not advisable to mail too many circulars to new names in a single mailing. The postage costs are simply too high, and if you include too many offers it will overwhelm the customer and put him off buying from you. Better to capture a sale with just a few offers and send additional offers later.
Mail five letters every day! If you miss one day due to other obligations, mail ten letters the next day. Although you can’t expect to get rich overnight, if you mail every day, sooner or later you will start getting orders. Remember, some people lay circulars aside and don’t order from them until months later. However, persistence is the key to beginning your new mail-order business. Keep plugging away and eventually, you will build a large list of customers.
As soon as you receive an order, sit down and take care of it. Check your notebook for the name and address of the supplier. Prepare a shipping label and forward the correct amount to the drop-shipper. As soon as that is completed, acknowledge your customer’s order by sending him a postcard. Be courteous, business-like, and polite. Tell your customer that you appreciate the order and that it is being shipped “under a separate label.”
Many drop shippers will — along with the order — include any additional circulars you may want to send to your customer, providing you include them when you send in the order. This saves you additional postage costs and can gain added sales. If the drop-shipper will not do so, send your customer additional circulars along with the letter acknowledging his order — even if you know the customer has already seen them! You will be surprised at how many follow-up orders this will bring you!
Always plan additional mailings to customers who have already purchased from you. These so-called “back-end sales” are very productive. This is a basic fact of mail-order selling, and yet a large number of mail order dealers fail to take advantage of it. Remember: it is much easier to capture an order from a repeat customer than to gain a new customer. Think about it. How many times have you purchased something by mail and then never heard from the dealer again? And, how many times has an offer arrived from someone you had previously purchased from and you made another purchase because the first experience was such a good one? Your best prospects are customers who have already purchased from you.
Whenever someone purchases from you, send him an additional mailing each month for at least three consecutive months. If you are constantly building your number of different commission circulars, you will always have something new to sell! If the customer does not make another purchase after three months, place the name into an inactive file for about six months, and then make one more mailing. You will find that a great percentage of your customers will make repeat purchases from you if you follow this procedure carefully.
The growing number of personal computers is making it much easier to organize and run a small mail-order business. Your computer can help you maintain and control your list of customers and prospects. If you have a computer, you can secure inexpensive or free software to maintain your mailing list of customers, their purchase records, and how often you have mailed to them. With an inexpensive dot matrix printer, you can produce your mailing labels, too. Other software can allow you to produce professional-looking sales letters and circulars. While this is not necessary for the beginning, you can slowly build to this point as your business increases.
Remember to keep testing new circulars. Make sure you promptly reorder those that continue to sell well for you. Eliminate any “duds” from your collection of offers. When you find a circular that produces a few orders for you, try to have it imprinted with your name and address. You will often get twice as many orders from an imprinted circular as you will from one that has your name and address rubber-stamped on it.
The longer you mail circulars, the more profitable it will become, for several reasons.
Gradually you will develop a customer list of your own. This list will always produce more orders than a cold, untried list you have rented from another source. You should keep mailing new circulars to this list regularly.
Your envelopes will be eventually carrying more good, order-producing circulars and fewer duds. Through continuous experimentation, you can gradually develop a real money-making mail order package. When you find something that works, stick with it!
Operating a mail-order business is limited only by your drive and imagination. You can gradually increase the number of your mailings. And as the weeks and months pass, you can also increase the quality of your sales package. As your reputation as a reliable dealer spreads, wholesalers and drop-ship sources will start sending you new offers — almost daily. Study those offers and act upon the better ones.
Make up your mind to get into mail order with both feet…and then work at it! It can be the most rewarding and exciting experience of your lifetime! Best wishes for success!